Friday, November 12, 2010

Daily Light - November 12, 2010

Daily Light from the Lighthouse

"Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry."
2 Timothy 4:11

What is the heaviest thing that you can carry? I was never one of the strongest guys on the football team in high school. I used to watch with amazement as friends would bench press enormous amounts of weight while the bar was bending underneath the strain. Recently I had to help move a piano. Is there anything heavier or more awkward than moving a piano? I offered to just carry the bench all by myself, but I had to pull my weight on the piano too. There is only one thing that I know of that even the physically weakest among us carries that is heavier and more awkward: a grudge.
Most people that are carrying a grudge often do one of two things when you bring up the subject. They either deny that they are carrying this grudge, or they get defensive about why they are carrying it. Those in denial are often in more dangerous territory, because they haven't even dealt with the root of the bitterness that is destroying their lives. Those who get defensive about it try to justify their behavior based on the other individual's behavior. Neither argument stands up when it comes into the light of God's grace and forgiveness. When we are encouraged to be like Christ, all grudges must be eradicated and forgiveness, mercy, and grace must rule the day.
Paul had an occasion where a major disagreement came between him and his friend Barnabas. They had gone out on a successful missionary journey. They were used of God in mighty ways to point people to the saving power of Jesus Christ. The only hiccup along the way was that Barnabas' nephew Mark had quit on them during the journey. After they returned home for a while, Paul and Barnabas felt compelled to strike out again into other regions. Barnabas insisted on Mark coming along, but Paul refused to hear of it. They could not come to an agreement and chose to part ways. Surely Paul would never want to have any thing to do with Mark ever again, because he had been the primary reason for Paul's loss of a best friend. In our passage, however, we see him telling Timothy to bring Mark back, because he would be useful in the ministry.
What had transpired to cause this change of heart? The Bible is quite silent on the subject, but I can venture a guess. If anyone knew of the changing power of God, it was Paul. He recognized that holding someone accountable for their past for the rest of their lives is not profitable to any one, especially Christ. If there is someone that you have any sort of grudge toward today, realize that you are not only hurting yourself, but your resentment is also hurting the cause of Christ in your life. God cannot use a vessel filled with bitterness. It must be emptied and washed clean with the agent of God's forgiveness before it is useful. Let God do a cleansing in your heart and then offer the gentle hand of God's forgiveness.
May you be free from the bondage of others today!

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