“. . . for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica . . .”
— 2 Timothy 4:10
Do you have the courage and stamina to fight the good fight to the end? When faced with seemingly overwhelming obstacles, will you give up, or will you stand firm?
Mark and Demas, colleagues of the apostle Paul, clearly illustrate the startling contrast between faithful and faithless soldiers in God’s army. In the beginning, Demas seemed a better soldier for Christ than Mark. Demas had served as Paul’s right-hand man, traveling with him on all four missionary journeys and experiencing shipwrecks, trials, and beatings. Mark, on the other hand, had “chickened out” on Paul’s first trip. Mark had quit and gone home, and when Mark felt ready to serve again, Paul refused to let Mark travel with him.
But years later, in his prison cell awaiting death, Paul realized which man was the real soldier for Christ. Demas had now forsaken him, “having loved this present world,” and Paul eagerly awaited Mark’s arrival. By this time, Mark had matured, having had Barnabas as a mentor, and Paul considered him “profitable” in the ministry. In fact, Mark authored the gospel of Mark.
This story of Mark reminds me of three young men who joined the British army and became lieutenants. When World War I broke out, one of the young lieutenants, who was rich and spoiled, panicked at the thought of fighting and managed to get a discharge. The others sent him two white feathers, signifying that they viewed him as a coward. When his fiancée discovered that he had quit, she broke their engagement and gave him a white feather from her hat.
Ashamed, this young man enlisted as a private under an assumed name. He fought on the front lines, and there he rescued both of his buddies. Afterward, he returned their feathers to them. When wounded, this young man found his fiancée, who had become an army nurse, and returned her feather, too. At that point, she knew her quitter had tried again; her coward had become a hero.
When the struggles come, will you be a hero? Commit today to enter the discipline of a soldier, preparing yourself by God’s power to endure and win any battles you may face.