36 Some time later Paul spoke to Barnabas. “Let’s go back to all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord,” he said. “Let’s visit the believers and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them. 38 But Paul didn’t think it was wise to take him. Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia. He hadn’t continued with them in their work. 39 Barnabas and Paul strongly disagreed with each other. So they went their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas. The believers asked the Lord to give his grace to Paul and Silas as they went. 41 Paul traveled through Syria and Cilicia. He gave strength to the churches there.
On the surface what happened here may look like a negative thing. Paul and Barnabas had been
a great team and had great impact in proclaiming the Gospel together. Now they are in disagreement – so much so that they decide to go separate ways.
he end, however, this did not turn out to be a negative thing. In fact it meant that they were able to each head off to spread the Gospel in two different areas – multiplication!
It’s easy to take your own sense of what God has called you to do and think that it’s the only way that it should be done. But here we see that diversity of opinion can result in a positive outcome.
It’s good to see that the separation between Paul and Barnabas did not result in long term animosity, since we read in 2 Timothy 4:11 that Paul sends a friendly greeting to Mark and says that Mark has been a great blessing to him.
Sometimes we partner with people for a season, and then God leads us in a different direction. We need to be free to release each other to what God has called us to, and recognise when the season of partnership is ending. To part well and bless another person as they head off in a new direction is a powerful thing to do.
God help me to recognise who and what You have called me to in this season of my life and to partner well with others. Help me to value diversity and to graciously release others to do things differently to me.
Written by Shelley Witt