“…having loved this present world, [he] has deserted.” (2 Timothy 4:10)
When I read these words from the apostle, the sober statement in Paul’s word to Timothy is not that Demas had deserted him, but that he loved this present world.
There’s no mention of a particular thing in this present world he loved so much that took his attention off of being on mission with God, Paul just states that his love for the world is what made the way for his turning away.
There are many in the church concerned about people leaving the church today. Surveys are conducted, blogs are written, pod casts are recorded, sermons are given, money is spent and it appears the exiting continues.
Is it because we don’t understand the problem yet? Is it because we don’t change quick enough for the fast pace of our culture? Is it because of a million other reasons?
Maybe those who are leaving the church are in love with this present world.
When we try to keep those who love the world we have to give them things that they love about the world. When we attempt to attract the world on terms that the world demands we haven’t done anything to address the reason people are deserting; their love for the world.
I get that Paul must have been heart sick over Demas’ love for this present world. He’s mentioned two other times in Paul’s writings and both of the previous times he speaks of his ministry partnership. There’s no mention of Demas ever coming back to the Lord after this, he could have; we just don’t have that information. There is evidence of another who deserted Paul on a mission, John Mark, who does return to the gospel advancing work of the Lord’s work; by the grace of God may this happen more.
But for Demas, his love for this present world stands as a warning for all of us. This present world offers so much, promises what it can’t deliver, constantly upgrading, making us lovers of this present world causes us to grow impatient with God and His church.
(disclaimer: There are real doctrinal reasons to leave a church to gather with other Christians in an honest community of faith, this is not addressing that topic.)