Conflict and Courage

Daily Devotional

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Acts 12:25; Acts 13:13; Acts 15:36-41

Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for I find him a useful assistant. 2 Timothy 4:11, N.E.B.

Mark’s mother was a convert to the Christian religion, and her home at Jerusalem was an asylum for the disciples.... Mark proposed to Paul and Barnabas that he should accompany them on their missionary tour. He felt the favor of God in his heart and longed to devote himself entirely to the work of the gospel ministry....

Their way was toilsome; they encountered hardships and privations, and were beset with dangers on every side.... But Paul and Barnabas had learned to trust God’s power to deliver. Their hearts were filled with fervent love for perishing souls. As faithful shepherds in search of the lost sheep, they gave no thought to their own ease and convenience. Forgetful of self, they faltered not when weary, hungry, and cold. They had in view but one object—the salvation of those who had wandered far from the fold....

Mark, overwhelmed with fear and discouragement, wavered for a time in his purpose to give himself wholeheartedly to the Lord’s work. Unused to hardships, he was disheartened by the perils and privations of the way.... He had yet to learn to face danger and persecution and adversity with a brave heart. As the apostles advanced, and still greater difficulties were apprehended, Mark was intimidated and, losing all courage, refused to go farther and returned to Jerusalem.

This desertion caused Paul to judge Mark unfavorably, and even severely, for a time. Barnabas, on the other hand, was inclined to excuse him because of his inexperience. He felt anxious that Mark should not abandon the ministry, for he saw in him qualifications that would fit him to be a useful worker for Christ. In after years his solicitude in Mark’s behalf was richly rewarded, for the young man gave himself unreservedly to the Lord and to the work of proclaiming the gospel message in difficult fields. Under the blessing of God, and the wise training of Barnabas, he developed into a valuable worker. Paul was afterward reconciled to Mark and received him as a fellow laborer.17

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