Paul and Barnabas stayed on in Antioch, teaching and preaching the Word of God. But they weren’t alone. There were a number of teachers and preachers at that time in Antioch. After 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.’


Barnabas 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. 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.” Acts 15:35-41 (MSG)



Paul and Barnabas were travel companions while spreading the Gospel message. Yet, even though they had the same message, they didn’t agree on everything. Paul knew firsthand the struggles and hardships of carrying the Gospel message to the world. He experienced beatings, imprisonments, and trials over his ministry. He know the grit that was required to keep going. Paul and Barnabas had a mentee, John Mark, whom they were raising up in the ministry. Yet, John Mark had a track record for quitting. As Paul and Barnabas left Antioch, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark, but Paul refused. Their disagreement was so severe they went their separate ways. However, what seemed to be a breaking of a friendship was actually God multiplying and distributing their efforts. By Paul and Barnabas traveling two different ways, they would reach more people in less time.


Peace is beneficial to our lives and relationships. However, conflict is not something we can avoid. We will come across people with whom we disagree, and we have to choose how we respond. Sometimes disagreements are not resolvable, but if conducted in an appropriate manner, it can serve to catapult you in a new direction. God can use everything in our lives to accomplish His purposes. Paul and Barnabas may have wanted to travel together, but there were benefits from their separation. Barnabas was going to help John Mark, more people would be reached, and more ground would be traveled in less time. In Acts 16, it tells us about Paul having a dream to go to Macedonia, which was a further redirection of his original travel plans. How does all this relate to us? It shows us that God uses us when we are moving even if its not perfect. God doesn’t need you to have perfect relationships, a five year plan, and a fully funded 401K to love on people, mentor someone struggling, or change directions in your life. Your life doesn’t have to be conflict free either. He simply requires us to be willing to move even if its messy getting where we are going. He can take care of the rest.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.

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