Paul and Barnabas Disagree
36 After some days, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s travel to the regions where we’ve preached the word of God and see how the believers are getting along.”
37 Barnabas wished to take Mark (also known as John) along with them, 38 but Paul disagreed. He didn’t think it was proper to take the one who had deserted them in south-central Turkey,[a] leaving them to do their missionary work without him. 39 It became a heated argument between them, a disagreement so sharp that they parted from each other. Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus. 40 And Paul chose Silas as his partner.
After the believers prayed for them, asking for the Lord’s favor on their ministry, they left 41 for Syria and southeast Turkey. Every place they went, they left the church stronger and more encouraged than before.
In our passage today, Paul and Barnabas come to a standoff when making decisions about their second missionary venture. Paul does not trust John Mark (Barnabas’ cousin) to stay with them during the tough times, because he left them on their first missionary journey. This is not a matter of who is right or wrong; this is a personality and lack of trust issue and Paul is not willing to chance a rerun. Yes, my friends, sometimes Christians disagree. And, yes, too many times it is because our prideful flesh gets the best of us.
It is during these times we must stay the course in love, because only then can the problems we face be solved in a way that honors God and one another. Demonizing another person is NEVER birthed of the Spirit of God. True, God used this disagreement and division for good, because instead of one missionary team going out and spreading the Good News, now there are two teams. However, whether or not we are involved in ministry, God holds us accountable when we mistreat or diminish other brothers or sisters. Everyone in time answers to God for how we love the spiritual family.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being so loving and understanding when our flesh tries to get the best of us. Help us, Lord, to remember our call to deeply and sacrificially love one another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.