And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
After experiencing incredible ministry together Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement about John Mark. He had abandoned them on an early trip together. Barnabas sided with grace and thought he should get another chance. Paul sided with truth and stood his ground refusing to take him because of his past behavior. Their disagreement was strong and neither budged. With the mission of the great commission urgently calling them to go they decided to split up. Barnabas took John Mark and Paul took Silas. Though they separated God continued using both of them to strengthen the churches.
Drama isn’t just a 21st century issue. Traced all the way back to the very beginning of the church there was drama. People disagree and sometimes they disagree strongly. Good people disagree. Heroes of the faith disagree. This shouldn’t wreck our faith or cause us to be deeply discouraged. Sometimes it happens and we should be willing to agree to disagree for the sake of the mission.
A few things…
- People can have a different perspective. That’s ok. I don’t have to hate people that disagree with me. I can actually love people that disagree strongly with me. The goal isn’t for my view or position to win. The goal is the Great Commission. I can’t afford to forget that.
- People matter, even if they have messed up. John Mark was not useless because of his past failure. His past failure didn’t define him and we find out later that he was restored back to Paul and was of great use for the kingdom.
- Thank God for people like Barnabas. He was an encourager. He saw the best in people. He was an optimist. Every local church needs men and women like that. Sometimes the optimism can get annoying in the face of extreme reality but God gives people the gift of encouragement. Those people should be cherished in life and ministry.
- Mission first. Nothing should get in the way of making disciples, planting churches and strengthen those churches. NOTHING!
Father, thank you for the reminder that drama is par for the course. That encouraging people give life to the local church and no disagreement should trump the mission.