One of our greatest sources of pain in life is when we are having a hard time seeing eye to eye with a dear friend. It is hard to imagine two closer friends than Paul and Barnabas. They had been through the highest highs and the lowest lows together. On top of that, they were both incredibly godly men, so it seems unimaginable that they would ever disagree about something so sharply that they would need to go their separate ways. But, that is precisely what we have read today. They couldn’t agree on how to handle John Mark, and so they conducted two separate missionary journeys rather than one together. I think the reason that they had such a hard time seeing eye to eye about John Mark is that they were both making valid arguments. Paul was arguing for accountability and Barnabas was arguing for second chances. Those are both important aspects of the Christian life.
I don’t want to wrap this episode up in a neat little package, but I think it teaches us that sometimes disagreements come from the most unlikely places. We are prepared for disagreements with certain people, but not with close and dear friends in Christ. I think this account is instructing us to not be surprised when a close friend sees a situation very differently from us and is doing so because of her commitment to God and His Word. Ultimately … God will work it out in the end. We need to ultimately rely upon that.