“Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica.”
— 2 Timothy 4:10
It was Super Bowl XXVII and millions were watching. Dallas defensive lineman Leon Lett picked up a fumble and rumbled toward the end zone. It was sure to be his greatest moment in football.
But as he confidently slowed his 300-pound frame at the one-yard line and victoriously raised the ball in the air, Buffalo’s Don Beebe took advantage of Lett’s early celebration and batted the ball out of his hand. Instead of his most glorious moment, it became Lett’s most embarrassing.
Demas knew that feeling. He traveled extensively with the great apostle Paul. Luke and he were with Paul when he wrote to the Colossians (Colossians 4:14). Paul concluded his letter to Philemon with these salutations: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you, as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow laborers” (Philemon 23-24).
Demas was in pretty good company, but something happened. Demas failed Paul right at the end. Paul said, “Demas ran away, he fumbled the ball, he deserted for the love of the world.”
Demas will be forever remembered as a deserter. We don’t know specifically what caused him to abandon Paul and the ministry. It may have been something very legitimate…in his mind. Whatever it was, he loved it more that he loved serving God.
How sad when a faithful teacher, usher, deacon, worship team member, or pastor ruins a lifetime of service by failing right at the end. Don’t become a Demas. Hold onto the ball until you cross the goal line. “There remains a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9).
It’s work now, rest then. Don’t get them backwards!