John Mark came from a Godly family. His mother was Mary, the lady who held the prayer meeting for Peter when he was in prison (Acts 12:12). His cousin was Barnabas (Colossians 4:10). He was given great privilege and opportunity. He was taken by Barnabas and Paul from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 12:25), and then was chosen to go with them on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5).
Despite all of these advantages, John Mark quit part way through the missionary journey (Acts 13:13). His failure to finish the journey eventually resulted in a division between Barnabas and Paul.
As they began their next missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them, but Paul disagreed (Acts 15:37-41). Unable to resolve their disagreement, they split up and went different directions. Paul took Silas, and Barnabas took John Mark.
The time and faith that Barnabas invested in John Mark paid off, because later Paul remarked that he was profitable to him for the ministry and wanted John Mark to come with Timothy to visit him in prison (2 Timothy 4:11). Mark is even believed to be the author of the New Testament book of Mark!
So what mentoring lessons do we learn from Barnabas and John Mark:
- We must be highly committed to investing in others. Barnabas cared so much about John Mark that he willing to part company with his good friend Paul over him.
- When we mentor, we must be willing to take risks on those who have failed and helped them to become profitable for the ministry.
- Sometimes when we choose to forgive, to invest, and to take risks with people, we will be criticized.