Have you ever noticed that plans don’t always turn out the way you thought they might? Have you ever noticed that sometimes the people from which you expected the most, end up disappointing those expectations? Maybe disappointment is not the right word to use, but Jesus had Judas among His band. Judas saw the miracles, served under the anointing of Jesus, participated in some of Jesus’ miracles, and even did them himself as he was sent out by Jesus. I can only imagine the shock Judas’ betrayal imposed on the other disciples. I can almost hear the “gasp!”
Paul took a young man, John Mark, with him on his first missionary journey. We are not told why, but he left the team and went home. This was no small thing, as later Paul and Barnabas parted company over this issue. The record in the Bible says, “…the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another” (Acts 15:39).
I wonder if it occurred to Paul to forget wasting his time with these young “wannabes.” Clearly Barnabas wanted to give the young man a second chance. Paul clearly did not. As we can see from the Biblical account, Paul immediately found another young man and began to mentor him. “… behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy… Paul wanted to have him go on with him. (Acts 16:1-3)
Disappointment in one should not keep us from making room for others. Some will disappoint, but some will make it. And some, like John Mark, will eventually come around and be very valuable. Without a doubt, there is work, patience, and dedication that go along with helping young people or new youth leaders find their way. In realizing that in them there is great potential, makes it all really is worth the effort. Yes, some will disappoint but maybe later they will see and understand and grow, as did John Mark. Some may never develop. However, our part is to help as we can, pouring into others by faith and helping them along the way for the fulfillment of God’s plan for them.
Tom Brazell began his association with the Fellowship in 1978. Since then he pioneered and pastored Love Joy Gospel Church in Buffalo, NY and served as a missionary in Zaire from 1985 to 1989. After returning from Africa, he became pastor of Community Gospel Church in Pasadena, MD.
Tom filled the position of Director of the World Missions Department of Elim Fellowship from 1996 to 2001 and has returned to fill that role again under its new name of International Ministries. Tom was appointed to the Council of Elders in December 1994. He and his wife, Judy, have three adult children and live in the Rochester NY area.