The Elephant in the Room

What if Mark had a Linkedin page? This guy had connections. Capable of dropping names like Apostles Peter and Paul. Cousin of the son of encouragement Barnabas. Son of Mary, at whose home the church  met.

And he had accomplishments. A ministry that ranged from Jerusalem to Rome. In on the founding of the church. Gospel author. On the first recorded missionary tour.

But he did have a blip on the radar screen. A blemish on an otherwise stellar resume. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the incident found its way onto his permanent record.

We all have episodes in our lives that we’d rather not rehash. What do we do to get the gawkers to look the other way? How do we regain our footing? More importantly, how do we address the elephant in the room?

One, is to know that God has created  these circumstances as a learning experience. It’ll always be there in the back of your mind, and in the minds of those with whom you must function.

It’s actually a good thing, and thankfully, not a real thorn in the flesh like Paul’s.  Remember, Jesus built off Peter’s failure big time.

Here’s the key. The only way we make it back is to be a humble person. Humiliation, by definition, must proceed this step. You could be a bitter person, but we don’t want to go there, do we?

Two, the contrast will be stark when you prove the detractors wrong. Mark did an amazing job returning to good graces. Just think, it’s time for the second missionary tour and Barnabas wants him back on the team, and is willing to split with Paul over him!

It turns out, by the end of the lives of both Peter and Paul, Mark’s shuttling back in forth between them as a useful person. Reading between the lines, this guy was really indispensable to two of the greatest men who ever lived.

So, get back in the game. Work hard to prove them wrong. Learn from your mistakes. Be honest. Be humble. Use your time wisely–Mark took his hiatus to write a very important book. Persevere.

As an aside, Mark might not have wanted to go to Perga, but he did not in the end shy away from ultimately travelling into the belly of the beast–Rome.

Back to LinkedIn. How good was it to get Paul’s recommendations posted in the end?

Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’s cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him). Colossians 4:10

Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 2 Timothy 4:11

Time Management


15 Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:15-16

Paul talks about making the most of our time because “the days are evil.” He knows without our proactivity we’ll let good opportunities come and go. We often don’t even think about opportunity costs. In his world, people’s eternal lives were at stake. This should be our motivation as well, but on a practical level, we need to be about seizing opportunities. Hidden in the words here is idea of buying up or “redeeming” the time. Just as the birds will snatch away the seeds sown before they can germinate, our career opportunities are fleeting.

Everything we do is a stepping stone to landing gratifying employment. At the very least, if we redeem the time, we can look back and know we did our best. After all, these opportunities are created by God. We need to know that the  enemy of souls wants us to miss out and to continue to flounder.

Another thing here to learn is that the act of being wise (not unwise) is reflective, careful thinking. We are constantly thinking things through, playing things out. We’re like athletic coaches and managers that play out different scenarios and are prepared. This is where prayer comes in. In our own power and strength, we will fall short. We have the best counselor in the world at our disposal! Use him.