For the purpose of this study we will be looking at Acts 15:35- through the end of the chapter.
We see something here that many people overlook. There is some contention between Paul and Barnabas. They are getting ready to move on and return to a city they had already visited, and Barnabas wants to take Mark along. Paul does not. As a result, the brothers depart and go their own way. Who is right here?
Let's look back to a previous situation. Mark had been taken along on another journey. This wasn't just a vacation. Paul, Barnabas, and the others with them, were going into some treacherous territory. Mark was taken along to minister as the one who organized everything. Well, we know by reading Acts 13:13 that Mark deserted when the going got tough. This was a scary situation. These men were not looked on favorably.
Now let's look at Paul and Barnabas. The word Barnabas means"The Encourager" and Barnabas was an encourager.When the battle got rough, Barnabas would come up along side someone, physically and spiritually, and encourage them. So, we can look at this text and see his character at work. He had a tenderness towards the down trodden. He wanted to give Mark another chance. He may have said," Hey brother, that's ok. We all make mistakes. Let's put this in the past and move forward." Barnabas knew that Mark loved the Lord and wanted to be of service. Barnabas encouraged him in a way that only he could. This was Barnabas, and when you think of it this way, Barnabas was right, wasn't he?
But, now we have Paul-a different character. He was a Truth Seeker,and he saw the reality of this situation. Can we visualize for a bit that when Barnabas said that he wanted to take Mark along, Paul raised his eyebrow in disbelief? He may have said, " What? Are you nuts?! Mark deserted us when we needed him. This is serious stuff we're doing here. Our lives are at stake. We have souls to save. We have a job to do, and we can't be messing around with someone who jumps ship when the going gets rough. How can we focus on the task if we have to worry about this guy?" And, when we think of it this way, Paul was right, wasn't he?
We see in studying the scriptures and observing life around us that God delights in wonderous variety. We all make up the body of Christ and have particular tasks to perform. But, when we allow those differences to cause strife, we find ourselves departing from one another as Paul, Barnabas, and Mark did. These men had the same motive, but came at it from different angles. Unfortunately, they allowed it to cause division. We can tell from the passage when it says that there was "sharp contention" between them, that this was not a minor disagreement. They couldn't find a way to compromise.
What might have been the solution?
Perhaps they could have agreed to take Mark along with someone, or more than one, that would...oh...be like the Vice President to the President! Someone that could step in and take over if Mark lost his backbone again.. Then, they could have said to Mark," That's ok, you gave it your best shot," and then sent him on his way with no harm done to the mission. And, there may have been other solutions.
So often, we are so caught up in our own perspective that we believe we are the only one who has the correct perspective, and guess what? Even Pauls warns us against this in Eph.15:31. We must be careful not to allow differences to divide kinship. Later on in Col.4:10 it is obvious that things have been resolved. And later still, when Paul's ministry was coming to an end, Paul sends a letter to Timothy, telling him to come quickly and bring Mark. But, many times christians allow these tensions to go unresolved.~~~~~~
Another page dealing with this matter dealing with this matter is Pick Your Battle. The message being from both pages is that whether we are a Paul,a Barnabas or a Mark, we are all part of the body of Christ. Our place is difference than another's. Our spiritual life is at a different level. But we all have the same goal and must never let our personal, character differences and "opinions" hold us or anyone back.
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