It is the New Year!
Some of us see a new year as a fresh beginning; a time to make all things new again.

I tend to see the New Year as a mid-way point in the school or fiscal year if you will. The only thing new about it is that everything I just completed in 2014 now needs to be redone! AGH…like dishes and laundry a new year’s worth of duties has begun again!

Life is 90% perspective!

What could you choose to see with a new perspective?

Here is an example in relation to the Gospel of Mark.

First of all I did not know that the author of the Gospel of Mark is the John Mark mentioned throughout the New Testament. Beginning in Acts 12 we see that John Mark was the son of Mary whose house is used for regular prayer meetings and this is the home to which Peter goes when he is miraculously released from prison. Next, in Acts 13 we see John Mark traveling as a helper to Paul and Barnabas on the first Missionary Journey.

I did remember the John [Mark] who left Paul and Barnabas and returns to Jerusalem before the missionary journey is completed. (Acts 13:13) I also remembered the argument between Paul and Barnabas as to whether or not he should join them again on another journey. (Acts 15:37) And there is a vague recollection that Paul and John Mark restore their relationship.

But I did not realize that this reconciliation between Paul and Mark is what brings Mark to Rome and in Rome Mark becomes a spiritual son to the Apostle Peter. (I Peter 5:13) It is this relationship that gives Mark the complete information along with the Holy Spirit’s influence to write the Gospel of Mark!

As my teenage son would say “Mind Blown!”

I have always viewed this story as a conflict between the two ministry leaders Paul and Barnabas.

But, how did Mark feel about this?

John Mark obviously was a believer. He grew up in a house of prayer and regular fellowship with other believers. He had a call to serve God and spread the Gospel and so he joins the first missionary journey as a helper. But something happens along the way and he goes home. We don’t know why. We do know that Barnabas felt John Mark’s call was worthy of another chance and Paul didn’t have trust or patience to give him that chance. Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be the person to make Paul and Barnabas argue?

Mark keeps trying to obey God’s call. I never noticed that before. He keeps serving in the church and alongside Barnabas. And it is Paul in II Timothy 4:11 and Philemon 24 that writes about Mark and says that he is useful and a fellow worker! After all this Mark pens his Gospel.

What if Mark had gone home to Jerusalem and quit following his call?

What if when Paul and Barnabas argued He had said “never mind you go on without me”? What if he had been too defeated to continue on the path God had laid out for him? We would be missing the first letter of the Good News. His Gospel was penned first, most likely around 60 AD.

New Perspective:

    Have you ever felt uninvited as Paul uninvited Mark?

    I know I have. As a minister’s wife I have lived out some very hurtful seasons in life when callings and platforms have been taken away. But; I am also blessed to tell you that, like Mark my husband and I have gotten back up and gone on with what we could do to fulfill our call. Whatever season you are in I urge you to get back up and keep going. Do what you know you have been called and purposed to accomplish!

    Have you been being a Paul to someone when you should be being a Barnabas?

    Who is it that you don’t feel is necessary to put time and energy into; but God is saying they are useful and a fellow worker? Mark became those things in part because of the care and training given to him by Barnabas.

    Reconcile your differences and your perspective…you don’t know who is waiting to hear what only you can say about the Good News!

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15 Responses to Perspective

  1. Kim Martinez says:

    This reminds me of a thought I had yesterday based on the book I’m reading XTeams. Great teams allow people to come and go, and expect change as the needs for functions change. This gave me a great perspective on my life – sometimes things happen. Changes aren’t because someone failed, they are because needs change, and I will be best used someplace else. I hadn’t related it back to the spiritual side yet. thanks so much – this was helpful!

  2. Kandi says:

    Out of one ministry, another was born….because of the disagreement that Barnabas and Paul had, another ministry was born…I think we need to remember that. We don’t have to agree on doing things exactly like someone else would. We need to remember that we are on the same team with the same goal in mind. Barnabas could of gotten offended and quit but didn’t and because he didn’t quit another ministry was born. Which means more people heard the gospel. And more people were saved. Love your heart Melisa! Keep up the good work.

    • turnermelisa says:

      Thank you Kandi for your thoughts on this. I agree with you, so many times we see change as negative. Mark certainly faced hurt and negative feelings, but didn’t let that stop him from continuing on in his call. Because of this we have all benefited.

  3. Angela says:

    I think perspective is one of the most powerful things we have. When feeling uninvited it’s important to remember that we are always invited by our creator to our purpose, to know and glorify Him. He also invites us to our calling–our unique way of carrying that out. It’s really God who calls us, even when people “uninvite” us and we can trust Him.

  4. Such a great blog Melisa! God works greatness in the minuet details that we can easily miss. It doesn’t matter if we are invited, we are chosen and called by the God who created the universe. We can’t wait for education, money, or connections to get us where God is asking us to go – We need to get on the “missionary journey”! GO GO GO! Thank you for the time you invest and sharing God’s word with us!

  5. gailjohnsen says:

    Melisa, great insight and encouragement to all of us! We all have had those moments (weeks, years!?) of being “uninvited” or left out, for whatever reason. Of course, the normal human emotion is to quit but this story of Mark, as you tell it, is so compelling to challenge us to “keep on keeping on!” Way leads on to way…and as we go, new opportunities and doors open up to us…many of which we could have never imagined. Great job!

  6. joddijay says:

    Thank you, Melisa, for the challenge to keep an eternal perspective. What is God doing in the midst of this difficult situation? Will I trust that He is using it in His story? Do I look at others through God’s lens of love and potential rather than judge by my own short-sighted standards? It certainly is easy to get stuck in the moment and view things with human eyes. However, as we walk in the Spirit, keeping our ears tuned to Him, we can approach people and circumstances like Jesus.

    I appreciate your insights. The Lord used your blog to encourage me today.

    • turnermelisa says:

      I am so glad it encouraged you Joddi-Jay! This idea has challenged me to look at others with new perspective as well. I easily identify with Mark and can even see Paul in my leadership style, but is there enough Barnabas for those I influence? Jesus help me see with your perspective.

      Thank you Joddi-Jay for taking time talk it over with me.

  7. Jana Waddell says:

    Love this. I totally identify with feeling uninvited to certain things and my stubbornness definitely lends itself to a “never mind, I’ll just do my own thing” attitude. I’m stopped in my tracks by Mark’s quiet submissiveness and willingness to keep working where he’s given a place and not blow the whole Paul thing out of context. Maybe poor Paul was just having a rough day. I’m usually harboring a grudge against that “immature leader who make a mistake.” John Mark shows a better way…a higher road. Note to self.

    • turnermelisa says:

      Thank you friend for your honest thoughts! Choosing the “higher road” of submission is a sure sign God was healing and maturing John Mark. The reconcilation in these relationships is obviously so important and yet it is interesting to me that we are left to discover it by reading between the lines. Always more to glean than what is on the surface. Hmmm

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