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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.

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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.

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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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I blog about my dis­cov­er­ies and learn­ings with per­son­al devel­op­ment, blog­ging, writ­ing, pub­lic speak­ing, and pub­lish­ing. I am a Jesus fol­low­er. Each month, I send out a newslet­ter with free tips on those top­ics.

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