If you spend time reading from the Acts of the Apostles, you will come across a comfortable word combination in chapters 13-15; Paul and Barnabas.
You don ‘t have to take my word on this. You will find “Paul and Barnabas” mentioned in Acts 13:3, 13:42, 13:50, 14:1, 14:2, 15:2, 15:22, 15:25 and 15:35. Their names are linked and they seem inseparable. That is until we read a story starting in Acts 15:36:
After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Come, let us return and visit the believers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work. The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
As “Paul and Barnabas” considered a second mission trip, they had a disagreement on whether or not to take John Mark with them. “And the disagreement became so sharp that they parted company.” Barnabas took Mark with him, while Paul took Silas, and they each headed out to preach the gospel.
They (Paul and Barnabas) disagreed, and yet each stayed faithful to their calling. More importantly to me; they disagreed, and each one remained a Christian.
Too often in our time, in churches of Jesus, I have seen a disagreement that leads to people going their separate ways, and the parting shot is a claim that “I can’t continue to be around so-and-so. They’re not a Christian.”
It’s not fun to part company. Sometimes, however, Christians can disagree agreeably and separate still in the spirit of Christ.
Dear God, let my relationship with you influence my relationships with others. Let me focus on my own faith, and not challenge the motives or faith of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.