Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them. (Acts 15:37)

SPRING IS A DELIGHT! Weekly we discover new flowers popping up in yards and gardens in our neighborhoods. Crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths, irises, and peonies are favorites. They greet us each year after the final snow and first warm days, and what a blessing they are. Once summer is in full swing, dozens of annuals fill our vision throughout the season. Then, when the season is about to close, the late bloomers arrive: asters, black-eyed susans, and chrysanthemums take us into fall.

Late bloomers are not isolated to the plant world. And John Mark was one such human late bloomer. He caused controversy between Paul and Barnabas. His unreliable ways caused Paul to want to leave him behind during their second journey, but Barnabas, ever the encourager, insisted he come along. One missionary team became two. Paul and Silas traveled together, while Barnabas worked with Mark.

Barnabas did work with Mark, so that in time Mark learned from his mistakes and matured into a valuable helper for three of the greatest early missionaries. Many of us have been late bloomers or known one. Those who require more time or care shouldn’t be counted out. Barnabas knew this, and he knew his investment in Mark would reap rewards.

I love peonies, but would hate to face winter without first enjoying the lush gold, burgundy, and purple blankets my mums provide. You?

Identify the late bloomers in your life, and be an encourager to them.

Hally Franz is a former high school guidance counselor turned stay-at-home mom. She enjoys being a 4-H leader, church secretary, book club member, and traveler.