“Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”
I Timothy 3:6
Have you ever wondered how some people got appointed to a position of authority? Jesus taught us it is far more important to examine the fruit in a person’s life than their gifts and talents. It’s a mistake to ignore what a person’s fruit says about them. Their actions and attitudes reflect what’s inside them which is exactly what comes out when they are promoted. Novices are those who are filled with potential, but lack maturity. Picking fruit too early in the season can be a bitter experience. Jesus said, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20)
John Mark is a good example of premature fruit. He obviously had a great deal of potential and talent, so much so, that Paul and Barnabas brought him into their ministry and took him on a mission trip with them. However, when things got tough, John Mark abandoned them and the mission and went home. It left Paul with bitter memories of John Mark. Later, when Paul and Barnabas were planning another mission, Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark with them, but Paul would have nothing to do with it. We are never told why John Mark deserted them, but we do know that it ended up splitting apart a powerful ministry team that was called and attested to by God with supernatural signs and wonders. From what we’re told in the Word, Paul and Barnabas never served together again.
When we take an honest look at the fruit in our lives, it’s important to understand that good fruit takes time. We all have desires to be used by God in great ways, but there are also things that need to be purged and eliminated from our lives in order for the maturity process to have its perfect work in us; that we be complete and entire, and fit for the Master’s use. A novice is vulnerable to pride, which leads to condemnation, and it is for the protection of a novice not to be promoted.
The good news about John Mark is, that through the process of time, he did grow, mature and become fruitful. We know this because late in Paul’s ministry, he wrote again to Timothy and asked him to come and to bring John Mark with him when he came, because he would prove profitable for him in the ministry. (2 Timothy 4:11) Years of maturity equipped him to deal with his pride to such an extent that he was profitable for the ministry! John Mark made a grave mistake years before, but he failed because he was potential fruit, and not ripened fruit!
We have all failed and been disregarded by others. But God has the last say! So, don’t count yourself out because of some bad decisions or choice words you’d like to take back. Instead, let the maturity process run its course of maturity in you. Then, you can very humbly let your fruit do your talking for you!