We all need help!
“When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.”
So the mission begins and they begin a strategy that they have used before, first the Jews then the Gentiles. However within these synagogues there were many proselytes, Gentiles who had turned away from their idols and were now seeking the One God, the Jewish God. So their message was easy, this One God can be found through His One and Only Son Jesus Christ.
Alongside them was a family member of Barnabas, his cousin John Mark. He was their helper which probably meant he did everything from meeting basic needs of Barnabas and Saul to even helping with the preaching and teaching load.
Helpers in the ministry are valuable to the mission.
I learnt to play the tenor horn as a child in the Salvation Army and then later in my High School. Throughout those years I played second horn pieces. It often meant I never played the melody but played bits in between which sounded a bit like ‘umpah umpah’. I longed for a tune or often prayed that sickness would hit the first hornist! Those days taught me the importance of the second role. The melody never sounds complete without ‘umpah umpah’. The helper completes the overall sound or picture or indeed the mission.
After only a couple of years into the pastorate of my first church I was compelled by the Spirit to begin to serve another. Many ideas flowed through my mind of what that could mean until one overwhelming thought would not leave me. I was going to offer to help a man who had gone through what could only be described as a valley of the shadow of death. I was going to help him get going again. I remember the day I approached that man who I did not really know that well with a little trepidation of what his reaction would be. So along with pastoring my small church, I became his promoter. I felt it a real honour to do so and I loved that period of time very much.
There is tremendous joy in being a helper. To hold up some ones arms like Aaron and Hur did for Moses when he tired in prayer is a privilege. To see someone blossom and thrive and to know you helped that is an incredible feeling. To know that our real HELPER, the SPIRIT, is helping us being the helper to an individual, to carry the burden a little, to make it easier, well, this is a joy, it really is!
Today I have many helpers, helpers of intercession and of hospitality, helpers who bring joy, helpers who finance the mission, helpers who listen and helpers who speak it straight to me.
And in a beautifully written story of my life, the man I helped 23 years ago is now one of those helpers of my life. Sowing and reaping really works.
If God has called you as a John Mark, thank you, thank you for serving in this way, those you serve are better for having you with them.
If God has given you a John Mark then make sure you look after them!