One of the most terrible feelings in all the world is that no one cares for us or wants to help us. Especially does this hurt if we have been a helper of others and have showed concern for all.
This was the case with the Apostle Paul. His three great missionary journeys were filled with self-sacrifice and hardship as he gave himself wholly in bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all, and in encouraging and helping others to be faithful. And yet, in 2 Timothy 4, he wrote, "At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!"
"No one took my part!" What sad words. If he had been an evil doer, we could understand that, but he had done no evil, only good. And in the fellowship of the saints, he had a right to expect someone to stand up for him, to "take his part."
But then, in verse 17, he says, "But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength ..." You are never alone if Jesus stands with you. There is probably a lesson for all of us here. We may be disappointed in mankind and even in the church; but we will never be disappointed in Jesus Christ. He will always take our part if we are faithful to Him.
Paul also writes, "All deserted me." Notice though, he did not quit the church or his Lord. He did not say that there was nothing to Christianity. He knew that people have a hard time practicing the teachings that they believe in. It is easy to desert, but it is hard to stand by and take a part in danger and persecution, possibly even in death.
The greatest lesson of all, however, is in Paul's next statement. He said, "May it not be charged against them!" He had no ill will or animosity toward any who had let him down. He had the same heart as our Lord had on the cross -- "Father, forgive them."
What a big person Paul was. How patient; how kind toward those around him. And even when they let him down, he did not feel sorry for himself, nor did he quit the Lord and the Lord's work, nor did he carry a grudge toward those Christians who wronged him. What a noble spirit! He truly had the mind of Christ.
The church needs more people like this today. We need to rise above petty differences. We need to stick with Christ no matter what others do. Remember, when "no one takes my part," Jesus always will!