Today’s selected reading continues in the scriptural account of the spiritual body of Jesus Christ which is the church as it was written by the beloved physician Luke in the book of Acts. More specially, today’s reading begins with the thirty-sixth verse of the fifteenth chapter and continues through to the fifteenth verse of the sixteenth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the beloved physician Luke transitioning away from that which took place within the city of Antioch, as well as that which took place in the city of Jerusalem. As you begin reading the words that are found within this passage of scripture you will encounter and come face to face with the apostle Paul making a suggestion to Barnabas—one that actually leads to such a sharp debate between them that they part ways from each other and no longer travel together to fulfill the work of the Lord among the Gentiles. Pause for a moment and think about and consider the fact that what we find here is a suggestion the apostle Paul made to Barnabas that they return unto and visit the riots churches where they had preached the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ in order that they might strengthen and establish them in the faith. Everything you find in the final verse of the fifteenth chapter of the book of Acts brings you face to face with the truth and reality of these two men who were separated by the holy spirit unto the work where unto they had been call no longer working together. It’s actually quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that both Barnabas and the apostle Paul began their journey in Jerusalem as Barnabas was mentioned as being a Levite—and not only a Levite, but also as being one who was from Cyprus. This geographical location will actually come into play in the final verses of this chapter, for you will read that when Barnabas separates himself from the apostle Paul he would set sail—and ultimately return unto Cyprus where he was from. The journey of the apostle Paul also began in Jerusalem as he wreaked havoc upon the early church and entered into house and home dragging men and women out of their homes and committing them to prison. What’s more is that the initial campaign against the church and saints which were found within the city of Damascus would begin in the city of Jerusalem as the apostle Paul who was called Saul at that time would obtain letters from the high priest to bring back bound unto Jerusalem all those whom he found who were of the way. We dare not and must not miss the incredible importance of how the lives of these two men began to be linked and connected, for when the apostle Paul first returned unto Jerusalem and sought to join himself to the brethren, they were all afraid of him because of what he had done unto them. It was Barnabas who came alongside Saul at that time and confirmed the work which the Lord was doing and the work which the Lord has done within his life.
As you read the words which are found in the New Testament book of Acts you will find and read just how connected and intertwined the lives of Paul and Barnabas were—from the time the apostle Paul returned to Jerusalem for the first time since he experienced Jesus the Christ in the road to Damascus, was converted and baptized, and was filled with the Holy Spirit. It was Barnabas who would come alongside the apostle Paul at that time and stand beside him as an advocate in the company and presence of the apostles. It would be this man named Barnabas who would attest and speak to the work which Jesus the Christ had done and would do within the life of the apostle Paul. It would be this man named Barnabas who would stand with and would stand alongside the apostle Paul who was still Saul at the time and join himself unto this man as one of the disciples and followers of Jesus the Christ. In order to understand the events which took place within the final verses of the fifteenth chapter it is absolutely necessary and imperative to understand the history of these two men and how their lives became connected one unto and one with another. It would begin within the city of Jerusalem when the apostle Paul who at that time was still known as Saul would arrive in Jerusalem seeking to join himself unto the church which was there, and even the apostles of the Lord Jesus the Christ who were present within the city. James the brother of John would not yet have been put to death by the sword at the request of Herod the Great, so all of the original apostles of the Lord Jesus the Christ would have been present within the city—with of course the noted absence of Judas Iscariot who betrayed the Lord Jesus and would ultimately hang himself. Initially the saints and believers which were present and found within the city of Jerusalem were fearful and afraid of this man named Saul, and were hesitant and reluctant to associate themselves with him—and even to truly believe and accept that what he was professing was indeed genuine. It would be the support and advocacy of this man named Barnabas who would stand beside and would stand alongside this man named Saul that he would obtain an inlet and welcome into the church which was in Jerusalem and would be received by the apostles and brethren which were there. It would be the advocacy of this man named Barnabas that would help facilitate the reception of this man named Saul among the brethren and the apostles which were present in the church located within the city of Jerusalem.
