Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Ultimate Bailout

"Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world." (2 Timothy 4:10).

One can only imagine how the conversation might have gone when Demas, an early disciple, asked Paul if he could be a part of the traveling ministry team that was shaking the Roman World with the Gospel.

And we only imagine how exhilarating it must've been for the young ambitious man when he witnessed firsthand the extraordinary things God was doing through the apostle's empowered ministry.

But it takes no imagine at all to grasp the final report on this man's life, written by Paul shortly before he was executed in Rome. Demas quit. When Paul needed him the most, and was counting on him to be there -- Demas effected the ultimate bail-out. He bolted and abandoned Paul to face the wrath of an Empire alone.

And why?

Paul tells us point blank -- "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world." One translation says, "he went off chasing fads."

He was quick to show up when popularity and success accompanied Paul's travels. But that was short-lived. Once the fire of persecution lit, and the opposition intensified with scorching animosity -- Demas made a bee-line for the easy life in prosperous Thessalonica. His name could've gone down in history as one of the great champions of the early Church. Instead he is forever known as a coward and a quitter.

This stands as a timeless warning to each of us, for none is exempt from exposure to the innumerable options for an easier way than that of following Jesus. When the road narrows, and the grade steepens; when the path becomes more and more difficult, and less and less celebrated -- don't follow the example of Demas.

Keep the faith; fight the good fight; finish with honor. Your name will be celebrated in Heaven.


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