“They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company” (Acts 15:39).
As mentioned in our last visit I raised the question of whether Barnabas and Paul were ready to launch out on their second missionary journey.
If you read Acts 15:36-41 you noted that Paul suggested to Barnabas that they should go and visit the churches they planted to see how they were doing. Barnabas agreed, but wanted to bring along John Mark, his younger cousin. He had deserted the team on the first missionary journey so Paul was convinced that taking him along was not a good idea.
They had such a strong disagreement over this that they broke up their team and each went their separate ways. As described in Acts this was a major blow-up. Barnabas took Mark and went to Cyprus and Paul enlisted Silas to join his team. Spiritual leaders are not immune to intense disagreement.
Had they gone to the church leaders in Antioch and asked for their input they might have come to the same conclusion – Barnabas mentoring Mark and Paul taking Silas to follow up on the churches he and Barnabas had planted. But the strong feelings expressed in a heated way with each going their own way could have been averted. Had they followed the pattern exemplified in the first church council in Jerusalem, described in Acts 15, things would have ended more peacefully.
It’s always good to remember what Paul wrote in 2nd Timothy 2:13: though we at times are unfaithful, God “will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” Also in 1st Thessalonians 5:24, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” God doesn’t give up on you just because you didn’t do things right once.
“If you feel disqualified or rejected, take heart. God isn’t through with you yet.”