When I was a kid I lived in a neighborhood with a lot of kids. And during summer vacation it was nothing to have a gang of 15-20 kids playing together somewhere.
We did not have parental supervision, we didn't have play dates, we didn't even have a playground until a few years later.
But we got along. At least for the most part we did. We probably had our spats and disagreements but without adults fanning the flames, we got over things pretty quickly.
However I remember one boy, his name was Kevin.
Kevin was an only child. He always had to go home early. And he wasn't allowed to get dirty. But Kevin had the best stuff.
His kite was brighter and flew higher. His bike was shiny and new. And he owned the ball and bat that we used to play.
Yes, I can remember those long afternoons of baseball. We would choose captains everyday and then one by one they would pick their team. I honestly don't remember anyone getting upset or feeling left out of our playing. We really were a good bunch.
The games were great. Until Kevin had to go home. Because he would hang his head and mutter, "I gotta go." And there would Kevin, the ball, the bat and the game.
So then the rest of us would slowing find something else to do. Some would go off to new adventures but some of us would hang around sitting on the bleachers or sitting in the dugouts until our own supper times.
But it was different now. We were a game. We were playing together. We were all about one mindset. Now we were stragglers, because one had quit.
I'm sure you know the feeling. We all have been on the losing end of a quitter.
I was thinking about all of this as I was meditating on a scripture passage that caught my attention the other day.
New International Version (NIV)
37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Here are Paul and Barnabas traveling around the known world making disciples and starting churches. And when the time comes to go again Barnabas wants his cousin, young John Mark to come along.
Paul refuses. He says no, we took him once before and he quit on us and went back home.
The two men had a very sharp disagreement about this issue. It was so bad that they split up and went their separate ways, each taking someone else with them. Paul took Silas and Barnabas did take John Mark.
The Bible doesn't tell us why John Mark had quit the journey the first time but his quitting had quite an affect on those two men.
Do you ever feel like quitting? Just giving up?
When it comes to our Christian walk we can't quit. We can't give up. Our walk isn't just about us and it is not going to always be easy and pleasant.
But when we quit, we will have an affect on others. Maybe our family members, our friends, our non-Christian neighbors that are watching you, co-workers and on and on.
Be tenacious. Do not be pulled apart. Stick to your beliefs and doctrine. Be persistent. Your salvation is very valuable.
Don't be a quitter.