Read: Acts 9, 13-15; Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11
Differences of opinions occur among godly leaders and can lead to broken relationships. Paul and Barnabas had become close friends and colleagues. Barnabas was one of the first people to embrace Paul as a new believer. Then Barnabas called Paul to serve with him at Antioch. That followed with the Holy Spirit calling them to travel throughout Asia Minor sharing the gospel among the Jews and Gentiles. For three years they faithfully proclaimed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but endured great hostility and opposition to their message of hope and life. Together they confronted the circumcision conflict, defending salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.
When the time came for the second missionary journey, both men wanted to revisit the churches that had been established on the first journey, to strengthen their faith and resolve in Christ. However, Paul and Barnabas had a heated argument about taking John Mark on this journey. Paul had lost confidence in Mark because he had quit during the first trip. Barnabas was willing to extend grace to Mark just as he had extended grace to Paul as a new believer. Nonetheless, the conflict resulted in Paul and Barnabas separating.
The good news is the love of Christ ultimately prevailed in this situation as Paul and Mark were reconciled with Mark becoming a loyal and valuable partner in Paul’s ministry.
PRAYER PROMPT: Oh gracious Lord, when we have conflict and division, may the love of Christ rule our hearts and mouths. May we be quick to forgive and extend grace as Christ has done for us. Amen.
Kevin Carrothers serves as director of missions for Salem South Baptist Association and is concluding his second one-year term as IBSA President.