Disagreements and Disappointments
7/28 Reading Portions: Judg 11:12-40; Acts 15; Jer 24; Mark 10
And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Acts 15:39
Differences in perspectives arise, even among those who are as doctrinally likeminded as Paul and Barnabas. Paul wanted to strengthen the churches the Lord planted through their first missionary efforts (Acts 15:36); however, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark along with them (Acts 15:37). Since Mark quit their team in the middle of the first mission, Paul was adamantly opposed to his coming along in the second (Acts 15:38). Paul’s character, at that point, was one of speedy efficiency for the gospel’s sake, whereas Barnabas leaned toward soulful encouragement. Who was right, Paul or Barnabas? My answer: yes and amen! It was not a matter of right or wrong, but of eternal work. Sometimes, even the best of friends can have sharp disagreements; yet, the Holy Spirit uses who we are to carry out God’s will and advance Christ’s kingdom through the spreading of the gospel (Rom 8:28). Because of their disagreement, they parted ways and the work of Christ’s kingdom was multiplied. Churches were planted through Paul’s ministry and those already started were encouraged and strengthened through the ministry of Barnabas. Moreover, the training and encouragement Mark received by going with Barnabas proved to be an invaluable blessing much later in Paul’s ministry, as he says so to Timothy during his second Roman imprisonment (2 Tim 4:11).
When we live the eternal life in Christ, a life held captive by the cross, a life which walks by faith and not by sight, a life as surrendered to King Jesus as a sinner saved by grace is able, then by God’s grace, disagreements become eternal disbursements of the gospel and disappointments are opportunities to become desirous and useful things for the work of the ministry.
God puts eternal treasure in
Clay vessels, like we all;
And uses us where we have grown
Like Barnabas and Paul.
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