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  • Allen Domelle

And John Departed From Them

Acts 13:13

Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

One sad statement in John Mark’s life is that he departed from Paul and Barnabas to go back to Jerusalem. We know his departing was not at the blessing of Paul or Barnabas because this situation caused these men to have contention with each other over John Mark departing from them. Paul was adamant that John Mark had left them and could not be trusted. Though this lesson is not about what God did later in John Mark’s life, remember that his departing from them created Paul’s mindset that John could not be trusted.

John Mark departed at the worst time because he was needed in this ministry. His departing left three people trying to do the work of four. His departing likely hindered what God could have done had he stayed. His departure was a fleshly decision and not a decision of faith. Although John Mark got right and became profitable, he could never go back and make up for the time that he departed.

One sad reality of the ministry is that people depart to go back, not realizing the big hole they leave for others to fill. There is never a good time for one to depart. I have been in the ministry my entire life, and one thing I have learned is that every church would be running several hundred, if not a few thousand, if the people who departed would have stayed. Let me share some thoughts about departing to go back.

First, a backward move is never the right decision. The fact that John Mark when back to Jerusalem should have been the alarm that he was making the wrong decision. Faith decisions never take you back, but they always move you forward. If your decision is to move back to an area, your decision is likely the wrong decision.

Second, what you choose to return to is different from what you remember. You can choose to go back, but you will soon find where you left moved on without you. You can think you are going back to what you remember because what you remember is the past, and we are living in the present, which means the past is no longer what you remembered.

Third, you always hurt the present place you are in when you leave. Why anyone would leave a place where God is working is beyond my imagination. If God is working where you are, you would be wise to stay. When you leave, it always leaves a hole that someone has to fill, which means you are hurting the work of God. Many souls will be in Hell because of people who quit, and their quitting left a hole that was difficult to fill.

Fourth, God’s work will go on without you, but you will miss the blessings of what God will do. Let me assure you that God’s work does need you, but you are not the only one that God can use. You may leave and think that God’s work will die, but I have always seen God send a replacement who will fill the hole. The only problem is you will miss out on the future blessings because you quit and returned.

Fifth, you can never take back the missed opportunities you missed during the time that you quit. You cannot make up for the time that you missed because of quitting because that time is past. The best decision you can make is never to quit, and if you never quit, you will never have to look back and wish you had not wasted the time of quitting.


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