8th February 2011

Good Ol’ Barnabas!

“Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work.”
Acts 15:37-38 NKJV

There are still more lessons for us to learn about this incident which led Paul and Barnabas to go their separate ways.

How come Barnabas, dear gentle Barnabas, was able to go against the very forcefully-expressed opinion of Paul concerning what seems a relatively unimportant matter? Take him; not to take him—was it worth the angst? The answer is that Barnabas recognised the promptings of the Holy Spirit in his deliberations and determination over this.

He saw clearly that the Holy Spirit wanted to give John Mark another try, had some future work for the young man to do. Some see nepotism lying at the back of Barnabas’ intransigence. John Mark was his nephew, the son of his sister, Mary (Acts 12:12, 25).

And it was that understanding that hardened Barnabas. Note, it was not on his own behalf, but on behalf of another. And he was so determined that this time he was willing to fall out with his forceful companion. Certainly he was not going to cave in on behalf of the young man. What a boss to have!

How would you have felt knowing that these two great men had fallen out over you? No doubt this strengthened the young man to try harder this time. Barnabas judged even at this early stage that John Mark was “profitable to the gospel” and was willing to invest in him.

No doubt John Mark learned more lessons from his mentor, Barnabas, while he was with him. But one certainly he learned was how to deal with difficult bosses. In time he worked again for Paul and Peter, both recorded as having fiery temperaments and uncompromising zeal.

Most merciful Father, thank you for yet another example from Barnabas. As young people we have to learn to get along with those in authority over us. It’s not always easy to do, but by doing so, we in turn learn how to deal profitably with the young when we grow older. In Jesus’ name we pray,

Study by John Stettaford

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