Sunday, June 16, 2013

Loyalty or Grace?

[From April 10, 2013]

"But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia & had not accompanied them in the work." 
(Acts 15:38)

Which is stronger: loyalty or grace?  Paul & Barnabas debated this in the mission field.  We don't have a lot of details as to what transpired to cause this rift, but here's what we do know...
  1. John Mark had been part of Paul & Barnabas' ministry team.
  2. Something happened and John Mark left the team while in Pamphylia.
  3. Barnabas was ready now to welcome him back to the team.
  4. Paul refused.
  5. Paul & Barnabas split, taking separate teams into ministry.
The "nosey" part of me want to know more details about #2!  What happened?!?!  Was it that bad?  Was he fatally disloyal?  Does it reflect a serious character flaw in John Mark - one that would jeopardize future ministry endeavors?  Or was Paul simply holding a grudge, unwilling to forgive & extend grace?

I'm in no place to judge.  However, I tend to skew towards grace, and 2nd (3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.) chances.  On the one hand, the end result was that two teams went out to share the gospel.  Double the efforts, right?!  On the other hand, we never hear from Barnabas (or John Mark) again in scripture. 

So what IS greater?  Loyalty or grace?
Teach me, Lord... teach me.

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