Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
TITLE: Hanging Over A Ship’s Rail Can’t Last Forever
By Shayne Catoe
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After the mission in Jerusalem had ended, they'd headed north on a vessel going through a tumult of storms. Every day the ship staggered further off course.
The eldest man, Paul, spent much of the voyage in prayer and supplication, dreaming with Christ on how lovely the feet of those who bring good news are. Barnabas studied the few letters Paul had written to the believers back at Jerusalem, and Silas slept contently. Mark on the other hand kept running topside to hang over the rail, giving the sea back the fish from his latest meal.
â€śWonâ€™t that kid ever get his sea legs Brother Barnabas?â€ť Scoffed Paul.
â€śDonâ€™t be so hard on him. So heâ€™s got a weak stomach. Thereâ€™s no sin in that.â€ť Barnabas countered.
â€śHeâ€™s got to toughen up, or heâ€™ll drag the mission down.â€ť Paul insisted.
â€śI remember your blistered feet keeping us from a whole dayâ€™s journey to Antioch, Brother Paul.â€ť Barnabas said smiling.
â€śThose were new sandals Brother, and the leather was hard.â€ť Paul smirked.
â€śLook, all Iâ€™m saying is, we give him a little ropeâ€¦â€ť
â€śSo he can hang himself? Not a chance Brother Barnabasâ€ť
â€śIt is very wet out there Brothers.â€ť John Mark wheezed, shaking out his curly black hair.
â€śYouâ€™re soaked, and now Iâ€™m wet to,â€ť Silas growled, starting from a dead sleep.
â€śAt least I went on deck to get sick, so all you have to worry about is a bit of salt water. I feel like my insides are on the outside.â€ť Mark groaned as he turned green and ran for the ladder again.â€ť
â€śHowâ€™s the kid ever going to travel with us if he canâ€™t handle the sea?â€ť Paul wondered.
Mark spent most of his time on deck under an old sail to be near the rail. He was sick from the weather too by the time they made shore. When Mark was below deck all he did was complain.
â€śI hate water crossings. I feel half dead Brother Paul. When will my stomach ever stop swimming? And my head, itâ€™s killing me! Iâ€™ve never suffered so much, I donâ€™t know how much more of this I can stand!
â€śGather your things Brothers, it looks as if weâ€™re making dock in a few hours. Not you John Mark. Youâ€™re staying on board.â€ť Paul stated blankly.
â€śStaying on board? Why?â€ť
â€śYouâ€™re not fit for missionary service boy. Iâ€™ve never seen anyone go against hardship and fail so miserably. Youâ€™re not coming, so donâ€™t even try to change my mind.â€ť
"But Brother Paul, Iâ€™ve been waiting my whole walk for this, pleaseâ€¦â€ť
â€śIâ€™m done talking. Prepare to go through another voyage. Maybe this time youâ€™ll remember Jesus suffered as a lamb silent, not with the voice of a dying mule.â€ť
Tears of rage rolled down Marks face as he ran to find Barnabas. Soon words of fury volleyed between Paul and Barnabas in disagreement over John Marks destiny.
â€śThereâ€™s no changing my mind Barnabas, the boys a bad fig. Until he learns to suffer in silence and stand in deliverance, he will not minister with me!â€ť
â€śThen neither will I Paul. I will minister with John Mark until he has come of spiritual age, as you seem to think it. Until then, go off with Barnabas, and Iâ€™ll see what our Lord Jesus sees in Brother John Mark that you do not.â€ť
â€śSo be it!â€ť Yelled Paul as he and Silas gathered their things and headed for shore.
It wouldnâ€™t be long before Paul heard about Barnabas and John Marks journeys. When word first reached him that other brothers had already made the way straight before his coming Paul graciously thanked the Lord for His provision. It was this way in many ports and towns. Sometimes they were readily thrown out as their other Brothers had been, but most often they found a few who had heard the Word first from a powerful two named Barnabas and Mark.
Years later a young preacher ran to an older one kneeling under a tree in prayer.
â€śMark, I have a letter here, itâ€™s from Paul. Heâ€™s asking for you. Can you come, youâ€™ve been so useful to him he says.â€ť
â€śYes young Timothy, Iâ€™ll go to my Brother,â€ť and Mark rose to prepare for his journey.
*II Timothy 4:11
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