The Winkle Watermelon Debate has been an unresolved issue in our marriage for years. How exactly do you eat it? Do you take my hubby’s neat and tidy route, pre-cutting the delectable fruit with a fork and knife, eliminating the mess? Or would you prefer my method: slice it, chomp into it with wild abandonment, and let the juices fly where they may? After forty plus years of marriage, some debates remain unresolved, we simply agree to disagree.
Disagreements, even among believers, are nothing new, but as we will learn today, those conflicts can be resolved in a calm, wise, and profitable way. Paul and Barnabas were travel companions on the first missionary journey set forth in the Book of Acts. Barnabas’ cousin, John Mark, accompanied them on this historic trip, an endeavor that would alter the course of Christianity. The journey would be tough, they were not well-received in every town, and they often suffered severe backlash for their faithfulness to the Gospel, nevertheless they were not deterred in their mission to spread the good news of Jesus to a heathen, Gentile world. John Mark, on the other hand, apparently could not handle the pressures of this arduous task; he abandoned the group midway through the journey, and “departed from them from Pamphylia.” He quit, packed up, returned home.
Paul and Barnabas completed their mission, reported back to the church at Antioch, and a second missionary endeavor was planned. It was then that the debate began. Barnabas, whose name means Son of Encouragement, “determined to take with them John,” willing to give him a second chance to catch the true vision of missions. Paul, however, was unwilling to take the risk of losing momentum by another desertion, and “thought it not good to take with them John.” As a result of the disagreement between these men of God, two separate missionary teams were formed, Paul choosing Silas as his new partner, Barnabas taking with him John Mark. The missionary work continued to flourish, souls were saved, the church of Christ grew. Paul would later admit that this young man was deserving of a second chance, “for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”
Sometimes we can agree to disagree in the spirit of love and humility. Being reconciled does not necessarily mean sharing the same point of view, but when we handle those disagreements in a loving way, supporting each other, laboring side-by-side, the work of Christ continues and our testimony before a needy world remains untarnished.
Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Lord, help me to strive for peace. Disagreements will arise, different methods, opposing views, but Your work needs to be accomplished in spite of those minor debates. Help us to be as Barnabas and Paul, focused on the task at hand even through our disagreements.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-964-650bfe4b86a3e' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=964&origin=_bimi.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-964-650bfe4b86a3e' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-964-650bfe4b86a3e' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>