Acts 15:22-41; Judges 1; Job 33
It is half-jokingly said of Baptists that the main way we start new churches is through a church split. That is, of course, a sad commentary. Unfortunately, it’s a part of Christian history even from the beginning. Once the issue of Gentiles becoming Christians had been dealt with and people in Antioch restored, Paul told Barnabas that they needed to go on the road again visiting and strengthening the churches they had worked with earlier. Barnabas agreed, but then the fight began. Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark along with them again. Paul was dead set against it because John Mark had deserted them before. “Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.” (Acts 15:39-40) Barnabas, always the encourager, brought John Mark back into ministry. Paul, always a bit headstrong, didn’t like it and went a different way with a prophet named Silas. It’s sad, but it took a disagreement to get that second missionary team out and moving. Wouldn’t it have been better if they had prayed and decided that God wanted two teams to go? Still, although the Bible doesn’t tell us what happened with Barnabas and Mark, we can be sure that they spread the gospel as they went. As we work together in our churches, we must always look for opportunities to create new ministries and churches. How much stronger will they be if, bathed with prayer, we get them started in a show of unity? How much more of a witness will it be if they start from positive reasons and not from negative reasons? We can’t grow complacent in our churches or God’s work. We must move forward and look for opportunities to reach others.
Dear Lord, give me wisdom and guidance as I seek to serve You. Let me always keep my spirit in tune with Yours and be ready to respond to Your leadership and calling in my life.