When will we ever learn that sometimes we must depart to prevent division?
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;
Our Text for Today is part of a scenario around the parting of Paul and Barnabas. They did not depart from one another over doctrine. It was a purely human issue of personal perception. It was not a matter of judging one another or another person. It was the fact that Barnabas personally perceived that Mark would be beneficial to the ministry, while Paul personally perceived that he would not. And because they could not come to an agreement on the matter, they departed from one another without causing division.
- There are some things of note we should consider here.
- They were not disputing over doctrine.
- They were not in strife against one another.
- Their individual ministries were not dependent upon each other.
- They realized their ministries were dependent upon the Lord and His anointing.
- They understood that obedience to and compliance with the Word of God was paramount.
And there was one more thing they realized. If you cannot come into agreement with someone, and the contention about the disagreement becomes sharp, don’t try to confess your way through it, pray your way through it, fast your way through it, counsel your way through it, or compromise your way through it. if the disagreement becomes sharp, there is one thing that needs to be done. Separate from one another before disagreement become strife. When disagreement becomes strife, my friend, everything else goes into destruction mode, and is made prey of the enemy. Remember, departure does not mean division when departure precedes division. If departure follows division, it really doesn’t matter. The strife has already entered in and the damage has been done.
Please note here, I am not writing about avoiding, running from, or living in fear of difference of opinions. Don’t let choices over what’s for supper break up the home. Don’t let decisions on church décor become strife in the congregation. Sadly, there are far too many splits in churches, between friends, in homes, and in business that arise from matters of preference, not matters of principle. This should not be. The Word of God should set the course. The entrance of the Word of God does not shine its light on where you WANT to go, but on the path you SHOULD take. God knows who you are, your make-up, and your giftings. Avoid the strife. Choose to walk in the path God lights for you. It’s amazing how two different ministry paths can come together when Father has lit both paths. And He did so with Paul and Barnabas when Paul’s perception changed. My friend, that will surely happen. Perceptions change, and if one’s path is well lit, the outcome will be better.
Manna for Today – Acts 15:36-41; Romans 12:18; Amos 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:24-26