36 After some time had passed, Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit the brothers in every town where we have preached the message of the Lord and see how they’re doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark. 38 But Paul did not think it appropriate to take along this man who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 There was such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus. 40 Then Paul chose Silas and departed, after being commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers. 41 He traveled through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
There was such a sharp disagreement that they parted company, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off to Cyprus.
Well, apparently the "Bible Guys," Paul and Barnabas, were actually REAL PEOPLE. In this passage, they vehemently disagreed about travelling companions. The Message Bible reports, "Tempers flared and they ended up going their own separate ways." (vs. 39) Barnabas took Mark and went to Cyprus. Paul chose Silas and went to Syria and Cilicia.
Now I don't know about you, but I chuckled a little bit over this interaction. Ha! We tend to think that all the "Bible Guys" had heavenly halos, ate chocolate covered 'manna bon-bons', and walked on water on a daily basis. But not so! They were real people who had personalities and preferences. They disagreed and had tempers. Sometimes they got so upset, their faces got red—they huffed and puffed, and didn't even want to travel together!
When Ed and I were newly married, we "bumped heads" on several issues. Many times, we would do whatever it took to state our "case" for whatever decision was at hand. We would raise our voices, use our body language, brows would furrow and emotions would flare. Often, we would reach an impasse and misery was the result. Neither of us wanted to "give in" to the issue at hand. Then someone told us there are times in relationships, when you can agree to disagree. Whew! That was a welcome word of knowledge! And the "agree to disagree" option became a staple in our marriage.
Apparently, Paul and Barnabas chose to do the same thing. They agreed to disagree, and probably accomplished twice what they would have accomplished together, as they went in two different directions to encourage the Body of Faith.
Perhaps we can learn from this. Maybe there are times in our lives, when we opt to "agree to disagree" so that twice as much might be accomplished for God's Glory. When children can witness their parents, making peace in situations, they themselves are more apt to deliver peace. Are you guilty of being so headstrong of your own personal opinions, that you cannot allow another viewpoint? I discovered early on in our marriage, that when Ed has an opposite opinion from mine, it is often a blessing. He is wise and has many interesting ways of looking at situations. I need to at least be open to hearing what he has to say. Many times, I am persuaded by him, to view a situation from another vantage point, and we are both better for the interaction. And he does the same to me.
I am actually relieved to know that "Bible Guys" were real people. It is an encouragement, to realize that Jesus' disciples were "desperately human" and in need of the Savior. It gives me hope to know that the human condition allows God's grace to rise up in me. I am desperate for the benefits that come from knowing Christ: Peace. Joy. Love. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Gentleness. All of these good gifts are available to us daily, praise God!
Do you agree to agree?
- In your relationships, are you flexible enough to agree to disagree?
- Can you recall a situation where you did not find the peace of agreement? Did you learn anything from that circumstance?
- Think of a present situation where you may want to consider the option of "peaceful disagreement."
- What might be an area in your life that causes you to be angry? Prayerfully seek to honor God in your anger. What adjustments can you make to "go in another direction" to accomplish twice as much with a peaceful attitude?