Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Two Do Your Will
Two Do Your Will
By Brenda Black
Sometimes folks see eye to eye; stand shoulder to shoulder, against all odds and antagonists. Once upon a time, such staunch loyalty existed between Gospel preachers Paul and Barnabas. When grace was forsaken, they teamed up to make certain grace was extended to the Gentiles.
“Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: 'Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.' This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.” (Acts 15:1-2)
“...After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: 'Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them. Just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.'” (Acts 15 6-11)
Together, Paul and Barnabas penned the Good News letter that delivered encouraging words of grace, along with attainable guidelines for the benefit of the Gentile believers.
When God unites, He empowers with wisdom and purpose. Paul's and Barnabas' concerted perspective prospered the church through unselfish and calculated thought, a clear-cut vision and immediate action that inspired motivation.
Often folks see eye to eye and God gets glorified. Other times people go toe to toe and nothing but separation will bring resolution.
“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.' Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.” (Acts 15:36-41)
When God divides, He just may enlarge the kingdom. The severance of Paul and Barnabas doubled the Gospel effort. Mark and Silas were added to the team. And Cyprus got a Barnabas sermon out of the deal.
Barnabas the encourager. Paul the wise one. And still they couldn't see everything alike. But they each loved the Lord. Both were saved by grace. Two men, torn apart by differences, yet used by God by design. The very notion that both were right stands to reason.
Differences don't necessarily sift to right and wrong exclusively. Sometimes the chasm is the best route to divide and conquer for the cause of Christ. Two wrongs never make a right. But two rights can turn the world right side up!