Friday, December 21, 2007
Remember the "Where's Waldo?" books that came out several years ago?
They would put Waldo in with a bunch of other people on different pages and you had to spot him amongst all the other people. It was harder than it looked. My kids and I would search and search, and then one of them would shout and point Waldo out when they found him. It was a lot of fun.
I thought of that when I read in the scriptures about Demas.
2 Timothy 4:10
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
Demas was a faithful companion of the apostle, mentioned along with Luke and others in these passages:
Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow labourers.
Demas was one of the followers of Jesus. A missionary and fellow traveller with Paul. Oh the things he must have seen! The miracles he must have witnessed! The souls he saw saved!
And yet....he left.
What do Waldo and Demas have in common?
Well, I'm thinking that if you took Demas and put him in a church of a hundred people or so, he would not stand out. He would be like everyone else. If someone had said, "Find the one person here who will one day leave the Lord?", you wouldn't choose Demas...you wouldn't pick him....because he would have just blended in, like Waldo does.
But sadly, later on Demas was gone.
I have known many who followed the way of Demas. Believers that I thought for sure would be faithful until the day of the Lord....and now.....they are gone.
But to be honest, I too have been Demas.
At the age of 15 I made a decision in my heart and mind that as soon as I was out of my parents house, I would also be "outta this church." I spent the next several years pretending to be a follower of Jesus, while in my heart I was a Demas.
Ten years later, the prodigal came home.
And yet, I have still had my Demas days, or maybe even a Demas week, or a Demas month. I have certainly had a Demas hour, or minute, or second.
Have you ever been a Demas?
In the title of this post I asked "Where's Demas?". When you go to church this Sunday, look around, Demas is probably there, in the building, singing praises, or praying out loud. Maybe he is teaching a Sunday School class, or leading worship, or even preaching a sermon.
Or maybe, Demas is sitting in your seat, reading your Bible, and when Demas looks in the bathroom mirror at church, he sees you.
If you are a Demas, or know one, don't give up hope. We don't know what became of Demas, but there is a story that Jesus tells of the prodigal son. I'm not going to repeat the story of the prodigal son here. If you are not familiar with the story, go to the book of Luke, chapter 15:11 - 32, and read it. Most of the time we focus on the father, who took the prodigal son back, and the good son, who was jealous of the father's acceptance of the prodigal son. But we forget, there is a third son in this story, the Son of God who left His Father to die for both of them.
So if you have a Demas in your life, or if you are a Demas, I can only say this:
The Father is waiting, as we all are, to welcome you back with open arms.
And for the rest, who have struggled with our Demas moments, join me in praying for these that have left their first love, for the love of the world.
and the one closest to me,
I close with the lyrics from a song by Michael W. Smith.
I Miss The Way
Once a true believer
Once there was a fire in your soul
You were the epitome of blessed faith astir
With thirst for holiness
And hunger for the Word
Now you move in other circles
To the beat of different drums
And I see only glimpses of the one you used to be
The inspiration that you were to me
I miss the way His love would dance within your eyes
I miss the way His heart was the soul of your life
And somewhere in the saddest part of heaven's room
Our Father sheds a tear for you
He's missing you, too
Some are calling you a prodigal
Some aren't calling you at all
But far away someone is calling you back home
Do you hear it anymore out there on your own
Once a true believer...
Hungering and thirsting for His righteousness,