“Timothy, please come as soon as you can. Demas 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. Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.”
The road of sanctification is a long and narrow road. It is often a solitary journey and when it is filled with friends, that fellowship should be loved dearly. The bonds of that fellowship were founded in a mutual determination to share the gospel no matter the earthly barriers present. This meant that though Paul was chained, his ministry didn’t have to be. As Paul neared the end of his life, he wanted to make sure that the gospel would carry forward. Of note is his statements about Demas and Mark. Though both had deserted Paul’s method, Demas deserted deserted Paul ideologically. Mark would write the gospel of Mark, largely considered to be the first of the written Gospels. For Paul to call attention to Demas and his failings may seem like shaming in today’s snowflake culture, but Paul was being consistent in seeking to advance the gospel. He needed Timothy to understand that the sacred fellowship had a cost and that those who once were with you may not be in the end. This is a truism about this road. If we are to walk it, we must expect to be ultimately at peace with the long bouts of communion with God alone. We must treasure the times our paths cross with other pilgrims. We must be aware that some will desert us. And we must remember that the work of the gospel will legitimately lead others to forge different paths toward the same end. A ministerial mind is dynamic.