We should ‘NOT’ hold GRUDGES when we DISAGREE: Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15:37-41)
The above passage marks the beginning of the second missionary tour of Paul and Barnabas, and their entire journey is recorded in Acts 15:36–18:22. This journey was undertaken for the prime purpose of revisiting the Churches where these brethren had previously labored, and thus shows the zeal with which these apostles watched for the welfare of the congregations that they had founded. However, they disagreed on taking John Mark along with them this time!
John Mark was the son of Mary, who owned a house in Jerusalem where the church often prayed (Acts 12:12–17), and was the cousin of Barnabas (Acts 4:36–37; Col. 4:10). Peter referred to Mark as his “son” (1 Pet. 5:13). However, Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary journey due to certain unknown reasons, and scripture doesn't tell us why Mark made the decision to go home. But Mark’s return didn't disqualify him from the faith or diminish his spirituality, no matter how strongly Paul felt about it!
Even though both Paul and Barnabas were spiritual men full of the Holy Spirit, yet they disagreed over the issue of Mark. Barnabas was determined to take Mark along with them since he was more people-oriented and due to the fact that Mark was his cousin. In this case Barnabas was right and God used the disagreement to make two missionary outreaches instead of only one. Barnabas took Mark home with him to Cyprus where he nurtured him both personally and spiritually.
Thanks to Barnabas, Mark turned out to be a special gift to the early church. Barnabas was able to recover and rebuild the life of Mark whom Paul later referred to as one whom he appreciated (Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11). He became a valued associate of Peter and probably traveled with him to Rome, where tradition holds that he composed the Gospel bearing his name by writing down Peter’s memories of Jesus’ life and teaching. With time and the encouragement of Barnabas, Mark developed into one of the key leaders of the early church. Early church tradition says that he was the first evangelist to Alexandria-Egypt, and the first bishop of that city!
It is interesting to note that even though Paul and Barnabas disagreed over the issue of Mark, their separation was friendly (see 1 Cor. 9:6; Philemon 24), and they did not hold any grudges against each other. Rather, they decided to part ways in the ministry as they faithfully served God earnestly in their own ways. Similarly, there are times when Christians will not agree on certain aspects of ministry. Perhaps the best course of action in some of those situations is to work separately if that is the will of God. Let us know that God can use these adverse situations for good by expanding His kingdom!