DAILY BIBLE READING:
2 Kings 6:1–7:20
BIBLE VERSE(S) FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 4:32 (CSB) “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Our Verse for Today is not found in today’s daily reading. Yet, in our Bible reading today, we see where it was desperately needed.
In Acts 15, we read that Paul and Barnabas wanted to go back to visit some of the cities in which they had previously preached. They wanted to see how the believers were fairing. But a very serious argument occurred as they were selecting who would go with them.
Acts 15:36-40 “After some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let’s go back and visit the brothers and sisters in every town where we have preached the word of the Lord and see how they’re doing.’ Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended by the brothers and sisters to the grace of the Lord.”
Barnabas, the perpetual encourager who was always willing to overlook offenses, wanted to take John Mark. Paul, a man who was more task-oriented than people-oriented didn’t want John Mark to go. This young man had deserted them on a previous trip and Paul didn’t want a quitter anywhere near him.
The argument got so heated that Paul and Barnabas separated. Barnabas took John Mark and Paul chose Silas.
Fortunately, Paul later recognized that he was wrong. Any apologies that may have been said are not recorded in Scripture. Yet, we see clear evidence that Paul eased up on John Mark and sought to affirm him rather than reject him.
Just read these words penned by the Apostle Paul as he wrote his last letter before he was executed by the Romans. He asked Timothy to come to him soon and…
2 Timothy 4:9-11 “Make every effort to come to me soon … Bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me in the ministry.”
Did you see that last sentence? Paul not only wanted to see John Mark, he said that he was useful to him in ministry. Previously, he wanted to do ministry without him but now he was saying that Mark was a helpful associate in ministry.
Isn’t it great to see that two men serving the Lord actually demonstrated in their own lives the kind of grace that they preached about to others?
Oh, and by the way, Mark wasn’t sitting on the sidelines waiting for Paul to affirm him. He was actively involved in ministry as he faithfully assisted the Apostle Peter and wrote the Gospel that bears his name.
So, from this, we can draw at least two applications to take with us today:
– We’re going to disagree with others from time to time. But, it doesn’t need to separate us. Recognize that since we have been forgiven and accepted by Jesus, we should extend the same acts of grace to others.
– We should not rely upon the affirmation of others to determine what we do for the Kingdom. While it feels good to be accepted by others, we are ultimately working to please our King. So, get busy in ministry regardless of what others may or may not think of you.