Bible Stories for the Young

John Mark

Learning To Not Be a Quitter


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John Mark : Learning To Not Be a Quitter

As you know, Paul and Barnabas traveled together around the world telling people about Jesus. But early on in their travels, there was also a young man named John Mark with them. They called him Mark for short.

Mark was probably very excited about getting to go along! He probably thought it would be fun to travel, meet new people, get to be with Paul and Barnabas, and get to tell people about Jesus.

Maybe it was even fun at first when it was exciting and new. But day after day of traveling, often meant not enough food, not enough blankets, or no bed…

And it meant sooooo much walking, sooooo much talking, and not much rest…

One day, in the middle of their travels — and we’re not exactly sure why — Mark decided he wanted to be done. Maybe he thought, “Boo-hoo… I’m sooo tired. This is too hard, and so much work, work, work. And I miss my friends and family from home. I don’t want to travel anymore. I just want to go home where things are more comfortable.”

This made Paul and Barnabas very sad. They didn’t want to see Mark give up like that! They wanted him to WANT to work for Jesus, even when it wasn’t easy. But it was Mark’s choice… so Mark left, and Paul and Barnabas traveled on.

Later, after Paul and Barnabas had traveled to many cities over many months, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back to all the towns where we shouted out the Good News… to visit God’s Family and see how everyone is doing.”

Barnabas said, “Good idea... and John Mark could come with us.”

But Paul said, “Nooo, uh-uh. We shouldn’t take someone along who quit on us last time. Mark quit and left us just because things got hard, so he shouldn’t come this time.”

Could it be?

Do you think that could have hurt Mark’s feelings when he found out Paul wouldn’t let him go on the trip? Maybe. But do you think that little sting of hurt could have been good and helpful for Mark? Remember that we’ve talked about how correction can be soothing oil on your head, if you let it help you and change you.

As a follower of Jesus, I’m sure Mark wanted to be a hard worker, but at some point he had to face the truth that he was not all that he wanted to be — yet. When this kind of thing happens in our lives, we are faced with a choice, just like Mark. Mark could either give up again and cry and feel sorry for himself and listen to lies from satan about how “Paul is being mean to me” or “Paul doesn’t like me anymore,” and think, “I’ll never be good enough.” (Phht! sound) Listening to that kind of noisy talk from satan never takes us where we want to go.

Or, Mark could turn to Jesus, learn from his mistake, and change! Let’s see what happens.

While we don’t know many details of the next few years of Mark’s life, we do know that many years later Paul mentions Mark. Do you want to hear what Paul said about him?

Paul called Mark his partner and co-work, work, worker.

And one time Paul asked his friend Timothy, “Timothy, could you bring Mark to me? He is a very useful guy to me.” That sounds like Mark must have made some good choices to be a worker instead of a quitter, huh?

And Peter called Mark his “son.” Mark worked alongside Peter and others to write down the special things that they remembered about their time with Jesus. This became the part of the Bible called “The Good News as Mark Told It.”

So it seems that John Mark did learn to not be a quitter and to trust Jesus to help him change. It seems Mark went from being a lazy-quitter of a young man, to being a middle-aged man who worked very hard, to being an old man who was very trustworthy and helpful to those around him.

You see? Sometimes if you wanna change, you gotta go through a little sting. But Jesus can change people! Helping us to grow to be more and more like Him every day.

Keep in mind, quitting isn’t just when you plop down on the ground and give up. Quitting is when you quit paying the price to be a better you, every single day. Quitting is giving anything less than your best. So never be a quitter. That means that every day you take your opportunities to move closer to Jesus. Moving forward… Step. Step. Step. Growing plus one, plus one, plus one.

And even if we make big mistakes in our lives, and we see that we are not all that we want to be, we can trust Jesus to CHANGE us. We do not have to live in the same sins and weaknesses and character problems year after year after year for our whole lives. Changing people is what Jesus is best at! We just have to Cooperate with Him…