Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. – 2 Timothy 4:11
On an early missionary journey with Paul, Barnabas brought along a young and inexperienced John Mark. At some point in that first trip, Mark decided to return home. Considering the trials that they all faced, we should be careful not to judge the young man too harshly; however, due to Mark’s departure, Paul refused to take him along on the next “road trip.” This, as we know, led to a sharp disagreement (and split) between Paul and a man who was affably named the “son of encouragement (Barnabas).”
Whether Paul softened or Mark matured (most likely both), Paul desired Mark’s presence in his waning days on earth for he had concluded that he was “useful to him.” Some have suggested that this letter may have even marked the beginning of their reconciliation.
The Body of Christ is an imperfect lot. The flesh regularly brings momentary division. Yet, there is unity in the indwelling Holy Spirit if we would just walk in Him. Fact is, we need each other, “warts and all,” to faithfully continue in God’s service.
I will go down if you will hold the ropes. – William Carey