Taking The Low Road

Jon Burgess


9Timothy, please come as soon as you can.10Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia.11Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. 2 Timothy 4:9-11


The Apostle Paul's final words are painfully practical. He's not looking at the world through rose colored glasses. Ministry is hard. Keeping relationships in ministry is even harder. Friendly fire in the fog of war is a reality. Nearing the end of his life he wants his friends around him. His request for Timothy is not a surprise. His request for Mark... that's a shocker! Remember, Paul was so upset that Mark had abandoned him during his first missionary journey that when Barnabas suggested he come with them on their second outing he never talked to Barnabas again (as far as we know from scripture)(Acts 15:36-41). Time has a way of bringing perspective. Paul has had a change of heart. Though he had previously considered Mark useless in ministry he now describes him in a very public letter as "helpful to me in my ministry". Maybe, in contrast to Demas who deserted Paul because he loved "the things of this life" more then the Lord, he realized Mark was just young and immature and needed room to grow? Whatever the case they way they find unity at the end is they are both willing to do what they were unwilling to do in the beginning- take the low road. The low road of humility leads to unity and now Paul and Mark were walking it together.


Ministry is not for the faint of heart. Being that we are called to be full time ministers, whether that's our primary vocation or not, we have all experienced what Paul describes in his letter. The pain of having a partner in minsitry turn away, turn on you or turn their back to the Lord. Is unity even really possible when we are all so different? This passage from Paul is proof that unity doesn't come from seeing eye to eye but from seeing heart to heart. How do we do that? We both choose the same road- the low one. The prophet Amos asks the pertinent question in this discussion: "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (Amos 3:3). Sometimes, there will be no unity because each person has chosen to walk a different path. However, if each person chooses to take the road of humility then we can journey together in ministry regardless of the differences of opinion. Take the place where you are most adamantly opposed to the decision of another on your team then ask yourself- am I taking the low road of humility so Christ can take priority in this relationship? If it's not a moral issue it's probably a values disagreement. Nothing brings you back to the same values like humility. Whether its a married couple, a business partner, or a minsitry team member we must all agree to walk together on the low road or we will never get anywhere. Here's a good question to start us off on the low road together: "What is God trying to teach me through the one traveling with me?" It's by divine design we are on this road together. Paul was incomplete without Mark.


May we not wait until we're at the end of our days before we realize how much we have missed on our high ground because we were not willing to walk the low road. Unity isn't about uniformity. It's about the humility to recognize that I don't have the whole counsel of God and I need the differing perspectives of those around me. Thank you Lord for this "real-time" "real life" example from Paul and Mark that gives me hope for the divisions in relationships I see all around me. I can't choose the low road for them but I can choose it for myself. It's walking the low road that I find myself walking with You.

Devotions for June 28

Amos 1,2,3
Psalms 80
2 Timothy 4

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