Acts 15:36-41 – “After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he was traveling through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” NASU
Those who have studied the Book of Acts will remember that this was not the only time the apostle Paul had a disagreement with another brother. We are told that he ‘withstood Peter to his face’ over what he considered hypocrisy and seems to have been correct. However, that did not end his relationship with Peter. In this account the split in the TEAM of Paul and Barnabas was so severe that Paul took another co-worker Silas and Barnabas took John Mark and separated. Their disagreement was not the foundational truth that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God but in how to walk out what they believed was their commission and purpose from the Lord.
I have some friends that I love and respect deeply who disagree with me on some aspects of how to accomplish what we believe to be our purpose from the Lord. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that because we think something that means it is the ‘only way’ or the ‘right way’ and anyone doing something different is riding 2nd Class on the Gospel Train. There was a time in my life that I was like that and very dogmatic about not only ‘what’ people should believe but ‘how’ they should walk out their purpose and ministry. I had a view and so completely believed that I had HEARD GOD that I could not fathom any other interpretation. The truth is I had HEARD GOD for myself but that did not mean that I had HEARD HIM for everyone else.
I have some dear Christian friends that regularly censure or criticize my involvement in the political discussions of our day. Oh, they don’t necessarily tell me that to my face but the things they say publicly and to others leaves little doubt that my involvement is, at least, part of the reason for the statements if not the reason. I take no exception to that because I know that they love God dearly and want nothing but the best for me and the Body of Christ and believe honestly that they are right and I am totally wrong. I am at peace with what I do and how I do it and believe that God has directed me to not only speak to people about their spiritual condition but the condition of man that is reflected in the out-workings of life that are demonstrated in politics. I believe that God has called me to be a ‘watchman on the walls’ both to sound the alarm spiritually and to warn of impending danger and evil in other areas of life.
What I am saying is that just because you do not agree with another brother or sister on how they perceive their path to walk out their purpose does not mean you have to alienate them or reject them. If we agree on the core foundational truth that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God most of the other things can be worked around. So, I encourage you to realize that while God has a specific plan for our lives He does not have a ‘one size fits all’ plan. He does not always give the specific details on exactly how to walk out what he directs so realize that each person is unique and how we walk out our ministry and purpose are likely going to be very different.
God bless you richly is my desire and prayer!