KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 15:39 “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so, Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;”
In this verse a very distasteful event occurred between these two wonderful missionaries. This was a problem emanating or coming out of the different temperamental traits in these two gentlemen.
After Paul had suggested that they go back to every city where they had preached and raised the brethren, Barnabas suggested that they added John Mark to their team. Apostle Paul said no, for John Mark cannot be trusted. He said when they were in Pamphylia, he (John Mark) deserted them from continuing with the work (Acts 13:13). Barnabas insisted that Mark could be beneficial to them so he must come along. Paul who was predominantly choleric would not take any person who was not ready to endure challenges and would not be faithful. Was it true that John Mark would have failed this second time round? Couldn’t Apostle Paul had forgiven his earlier mistake and taken him along?
Barnabas who is called the son of consolation, a builder of the weak, with his phlegmatic traits was softer with John Mark and felt he needed to be given a second chance. Paul would not take any such views. Our key scripture says the contention was so sharp that this amazing missionary team was divided, Paul went with Silas, while Barnabas went with John Mark.
Many splits that occur in certain ministries proceed from human and temperamental differences like it occurred between Paul and Barnabas. In such moment’s parties take entrenched positions and are not ready to give up their grounds. The unfortunate aspect is when they get personal and start attacking each other with harsh words. They have entered into the flesh and their actions on many occasions break the faith and confidence of some of the followers.
There are other ministerial splits that proceed purely from carnal motivations. Financial consideration and anticipation is one of the major causes. To some people it is all out of pride, a desire to obtain some title. These things are very unfortunate. Let all things be done orderly and to the glory of God.
One may ask, can the Lord allow a split to achieve his purpose.? Please it is not every negative occurrence that is of the evil one. What would have happened to the church of God in the dark ages if the informers had not come to the scene? Men like Martin Luther, The Wesley brothers, Tyndale etc. Anything done out of selfish motive, and arrogance cannot be of the Lord.
Father I pray for the church of God to allow the Spirit to lead in all things. I pray that children of God will continue to be united against our arch enemy, till we see his kingdom destroyed. In Jesus name I have prayed.
Ephesians 4:31-32 ” Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Romans 8:28 ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”