Friday, November 27, 2009

Conflict among missionaries

Conflict among missionaries?

No way! They are filled with the Holy Spirit! They have given their lives to promote God's kingdom and his character. THEY have conflict?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact they do. Conflict among missionaries is the single most common reason why a missionary returns to his native land. The reasons are many.

In today's story it is performance vs. grace...

36After a few days of this, Paul said to Barnabas, "Let's go back and visit all our friends in each of the towns where we preached the Word of God. Let's see how they're doing."
37 -41Barnabas wanted to take John along, the John nicknamed Mark. But Paul wouldn't have him; he wasn't about to take along a quitter who, as soon as the going got tough, had jumped ship on them in Pamphylia."

Do you remember John Mark? Probably not. He was just casually mentioned as an add on to their first trip together. He quit long before the journey was over, and went back home.

Why did he quit? Was he immature? Was he not really called? It may be that the upper room was in his home where the disciples had the last supper. Does that mean he was rich and pampered? Were the rigors of travel too hard for him? Did he not get along with Paul? Paul was a hard head. Definately a "my way or the highway" kind of guy. Did he decide the highway it was, then?

Regardless, what to do about him became a serious contention between gentle Barnabas and fiery Paul.

"Tempers flared, and they ended up going their separate ways: Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus; Paul chose Silas and, offered up by their friends to the grace of the Master, went to Syria and Cilicia to build up muscle and sinew in those congregations. "

Who was right?

Who was wrong?

It is interesting to note that God used these men in spite of themselves. There ended up being two missionary teams instead of one.

It might give you odd comfort to know the great apostle Paul wasn't perfect.

Neither are you!

So let's drop all pretenses and be real with each other...


Ellery said...

Pretty Amazing. Both Barnabas and Paul were set apart by the Holy Spirit, yet remained human. I like to think that Without Barnabas giving Mark a second chance Paul would not have found him "Useful" late on.

Ellery said...

Small world. I went to college in Kirkland(1992-1996). Proposed and married my wife of 15 years there and miss it.