It's been a few weeks then since the last time I wrote. It was great to be back in the habit again for some time after the holy week as we called it here in Manila.
During the holy week, I have nothing to do but to read books, watch movies I've watched before, and pray every morning and evening. I pray for the men I am discipling, pray for the nations, pray for my family and, pray for my future wife. I guess that's what a man should do.
Until then, I've had time to talk with this friend that out of nowhere introduced me to learn a new language. It was difficult and fun to learn a new language. But it was fun to learn new things with someone or with your friends.
You shared the same sentiments while learning and you understand each other as you struggle to remember every new word you've learned, you failed, you get up, you learn, and the best part, there's someone who can remind you of those words. It makes learning more fun and engaging!
This made me realize that in school, teachers wants us to learn the lessons and do them right. Even in the corporate world, some companies do the same. They expect employees to behave well, do the right thing by following mere sets of processes and procedures, avoiding the risks, discouraging people from being creative and exploring unchartered waters.
But in reality of life, most things in life aren't learned when we do them right, they are learned when we make mistakes.
And most of the skills I have right now was not come from sitting and listening to the instructor in the classroom. I learned it through constant practice, making mistakes, walking in the unchartered territories, rising from it, repeat until it is learned.
But most of the time fear of making a mistake crippled us. Aren't you?
But there's one person I look up to with this matter, it is no other than Apostle Mark. He is one of the four men who wrote the four gospels in the Bible. He walked with spiritual giants like Peter and Paul.
But the Bible talk only a few about him. We met him in Mark 14:51-52 as a young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment and was following Jesus. It was odd to know Mark in this picture.
Mark was from a wealthy family in Jerusalem. Remember the house where Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Passover Meal? Mark's family owned it.
This might also explain why Mark was almost wearing nothing when the night Jesus was captured by the soldiers.
Bible Scholars believed Mark smelled a danger and to avoid from getting caught, he jumped out of the window.
But it was not only the time he ran away. In the book of Acts, when the church in Antioch commissioned Paul and Barnabas to preach the gospel to the pagan world, Mark was with them.
What a big opportunity to be with this spiritual giants! They made their way to Cyprus in as much a few weeks but as we continue to read in Acts 13:13, said: "John [Mark] left them to return to Jerusalem."
What a coward move! If I were Paul, I will not forgive Mark for leaving us in the middle of the mission.
Continuing the story, after their mission, Paul and Barnabas went back to the churches they planted but Barnabas wanted Mark to be with them again. This is when Paul and Barnabas had a "sharp dispute". At the back of my mind, perhaps Paul was arguing with Barnabas not to bring Mark as he is a coward. The dispute got loud and it went for some time.
Paul argued that there's no place for a betrayer like Mark who left them in the mission field. The mission field is not for the cowards, it is not for the mama's boy or a rich kid who can't give up his daily entertainment.
What happened after the dispute? Paul and Barnabas parted angrily. They never worked together. The Holy Spirit told the church to work as a team but because of Mark, all of the plans was destroyed, it was a devastation. But once again people said, "Mark had run away."
I can hardly imagine how it is to be in Mark's shoes. It was like being a man who was a spoiled brat and a man of no spirit. A man with no guts. Ouch! Was I like Mark before no wonder my second name was Mark?
But the story doesn't end there. Mark regretted his foolishness. He accepted his shortcomings. Barnabas trained Mark and helped him to grow as a man God destined him to be. After that something significant happened to Mark's life.
He became useful, his character changed, his understanding deepened and, he became more like Jesus. In Colossians 4:10, Paul wrote: "you have received instructions about him (Mark), if he comes to you, welcome him."
Also in 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul said: "Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry."
Wait, what happened here? Paul who was angry at him, now commending him! What a drastic change! It got even better when Peter refers to him as "son".
You see, Mark failed miserably. He distorted God's plan for the churches. But then what he did what true men do.
1. He gave himself to the changes his failures called for.
2. He willingly submitted to mentoring by Barnabas.
Many men today dwell themselves in their failures. I've met and got a chance to disciple them and yet they chose to run away.
Some of them posting their rants and complain in social media, blaming other people for their mistakes, directly attacking those people who have nothing to say but for his good.
Some do not leave their room. Chose to stay away from their accountability group or band of brothers. No wonder why God cannot use them because of their hardened hearts.
Mark was different. Mark's story ended when he became the bishop of Alexandria. He led his people well and fiercely faced the wave of persecution that ultimately killed him and the church. Mark did not run away this time.
Apostle Mark is a hero. Even though he doesn't have superficial power, but he's a great man.
Sometimes fear may cripple us and makes us to ran away. I can still feel that way whenever I did a mistake. Sometimes I want to stop, I want to quit, but instead of quitting, I know failures are purposeful.
Knowing Apostle Mark has been through, we can see failure not as something to fear, but as something to look forward.
No wonder, I can say that I learn from failing not from winning.
How about you? When was the last time you fail and it caused a drastic change in your life?
I have so many things to tell, but I'll let you share your story so I can read it and be encourage with it as well.
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