“But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.”
My father used to tell me that I could always continue. My father has been the epitome of continuing in spite of adverse circumstances. I can remember at one point when he faced a circumstance of his own volition that I thought it would become his quitting point. As his character dictated, he didn’t even let that circumstance cause him to quit.
It is amazing how one man’s quitting point became the dividing point between two men. When Paul and Barnabas determined to visit the churches they started, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark, but Paul didn’t because he left them at an important time in their journeys. The Scriptures say that the division became so sharp between the two men that the only way they felt they could settle the difference was to walk away from each other. The damage of John Mark quitting certainly affected him, but it also affected others. Several lessons that John Mark’s quitting can teach the Christian.
First, quitting is a choice. Nobody makes you quit. John Mark chose to quit. Certainly, he probably had a great excuse to quit, but that still didn’t take away from the fact that his quitting damaged the work of God. You always have the choice to continue instead of quitting. When you quit, you have nobody else to blame other than yourself.
Second, quitting gives you a bad reputation. It didn’t matter why John Mark quit, the reputation he acquired by quitting damaged his ability to be used by others. If you choose to quit, you must realize that it is going to damage your reputation. The one thing you never want to be known for is that you are a quitter. If you quit, trying to repair the reputation that you are a quitter will take time to overcome.
Third, quitting hurts those who didn’t quit. John Mark’s quitting point hurt the ability of Paul and Barnabas to do what needed to get done. You always have to remember that you are hurting those who choose not to quit when you choose to quit. Those who don’t quit are left with a gap to fill when you choose to walk away. Don’t think for a second that others won’t get angry with you when you quit. You are causing damage to what others are trying to accomplish, and your quitting will only cause hurt to them and the work being done.
Fourth, quitting makes it hard for others to depend on you in the future. Paul didn’t want to take John Mark because he didn’t know if he would quit again. Dependability is built by a continuing on in spite of the hardships you face. When others see you face the hardships with them, they know that they can depend on you when times get tough. On the other hand, quitting hurts the ability for others to depend on you in those tough times. When they see you quit, they will always wonder if you are going to quit the next time you have a hardship.
Fifth, quitting doesn’t have to be the end if you get up and go again. Maybe you have quit; don’t let that be the end of your story. Get up like John Mark did and continue on and let the rest of your life be one of dependability. Let your time of quitting be a John Mark moment to get up and never quit again.