Today's reading begins with an argument. Paul and Barnabas, two pillars of this new church, had such a sharp disagreement over John Mark that they parted company.
Paul seems to have been concerned with being able to rely on John Mark. Remember that Paul was a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. This is a very structured background, almost inflexible. Remember also that Paul was Saul the persecutor of the Christians before his encounter on the road to Damascus. I imagine that his rigid background helped to make him somewhat rigid in his new-found faith as well.
Barnabas seems to have been concerned about mentoring John Mark. Barnabas' name means son of encouragement. And it looks like he is the encourager wherever he goes. He was sent by the Holy Spirit to encourage Paul on the first journey.
But look at the result of this dissension. Paul goes one way, taking Silas with him. Barnabas goes a different direction, taking John Mark with him. We started with two missionaries. Now we have four. God always has a plan
Then Paul and Silas take Timothy under their wing, and he joins their company for the remainder of the journey. Here is another young man being mentored by his elders.
They find Lydia on this journey, and she opens her home to Paul and Silas. They free the slave girl from the fortune-telling spirit and are beaten and thrown into jail for their efforts. When they are freed, they return to Lydia's house.
The community of the church is all about relationships and finding and encouraging one another. It is about tending one another's wounds and growing in the Lord. It is about reconciliation and interdependence.
Knit us together as Your family. Help us to move through disagreements into interdependence upon one another. Help us to be patient with each other and less demanding of our brothers and sisters, extending to them Your grace for we have none of our own.
In Jesus' most precious name.