We don’t know much about Demas. There’s only a couple of verses about him in the Bible. In Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24, the Apostle Paul mentions Demas in his greeting as a “fellowlabourer” in the Gospel. So seemingly, Demas is running hard with Paul in the ministry as they attempt to establish the early church.
However, I ran across 2 Timothy 4:10 today in my studies and was blown away with the statement that Paul makes of Demas. The statement is blunt and to the point when Paul writes, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…"
What happened? What brought Demas from walking side by side with one of the forerunners of the early church, to now running away from full time ministry and his partnership with Paul? I can’t answer that question with a definite response, but I can say at times there’s been more reasons for me to give up on the ministry there have been to stay.
I started preaching the Gospel when I was 13 years old, and went into full time ministry at the age of 17. I’ve seen married pastors sleep around with young people. I’ve watched leaders grossly mishandle the funds of God’s people. I’ve seen abusive and manipulative leadership, and I’ve been a victim of just plane ole’ bad church. As a pastor, I’ve been hurt by parishioners, rumors, and all the rest. I’ve also been the aggressor in some of the drama that happens in the church. I say that to say there have been reasons upon reasons, if I wanted one, to give up on the ministry.
I look at a new generation of young ministers like myself and I wonder if we’ll make it. I worry when I hear young ministers tell me their requirements for being placed on staff at a church. Some won’t go unless there’s a certain number of people, or enough zeroes on the paycheck. I had one friend even leave a church because the church stop offering them certain benefits.
What scares me more, is that there are hidden secrets in the hearts of young ministers that we’re not dealing with. How about the secret of using our present ministries as a stepping stone to becoming something "greater” in the eyes of “successful ministry.” Or the secret of hooking up with certain ministries and pastors, only to set ourselves up with greater connections and influence. It concerns me that if the foundation of our ministry is built without struggle, inner turmoil, and a fight for character, then how we will last in the present stream of ministry. Ministry is not easy.
I had a dear friend and big sister, sit me down one day and give me a talking to. She shared her heart about young ministers and how we carry this sense of entitlement. How everything is so easily given to us, and because of that we neglect our own character and growth. Her words stung like a bee, and healed like a doctor. See, I realize that I have gifting, but I don’t want my gifting to take me somewhere that my character can’t keep me. I want to be found faithful.
This is why I want to know what happened to Demas. How could you walk with the APOSTLE PAUL and give up. I mean, Paul was healing the sick, cleansing the leper, and shaking whole regions for Jesus. Then it hit me, when Paul talked about Demas forsaking him, Paul was in jail. Maybe Demas couldn’t handle the disappointment that comes with doing the work of Christ. There are times, when things don’t work out how we expect them to work out. I’ll never forget feeling like a failure when I invited this huge guest speaker, and rented out this big hall to host a powerful ministry event. We expected thousands to come, but only a handful of people showed up. I remember feeling disappointed because I had great expectations in the ministry, and my heart was not solidly rooted in Jesus, and Him alone.
So I write this blog to speak to our “inner-Demas.” That little guy inside of us that wants to give up when things don’t work out. The guy in us that only wants good times, and never wants to go through the bad times.That voice inside that wants us to compromise, compare, and fills our hearts with impure motives. If you sign up for ministry, know that we’re signing up for the long haul and that we’re in this to win this. Paul exclaimed that he had been shipwrecked, beaten, and everything else, and still he managed to count it all joy. Why? Because his eyes were fixed on Jesus and NOT the ministry.
You’ve got a choice young ministers. Either you can be like Demas who left when times got tough. Or you can stick it out and be like Paul who wouldn’t let hard times keep him down.
I pray you stay encouraged. I believe in you!
About The Author:
Pastor Del Augusta is the founder of The Collide, which is a para church ministry that seeks to birth revival in this generation through conferences, seminars, and spiritual gatherings.Born and raised in San Francisco, Del lost his mother at the age of four to death and was raised by his grandmother in a Pentecostal church in San Francisco. He accepted Christ as his savior at the age of 12 and began his ministry at 14.
For over a decade of ministry now, Del’s message has been marked with a humorous yet prophetic edge. Having travelled to over 10 countries preaching the gospel, Del’s desire is to see this generation come alive to Jesus in a sustainable way. Known for abruptness, Del believes that this generation is not waiting for more Sunday morning church services where we babysit the youth while the adults do their things. Del’s dream is to see churches awaken to the call to take over the world for Jesus without apology.