Karl and Joe* accompanied me on a missions trip. We had a great time together sharing Jesus with people who had never heard of Him. We laughed at ourselves as we struggled to speak the language of our hosts. We enjoyed the adventure of braving rush hour on motorcycles and eating strange but delicious foods. We bonded as a team as we shared in hardships and victories in the journey of serving God.
Decades later, Karl is still serving the Lord and making a difference in the lives of people. Joe got wrapped around the pursuit of making money and climbing the corporate ladder. His liked to be seen in church on Sunday while the rest of the week he saw to his career and pursuing the good life.
Colossians 4:14—Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas greet you.
The only mention of Luke being a doctor in the New Testament is recorded in the verse above. Luke was not just the author of one of the gospels and the book of Acts, it is apparent that he was a beloved man. He faithfully accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys and he made an indelible mark on the lives of the people to whom he ministered.
Demas also was part of Paul’s team. At the time when Paul wrote the Christians in the city of Colossae, Demas evidently had good standing with them. But something went very wrong as Paul neared the end of his life. In 2 Timothy 4:9-11 we read, “Make every effort to come to me soon, for Demas has deserted me, because he loved this present world, and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me . . .”
Luke faithfully remained with his teammate and brother-in-the Lord. Demas took off. The word “desert” is a strong word. It means Demas abandoned Paul when there was an expectation that he was needed and should stay. It means he failed his mission. Clearly, in Paul’s eyes, Demas was more in love with the world than with the Maker of the world. Thessalonica was a city of 200,000 people who mainly worshipped idols, Greek and Roman gods, and the Roman emperor himself. This was not a destination Demas needed to pursue and certainly not at a time when Paul needed him.
So what makes one man faithful while another falls away? The answer is found in the eyes. When our eyes are on Jesus, we do what is right. The team benefits and the gospel flourishes. When our eyes are on the world we become selfish. The team languishes and the gospel is ridiculed. This is precisely why the Apostle John wrote, “Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Check your eyes. Is your desire to do your own thing or are you zealous to serve those God places around you? Wrong motivation is a sign the eyes are distracted. I know how easy it is to focus on earthly things. To bless others and stay on track, I must focus on Jesus. I need frequent eye exams! How about you?
*Not their real names.
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
HCSB Study Bible, ©2010, Nashville, TN.