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Today’s insights from Chuck Swindoll

Paul and his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port city of Perga. There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas, however, traveled inland to Antioch in Pisidia.

On the Sabbath they went to worship in the synagogue. (Acts 13:13-14)

Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark left Cyprus and sailed for the southern coast of Turkey—a country then known as Pamphylia, whose rugged coastline rose steeply to the lofty heights of a mountain range steeper and wilder than the eastern Tura mountain near Tarsus, and more fearsome than any mountains known to the Cypriot Barnabas or the Judean John Mark.

This sight alone may have triggered the flood of doubt that would eventually flood the soul of young John Mark. In this region, Paul became seriously ill with malaria or some other severe coastal fever. This may have been the last straw for the inexperienced traveler. Without any explanation, Luke simply writes: “John left them and returned to Jerusalem.” But from Perga they continued their journey. Without even a hiccup, the journey continued. Paul and Barnabas were not deterred by John Mark’s desertion.

Here’s an important observation: Throughout their ministry, people leave their church. In every church, there are people who, for whatever reason, move on to other roles. This includes the leaders. They leave, but the church continues. Regardless of the circumstances of their departure, the journey continued. For Paul and Barnabas, there was no time or need for a long, drawn-out goodbye. They kept going, keeping their eyes on the goal.

It’s hard to keep going when you feel let down. It’s easy to give in to discouragement and let it drain your tank, but Paul and Barnabas didn’t have that luxury. They had their emotions under control and a job to do, so they kept going with even stronger determination.

A sign of maturity is the ability to keep going no matter who disappears from the scene. The alternative is not an option. Once you say goodbye, it’s time for everyone to move on. That’s exactly what Paul and Barnabas did. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (3:14).

Taken by Great days with great lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. www.harpercollinschristian.com

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