May 15, 2001 • By Ed Wrather
Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.’ Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. - Acts 15:36-38.
In Connecticut in three towns drivers for an airport limousine service have gone on strike. The strike will affect 8,000 people a day that use the service who are shuttled to airports in New York and Connecticut. Other strikes in the US have been averted in recent months and hopefully this one will be resolved soon.
Some people go on strike against God. John Mark apparently went on strike while on Paul’s first missionary journey. No one is for sure what happened. Some think that when the persecution became intense that Mark was afraid and fled for his safety. Others think because he was so young that he became homesick and could no longer take the separation from his family. But whatever the reason Paul notes that Mark went not to the work.
What about us have we ever gone on strike against God? If we have it was probably not while we were missionaries in a foreign country. Our strikes are more like "sick outs” or the "refusing to talk” when we are angry kind of thing. Sometimes we are not even aware that we are on strike against God. Here are some symptoms of a spiritual strike:
1. Refusing to talk to God except for a few brief moments during the day.
2. Refusing to read God’s Word.
3. Refusing to attend church or if we do attend, we only attend the Sunday morning worship service.
4. Refusing to give.
5. Refusing to serve, witness, help, etc.
6. And in its worst manifestation the spiritual striker even works against the Kingdom of God by helping the enemy through their willful sins.
We do not know how it happened but John Mark ended his spiritual strike because in 2 Timothy 4:11 while Paul is in prison in Rome, he writes "Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.” Striking is difficult for the worker and for the company they are striking against. The hope is that the company will give in to their demands, and they will soon be back at work. Striking spiritually will not work in that way because God will not change His Word to suit our personal desires. Striking spiritually only serves to make life more and more difficult for us.
Isn’t it time to end your strike and get back to the work?