Text: Acts 15; Joshua 19-20)
A story that fascinates me is told in Acts 15. Paul and Barnabas, who had been tight as missionary partners, find themselves at odds. It is time to go out on mission, and Barnabas wants to take along a young protege, John Mark. You may recall that Barnabas seems to be gifted and called to build into the lives of newbies – he was Paul’s mentor and sponsor when Paul was a newbie. But Paul is a man of action and does not want the baggage of a “trainee” tagging along. The text says this:
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 (Acts 15:39-40)
The missionary team has now multiplied into two teams. Barnabas indeed trains John Mark (he writes the Gospel of Mark), and Paul ends up picking up Timothy as part of his team – the future pastor of the church at Ephesus. It is all good.
Now – here is the interesting part. Notice that there is no mention that the dispute was bad or involved sin. Their decision to not “resolve” their difference was in fact good and godly. The mission had changed and their partnership was over. It was time for en essential ending. This can be true for us at times as well. It is okay to part company (without anger or prejudice) when it just isn’t working. Sometimes an unresolved difference is actually part of God’s perfect plan.
in Him, Mike