Thursday, December 20, 2018

Parting Company over Disagreements

Today's Reading:
Joshua 9:3-10:43
Acts 15:36-16:15
Psalm 63:1-11
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Focus Verses: Acts 15:36-41
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement about John Mark. Paul was disappointed with John Mark, because of his failure with them in Pamphylia, and didn't want to risk the same thing happening again. Barnabas, however, wanted to give John Mark another chance. This should not have surprised Paul, since it was Barnabas who had stood up for him in the early days of his own Christian faith when none of the other disciples wanted to give him a chance.

The disagreement between Paul and Barnabas was so sharp they decided to part company and go their separate ways. It seemed like the only way they could both do what they each believed needed to be done. Paul needed to pursue his apostolic priority and Barnabas needed to pursue his pastoral priority.

Response and Action:
Christians can and sometimes need to disagree with each other. People who work well together in one season may need to part ways in the next. Priorities and perspectives can change. It is important to be gracious and humble about such disagreements. Each of us needs to seek God's guidance and follow it with integrity. We must also grant others the freedom and respect they need to do the same.

O God, help me to live in peace and harmony with others. Help me to be gracious when disagreements arise. Help me to graciously stand my ground and live within my convictions even if it means a parting of the ways with others. As I seek to draw near to you, help me to grow closer to others who seek to draw near to you. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Proverbs 13:10
"Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."

Basic Christian Leadership: Biblical Models of Church, Gospel And Ministry
by John Stott

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