“Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.’ Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so, Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches” (Acts 15:36-41).
It’s bound to happen from time to time. Two brethren, or more, sometimes just can’t agree on certain things. In these cases, what has to happen? Does everyone just fold their arms and glare at one another while God’s work goes undone? It happens a lot more than you might think. Or, worse, two members bicker so much that not only does the work cease, but so does unity for the congregation. People, invariably, will choose sides based on personalities when doctrine isn’t at stake. Sadly, even when doctrine is at stake people choose sides based on feelings. That can’t happen.
We can’t let Satan enter in our lives when we are at an impasse with others. We must get over ourselves and do the best we can to carry on. It takes swallowing our pride at times. I suppose Paul could have demanded that Barnabas go with him and leave John Mark at home. Instead, two mission trips were gained from a tense situation instead of one. Don’t you know the devil hated that? He tried to drive a wedge between them and they used the situation for good. Why can’t we do that brethren? We can and must!
The work for helping others find the salvation they need and the sacrifice Jesus provided is too important to be defeated or made vain by continued bickering. There comes a point that the parties involved must see the big picture. God needs us for His work. There are people dying everyday who never knew the Lord. Let that not happen because of pettiness or pride on our part!
The next time we find ourselves in this situation, let’s yield to others if we can, without sacrificing doing what is right by the Bible. Let us look to the example of Paul and Barnabas. At some point in their argument, they realized God’s work couldn’t wait. Remember our mission brethren!
Clarendon church of Christ