2 Timothy 4:11 “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”
One of the saddest statements I read about in Paul’s life is when he said, “Only Luke is with me.” Where are all of those people who Paul influenced and helped in their hard times? Where are those whom Paul led to Christ? To only have one person still with you as you go through the hardest times of your life is not a reflection against Paul but against those he helped.
This phrase reveals that the ministry will get lonely. I have had people tell me that I am going to be a lonely person when I get old because of how strong I stand for the truth. They may be right, but I would rather be lonely because I stood for truth than to be accepted by the crowd because I compromised. I have learned several ways of how to deal with the loneliness of the ministry that I would like to share with you.
First, you do have friends, just not as many as others. You likely have more friends than you realize; it is just that your friends are busy serving the LORD like you are and don’t have the time to play in life because they are trying to reach the souls of mankind. You always have to realize that there are many who are your friend; you just don’t hear from them daily like you hear from the enemy. Just be thankful for those who are standing with you no matter how few that may be.
Second, God never said that being true to the faith would make you popular. Christ found Himself alone on the cross; why should we be any different? You will find yourself lonely at times if you stand for truth, but having an audience with Christ because you stand for truth is far better than having the accolades of the crowd because of compromise.
Third, be more in love with truth than with fellowship. If you make truth your focus instead of fellowship, it will not bother you when you have no fellowship with others. Fellowship is wonderful, but knowing you did right will give you a peace of mind that fills the void of loneliness when others forsake you.
Fourth, remember that there is a Judgment Seat. This is a great key to making it through the lonely times. You will be rewarded one day for standing for the truth; it is this mindset that will help you deal with loneliness.
Fifth, don’t unnecessarily run people off. It should not bother you if truth runs people off, but if your disposition towards others runs them off, you should change that. I don’t apologize for my stance for truth, but if my actions ran people off because I was wrong, it is best that I learn to apologize for my actions because I may need those I ran off one day. Now, you have to be careful about blaming truth for being lonely when your disposition and actions are what ran people off. Be careful about cutting the cord with people unnecessarily because that doesn't have to happen.
Sixth, let forgiveness be a great part of your ministry. It is interesting that Paul wanted to have Mark back, the very person he separated from years prior. You may have had battles with someone in the past, but you must learn to forgive and move on if they are still standing for truth. We need as many as we can as we stand for truth, don't let your unwillingness to forgive keep those who would stand with you away from you.