Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Blue (10/08/09)
TITLE: Blue Sky Thoughts on John Mark
By Melanie Kerr
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Paul: Blue sky thinking? Fill me in here, Barney. What exactly does that involve us doing? Can we do it quickly as I have a meeting with the elders in half an hour?
Barnabas: It’s like brainstorming without limits. The sky is the limit! Every single idea is relevant until you match it up against all the other ideas. Good ideas show up the bad ones, but until that happens, all ideas are good.
Paul: So we look through all these applications and…what?
Barnabas: Alright, let’s take John Mark…(Paul sucks in his cheeks nosily). You may have already thrown his application form into the metaphorical bin, but this is where we start our blue sky thinking. We think about all things John Mark – obvious and not so obvious.
Paul: I’ll start with obvious, shall I? Let’s talk about abandonment! The man’s a deserter. He fell at the first hurdle. We need someone who is prepared to lay down their life for the gospel, not run away somewhere to preserve it.
Barnabas: How about, still young enough to learn from his mistakes? We have all made them, Paul.
Paul: Barney, the man left us high and dry! His track record stinks!
Barnabas: We’ve all got track records, Paul.
Paul: He’s spent too much time with Peter in Jerusalem. He doesn’t have a feel for the gentile mission.
Barnabas: And in spending time with Peter, he has learned a lot about Jesus from a man that met him.
Paul: I met Jesus too…the road to Damascus. Are you trying to say that my meeting had any less value than Peter’s?
Barnabas: No. All I am saying is that spending time with Peter had to be a good thing. That reminds me - someone told me that Mark has collected a storehouse of stories and testimonies about Jesus’ earthly ministry. I think he has written a lot of them down. A record like that could be really useful when we preach.
Paul: We have got something similar in what Luke has written down. It may not be at the stage of being published yet, but it’s all there.
Barnabas: You never know what people can achieve when they are given a second chance.
Paul: (smiling) You have me on that one. Without you I would be still lounging around on the beach in Tarsus. You believed in me, even though everyone else had given up on me.
Barnabas: Yes, and I believe in John Mark.
Paul: Barney, you stink of nepotism! You have an indulgent uncle’s soft spot for a sob story! Would you be fighting so hard if he wasn’t your nephew? John Mark may be related to you in name, but he doesn’t have your spirit! He doesn’t have the word “missionary” stamped on his character. He will be a liability, not an asset.
Barnabas: How do you know what any of us can become given the time and the opportunity?
Paul: And there is the problem – time and opportunity. He has had the opportunity and we don’t have the time to find out what he is made of. There’s a persecution on, Barney. The time is urgent. Who knows when Jesus will return? We don’t have the luxury of time to nurture…not on the mission field. Better he should stay with Peter and write his stories.
Barnabas: The trouble with you Paul is you don’t see the blue sky for all the clouds you are creating. A person’s future should not be written down so swiftly on the basis of one mistake.
Paul: The trouble with you, Barney, is you never see the clouds in the blue sky…and there are some big black ones where John Mark is concerned.
(There’s an awkward silence)
Barnabas: You’re right about the clouds, Paul. There might not be blue skies hovering over John Mark, but I’m not about to write him off. Why don’t you take (selects an application form) …Silas? Take him and go back and visit the churches. John Mark and I will head elsewhere.
Paul: (glancing out of the window) So much for blue skies! There’s a storm coming.
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