Timothy, please come as soon as you can. Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. (NLT)
Human beings are all too human. In his last weeks on earth, Paul found this to be true. He was shortly to be executed. We can imagine he wanted and needed human company and support. Luke offered that, but others did not.
Crescens and Titus were off doing other things, which was right and proper. We ourselves can’t always expect others to be physically there for us. We are not the only concern in their lives. It was different with Demas. He had just got up and left, seeking greener pastures beyond the work of gospel ministry. This can happen to us: those we look to for support may let us down, move out of our orbit.
Then again there is Mark. In the past, Paul and Mark had a falling out. Now it seems all is well again. The one who was far from helpful years ago could be helpful now. A reminder that broken relationships can be mended, old wounds can be healed. There can be a new beginning in any relationship.
This short passage is an illustration of the ups and downs of human relationships. Some stay, some leave. Some are close, others are far away. We need others, but those others are fallible just as we are. Opening ourselves up to others’ help inevitably means opening ourselves up to possible hurt. We are only human.