“Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.” (Acts 15:37-40, NIV)
Paul and Barnabas were a phenomenal team. Together, by the power of God, they had performed miracles, cheated death, and seen hundreds — if not thousands — of people come to faith in Jesus as a direct result of their faithfulness to God.
In today’s scripture, we read about the end of that great team because of a personal disagreement.
It is helpful to note that they did not disagree over money; they did not disagree over who was the best or the biggest. They did, however, disagree over whether to include in their work John Mark — who had deserted them.
They disagreed sharply — as competent people often do — but they did not prolong their disagreement. They agreed to disagree; and parted company with the blessing of the church as they proceeded in their respective tasks.
As disciples, remember that although we may sometimes disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we should never allow our disagreements to stand in the way of loving them without reservation.
In such situations, remember the adage: “In the essentials, unity. In the non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.” – Luther