Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. (NIV)
These few words, written not long before Paul’s death, don’t seem to amount to much. A bit of personal housekeeping. We have to revisit an episode earlier in Paul’s life to see the significance.
Paul and Barnabas were off on another preaching journey. Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them. Paul refused, citing the fact that Mark had apparently let them down on an earlier journey. That led to a dispute between Paul and Barnabas, with the latter taking Mark on a different journey to that of Paul.
And now, near the end of his life, after the passing of many years, Paul wants Mark with him at this critical time. What was wrong has been put right. The one who once let him down was his trusted companion. The one he discarded has been invited back into relationship.
Our lives can be littered with broken or damaged relationships. We may have given up on some of them. But this episode reminds us that damage can be repaired, what is broken can be put back together again. We need not be haunted by what has happened in the past. A new future can be created.
With one sobering qualification: it takes only one to offer the prospect of a new beginning. It takes two to bring it to reality.
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