Into all the World#8. “No turning back!”

Into all the World#8. “No turning back!”

“Went home,” not “sent home,” ended up being the same thing for John Mark. His turning back at Pamphylia on the First Missionary Journey (Acts 13:13) spelt the end of his missionary work with the apostle Paul for a long time (Acts 15:36-41).

One of the theories posed is that John Mark took issue with having to preach to Gentiles. This is not an impossible scenario given that the conversion of the first Gentile, Cornelius, by Peter caused more than a small stir amongst the Jewish Christians (Acts 10). The Holy Spirit went to miraculous lengths to convince them that the gospel was for everyone.

A sister who has been a missionary for the best part of the last three decades, stated it thus, “You have to love ALL people,” she said, “and if you don’t, they KNOW it!”

Not everyone has good memories of foreigners and their religion. This is illustrated in the first thing that the Samaritan woman asked Jesus when he asked her for a drink of water: “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9).

This went far beyond the fact that Jews refused to use the dishes of Samaritans. It was that the Jews hated the Samaritans, and ALL Samaritans KNEW it!

Of course, Jesus simply ignored the rejection and lovingly moved on with his mission—the saving of her soul.

Today’s soul-winners must also take rejection in their stride. Be warned, if you can’t stand rejection at home, you might want to think twice about its effect upon you ‘out there.’

I have seen too much to start telling God who is, and who is not, suited to be a missionary.

But one thing that time has told me is that all those old long-term missionaries loved ALL, and for them, there was “No turning back!”

John Staiger


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