Stories

IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCE (Acts 15:36-40)

January 14, 2024

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“Hey, Barney! I was just thinking of something…”

 

“Ok, Paul. What?”

 

“You know we have been preaching all over the place for some time and we have made many converts to Christ…”

 

“Yeah, we have. I think we make an excellent Team together, if you ask me!”

 

“Yeah, we sure do. The Team was birthed by the Holy Spirit, remember? It has to be excellent!”

 

“Yes, Bro! But we digress: you were unto something…”

 

“Yeah! I think we should go back to those new converts. Let us go encourage and strengthen them in their new found faith…”

 

“You mean like a follow-up?”

 

“Yeah! They need to be followed up so they grow right. I don’t want to sow seeds that the devil would come snatch away!”

 

“I agree with you on this. When do you think we should head out and what’s the itinerary?”

 

“I will work on that, I’ll have to consider the best route to take. But you know this will take us about 4-6 months!”

 

“Woah! But why so long? We should be able to go round and be back in 2 months, Paul…”

 

“We won’t just see them and leave, my dear brother! We have to spend quality time with them in each town we enter. I want them to observe our lifestyle for a few days: maybe a week to know how they should live as Christians. We have a responsibility to teach them the right way to live by example…”

 

“Ok, makes sense! If we have to be away for so long, we will need to take an assistant along to help us on the trip with logistics and any issue that may arise.”

 

“True that! Indeed, we will need one. Do you have anyone in mind?”

 

“Yes. John Mark.”

 

“Seriously? Please tell me you’re joking! You’re joking, right?”

 

“No, I am serious. I want John Mark to go with us. He is familiar with the converts, he knows the terrain, he is Ministry Material!”

 

“Barney, I can’t believe this! Do you have amnesia or something? You KNOW John Mark! You are aware he abandoned us and ran away some months ago- how in the world would you see him as “Ministry Material”?

 

“Paul, calm down! John Mark IS Ministry Material. I am aware he abandoned his calling some months back, but like the Prodigal Son, he retraced his steps and came back to ask for forgiveness. We should stretch out a hand of fellowship to him and take him back, like the Prodigal Son’s dad did. He deserves a second chance and I think we should give him…”

 

“Nobody who puts his hands on the plough and looks back is worthy of the Kingdom, Barney. That was what Jesus said. John Mark has shown us his true character. We cannot afford to let him abandon us again! I will NOT agree with you on this!”

 

“Paul! Have you ever considered what Jesus would do in this situation? I am sure He would take John Mark back! He still accepted Peter back after he betrayed Him, remember?”

 

“I am not sure he has learned his lesson. The questions are many, Bro: why did he leave in the first place? What brought about his deserting us? Where was he all those months he was away? Was he with another Ministry? Did he get a secular job? Was he doing Ministry work solo? Why is he back- is it because the job he got was worse, or is he genuinely repented and is willing to carry the burden better now? I am simply looking out for us, Bro. I don’t want a repeat of what happened!”

 

“Well, I have forgiven him. I am willing to give him another chance as I am convinced he is genuinely remorseful!”

 

“Unfortunately, I am NOT convinced! I insist that John Mark is NOT Ministry Material. If he were, he would NEVER have abandoned us and run away. He is NOT committed to the cause; he is a hireling!”

 

“Paul, you are too rigid on this issue! To think you were once an unbeliever who Jesus was patient with. Why don’t you just extend same patience to John Mark?

 

“The problem with you is, you are too naive, Barney! You forgot I was an unbeliever when I was persecuting the Church. John Mark was not an unbeliever when he abandoned us! These are 2 different cases, please. I understand Human Nature. I understand people and their mannerisms. John Mark has proven to be an unreliable man. I cannot afford to trust him again until he proves he is trustworthy…”

 

“Can you hear yourself? How can he prove he is now trustworthy when you’re not willing to give him the opportunity to do so? That opportunity is what I ask we give him! Surely you must believe in second chances…”

 

“Ministry is too important to me to take such risks, Bro. If you feel strongly about giving him a second chance, you can go ahead and do just that: I honestly don’t have a problem with it.”

 

“I don’t understand, Paul. You just said you cannot afford to trust him again, now you’re saying I can go ahead and give him a second chance. How do I do that without you buying into it?”

 

“You can take him with you and I take someone else. We can part ways amicably Barney…”

 

“What? You want to break up The Team?”

 

“No: YOU are breaking up The Team! You’re the one insisting on something I am very strongly against. If you must be with John Mark, I can’t stop you. I think you 2 can work well with each other. I will find another young Christian probably Silas to pair up with. Ultimately, it’s for the spread of the Kingdom. 4 can do much more than 2.”

 

“The way you mentioned Silas so quickly, it seems you have been thinking of breaking up The Team for a while and you have seen him as a replacement for me!”

 

“I could say same about you, Barnabas. It seems to me you had decided to part ways with me and team up with John Mark!”

 

“No, Paul. Breaking up The Team was YOUR idea, not MINE!

 

 

“Whatever…”

 

 

 

Shalom,

 

Haruna Daniels

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