Today I am predisposed to be sad. For the past months I have been witnessing and hearing different stories across my country of church leaders, pastors, and volunteers who are not willing to be involved in ministering to children anymore.
However, I have stumbled across this passage from Acts 13 that brings me hope.
Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark left Cyprus and sailed to the southern coast of Turkey — a land then known as Pamphylia. In this region, Paul became gravely ill.
John Mark, the least experienced traveler of the group, may have had one too many trials to endure. Luke simply writes, “John left them and returned to Jerusalem.” But Paul and Barnabas were not stopped by John Mark’s desertion.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding his departure, the journey continued. They pressed ahead, keeping their eyes focused on the goal.
I have learned this: All through ministry, people leave.
In every church there will be individuals who, for whatever reason, move on to other things. This includes those in leadership. They leave, but you know what? The kingdom of God keeps pressing on.
It’s hard to press on when you feel abandoned. It’s easy to give in to discouragement, but Paul and Barnabas didn’t do that. Surely they felt sad, but they had a job to do. So they moved forward with even stronger determination.
One of the marks of maturity is the ability to press ahead regardless of who walks off the scene. The alternative isn’t an option.
Once you’ve said goodbye, it’s time for everyone to move on. That’s exactly what Paul and Barnabas did. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (3:14).
From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem. From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.
After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak. —Acts 13:13–15
Prayer: Our Father, we have come before You, we adore You, and we lay our lives before You. Now may the God of peace that raised from the dead our Lord Jesus make us mature in every way, working His will in our lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jose Carlos Prem is the Country Director of Compassion Guatemala.
Read all the One in Spirit devotionals.