“Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,…”
Acts 15:39 (NIV)
The great apostle Paul owed everything to Barnabas, humanly speaking. Barnabas was the person in Jerusalem to risk his fine reputation on Paul.
No one believed Paul (Saul) when he came to Jerusalem and claimed to have been converted (Acts 9:26-28). However, Barnabas saw something in Paul that the other leaders missed. He listened to Paul’s story and then took Paul by the hand and brought him to the leaders and explained his story.
All went well for the new preacher Paul until some Grecian Jews sought to kill him (Acts 9:29). The Christian leaders secretly led Paul out of town and got him safely off to his home town of Tarsus (Acts 9:30).
For a time Paul was out of the picture while Barnabas continued to do a great work—first in Jerusalem and then in Antioch (Acts 11:22-24). After a time of prosperous ministry in Antioch, Barnabas felt led to bring Paul back onto center stage in ministry and went to Tarsus to bring him to Antioch.
Barnabas and Paul did a fine piece of work on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-14:26). Then when it came time for the second journey Paul and Barnabas quarrelled over whether or not to take John Mark with them. John Mark was a cousin to Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) and had started with Barnabas and Paul on the first journey. However, John Mark quit when the going got tough.
Paul did not wish a second disappointment but Barnabas wished to give the young man a second chance. Neither of them budged from their position and so they parted company and there is no record of them meeting again.
Barnabas saw in John Mark what Paul did not. In death, Paul would call for Mark the man he had spurned in life (2 Timothy 4:11). It would take Barnabas years to make a great man of Mark but he would not desert Mark to continue with Paul.
Barnabas must have suffered over the loss of his disciple Paul but he went on to create new memories by shaping Mark for ministry just as he had done with Paul.
Do you see anything of yourself in this story? Have you been rejected from ministry in a church as Mark was? Perhaps you have not had your work contract renewed and you are looking to find work. Possibly you have had your marriage partner leave you for someone else. You need to do what Barnabas and Mark did and create new memories.
Barnabas did not seem to waste time licking his wounds after the fight with Paul. He soon took Mark and sailed for Cyprus. Scripture is silent about how Barnabas trained Mark into such a fine minister who wrote a Gospel and gained a reputation of being the man to call for in your hour of death.
Let go of the pain of your past and determine, as Barnabas and Mark did, to go forward in service for the Lord. If you take the first step forward to create new memories, the Lord will come alongside and you shall see blessing again.