“Barnabas wanted to take Mark along with them. But Paul insisted they not take him along because he had deserted them” Acts 15:37-38
As we endeavor to bring about change in our cities, neighborhoods, communities and nation…the unspoken quandary is, “How do we relate to the ‘deserters?’” Those disenfranchised, young black men between the ages of 18 and 30 who have stared hopelessness, illiteracy, unemployability and danger in the face, and concluded, “I’m deserting.” Taking sanctuary in a lifestyle of drugs, crime, irresponsibility and aimlessness.
However God has raised up modern day Barnabases all across this country who will not give up on the Marks. There are servants who put their hearts around these young men and live out a commitment to love them, equip them, champion them and encourage them. Sounds feasible enough, right?
Except when you spend six months to get one of these Marks into drug rehab and they desert after six hours.
When you go to court ten times as a character reference and these Marks disregard their parole officer session.
When you convince an employer to give one of these Marks a job and they get caught stealing from the company.
What in heaven’s name is a Barnabas supposed to do?
The same thing Jesus The Christ does with us every day! He embraces these wayward, deserting hearts of ours and surrounds us with a context for success, redemption and purpose.
What’s that Paul? Do I hear you clearly in 2 Timothy 4:11?! … Pick up who? Mark the deserter? … “for he is useful to me for service”!!!
Thank God we serve a Lord who, as one writer once said, “recruits much more from the pit than the pedestal.”