Once you've made a name for yourself in a certain field, people will give you opportunities to do that in other fields. Last week, a well-known football coach decided to sign a well-known player to play a position he has never played in a sport he hasn't played in for 10+ years...this move had lots of people talking (especially those who live in Florida). Today, I listened to a TV reporter question this and other moves that this coach has already made, adding "If he doesn't do well, he will end up right back on TV next year as an analyst!" Having to deal with people making comments about your job success could be enough to give a guy heart trouble, but I hope it all works out in the end. But what if it doesn't? What do you do when personnel moves don't work out well and ministry still has to keep moving?
In Acts 15, Paul dealt with this as he and Barnabas were traveling all over and tell people about Jesus - with incredible results. Then, things soured between them...how they handled it set the tone for how we should.
"Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let us go back and visit the believers 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 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 believers to the grace of The Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches." (Acts 15:36-41)
Reading this brings me to a few questions that we need to ask ourselves when we look to pray about and carry out ministry here:
1. Do we have the right people around us? Paul and Barnabas were the OG Apostles - everything good that was happening in the Gentile world for the Gospel was because of these two guys. They were the dynamic duo and no one could stop them...until they disagreed and didn't know how to work it out properly. The Bible doesn't really go into detail about that account, but can you imagine wanting to throw punches at the Apostle Paul because you disagree with him?!? Here's an idea...Pay attention to and listen to and pray for the people you have around you. They are serving with you, so do all you can to get along with them - so the Gospel can get out to those who need it.
Here's an idea...Pay attention to and listen to and pray for the people you have around you.
2. Are you going in the right direction? When they parted company, Paul went one way and Barnabas went another. Both of them stayed the course and did God's work where they went, so the big thing to consider is which direction does God want YOU to go in? God brought good out of this by multiplying ministry, but it was important that each one went where God sent them. If we are going to reach people for Jesus where we go, it's important that we are going where HE wants us to go.
3. Are people being strengthened by us? When Paul split from Barnabas, he went through two cities..."strengthening the churches". Please notice that he wasn't garnering support so people would see his side and defend his honor and follow him, hating those on the other side. Instead, Paul got right to work doing what he was called to do...strengthening churches. Once people came to Jesus, he knew there was an important next step for them to make: maturity. As you pray this week, pray for people to become stronger because of how we poured into them.