Bring Mark, for he is useful”
Mark was useful. For nearly 2,000 years it has been written down in the word of God that Mark was useful. Mark was so useful that of all the disciples Paul may have asked for, the apostle instructed that Mark be brought to the Roman prison where his execution appeared to be imminent (2nd Timothy 4:11).
Do you know the back-story of how in Acts 13:1-13 Mark had left, “abandoned” Paul & uncle Barnabas while on an important journey? Paul & Barnabas got into a fuss about whether to take Mark again, with Paul refusing to do so. The disagreement between two Godly men over Mark was so sharp that they parted ways (Acts 15:36-41).
So what had changed by the time Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy asking him specifically to bring the now useful Mark?
Did Mark grow up a little? Did he “man-up” as we say, becoming more dependable, more reliable? Did working with his uncle Barnabas provide the experience and training young Mark needed to become “useful” Mark? Thank God he had an uncle who earned the Barnabas moniker “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36).
Ooops! Don’t forget the other back-story to be recollected in Acts 9:26-27. Paul the evangelist apostle had recently been Saul, persecutor of Christians and the disciples in Jerusalem “had no use” for him out of their fear. It was Barnabas who convinced the church of Paul’s conversion so that now he was able to speak out boldly with them in the name of Jesus.
Thank God for Barnabas, the man able to get the church to embrace a man like Paul.
Thank God for Paul, a man Jesus used mightily to spread the gospel and put his will for the church in print.
And thank God for Mark, a young man who shows us that no matter where you begin, you can always become useful in the service of the King of kings.