Before I continue in that which is found in the final verses of the fifteenth chapter of the book of Acts, and before I continue with what is found in the sixteenth chapter of the book of Acts I feel the great need to speak to the subject matter of standing side by side and associating yourself with others—perhaps even those whom you have pause and reservations about. If and as you read the words which are found in the book of Acts you will find that when the Lord Jesus the Christ appeared unto Ananias and instructed him to go and find this man named Saul in order that he might lay his hands on him that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit, Ananias initially balked at the instruction. Ananias rehearsed in the hearing of the Lord Jesus the Christ how this man had previously persecuted the church of Jesus the Christ in Jerusalem, and how this man had come to the city of Damascus bent on bringing men and women back to Jerusalem bound. Upon hearing the concern which was found in the heart and mouth of Ananias the Lord Jesus Christ declared unto Ananias that he would find this man Saul praying and fasting, that he had seen in a vision a man coming and laying their hands on him that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that he would see what great things he must suffer for the sake of the name of Jesus the Christ. Ultimately, this man named Managua’s would follow and obey the instruction of the Lord and would go unto the place where Saul was in order that he might lay his hands on him so he could receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. It would be this man named manias who although he was initially hesitant and skeptical toward the work which Jesus the Christ had done within the heart and life of Jesus the Christ that would help get this man named Saul to the place where he would later be within his life. It would Jesus the Christ who would encounter this man named Saul on the road to Damascus, and it would be the Holy Spirit who would baptize and full this man named Saul, and it would be this man Ananias who would initially and originally be THR first of many who would come alongside Saul in order that he might fulfill, step into, and enter into that which the Lord has called him to do. I can’t help but come face to face with where this man named Saul might have been were it not for the willingness of amiss to faithfully obey the word, the command and the instruction of the living God. I wonder what the account of this man named Saul would and might have looked were it not for this man named Ananias coming alongside him, overcoming his fear and skepticism concerning Saul, and being willing to lay his hands on him that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. It might very well be said that this man named Ananias would be the first of many individuals who would come alongside this man named Saul in order that they might partner together with the work the hoy spirit was doing within his life, as well as the work unto which he had been called and separated from his mother’s womb. I can’t help but think of how many men and women would live their lives in sacrificial service for the work of the Lord, and would not only fulfill that which the Lord called them to, but also that which the apostle Paul himself had been called to do in that generation.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but look upon the account of the account of this man named Saul, and how there were a number of men and women who were willing to give themselves to coming alongside him in order that he might step into that which the Holy Spirit had called him to. There is a lot of emphasis on where we would be were it not for the grace and presence of Jesus Christ working together with the person and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, however, I would like to add an additional reality to that particular truth. While I do wholeheartedly and firmly believe that none of us would be where we are were it not for the grace of the Lord Jesus the Christ (“but for the grace of God therego I”), and while I do believe that it is a direct result of the working of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit within our lives, I am firmly convinced that there is another factor that has been and continues to be at work within our hearts and lives. I am sitting here this morning and I can’t help but be drawn to the tremendous truth and reality of never underestimating the power, the worth and the value of those who are willing to come alongside you in order that you might step and enter into that which the Holy Spirit has called and separated you unto. I can’t help but be absolutely and completely captivated with and by the awesome and wonderful reality that where we are right now is not only a direct result of the grace of God working together with the Holy Spirit, but it is also a direct result of those who have been and those who were willing to come alongside us to help us step into and fulfill that which the Holy Spirit has called us to. If we are willing to be honest with ourselves as well as with the living God we must admit that where we are right now is a direct result of the harmonious working together of the grace of Christ within our life, the will of the Father for our lives, the working of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit, as well as those who have been and those who were willing to come alongside us in order that we might step into that which we have been called. If you look back over your life you will see and you will find those who faithfully gave themselves unto you in order that you might step into that which the Holy Spirit has called and separated you to. There have been those who have given of themselves sacrificially in order that you might step into what you have been called to do, and that you might step into who you were meant to become. If you read the account of the apostle Paul you will find that there were certain individuals who were willing to overcome their own fears, as well as perhaps their own preconceptions and ideas concerning who this man named Saul was, and what he had done in the past. Scripture isn’t clear whether or not Barnabas had any reservations concerning this man named Saul and who and what he once was, but what we do see and what we do encounter is Barnabas coming alongside Saul as he appeared and stood before the brethren and apostles there in Jerusalem.
I can’t help but be absolutely and wonderfully drawn to the incredible reality of how not only did Ananias overcome his fear, his doubt, his skepticism, and perhaps even his own feelings concerning this man named Saul that he might lay hands on him in prayer, but also how this man named Barnabas was willing to come alongside this man named Saul—perhaps when no one else within the early church was willing to do. If you are being honest with yourself, as well as with the Holy Spirit you will and you must admit that there have been those who have come alongside you, and those who have been willing to align themselves with you—despite the fact that there were perhaps a number of others who were unwilling to to do. There have been men and women who were willing to come alongside you—those who believed in you, and who believed in who you were meant to be, and what you have been called to be—in order that you might firmly and completely step into that which you have been called to be and that which you have been called to do. It would be Ananias who would overcome his fears concerning this man named Saul and would lay his hands on him that Saul might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. It would be this man named Barnabas who would come alongside and align himself with this man named Saul there in Jerusalem in order that he might be welcomed and embraced by the apostles and brethren there in the church which was present within the city. Oh, it is absolutely unthinkable to try and imagine who and what we would be were it not for the grace of Jesus the Christ within our lives, and were it not for the working of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit to bring about the divine and perfect will of the Father concerning our lives, but it must also be understood and recognized how there were and there have been those who have been present within our lives who have been willing to come alongside us—perhaps when no one else would or no one else was willing to—in order that we might step into who we were meant to be, and what we were meant to do. I know that there have been certain men and women who had aligned themselves to me within and throughout my life in order that I might be and become the man that I am today—this despite the fact that I know I still have flaws, weaknesses, struggles, and the like. I know there have been men and women who have been willing to come alongside me and to give of themselves within my life that I might become the man I was called and created to be. YOU HAVE NOT GOTTEN WHERE YOU ARE ALONE! YOU HAVE NOT GOTTEN WHERE YOU ARE BY YOURSELF!
I sit here this morning and I can’t help but be gripped with and by the fact that there is absolutely no man or woman who is faithfully serving and walking with the Lord who can emphatically state that they have gotten where they are alone, by, and in and of themselves. There is absolutely no man or woman among us who can truthfully and emphatically state and declare that they have arrived where they are in and of their own strength, and in and of their own ability. There is absolutely no man or woman who can truthfully declare that they have arrived where they are and even become who they presently are by themselves and without and apart from others who were willing to come alongside them to help them step into that which they have been called to be, and help them step into that which they have been called to do. It’s interesting to note within the life of the apostle Paul that this man named Barnabas—this same man who would advocate for and stand alongside him there in the city of Jerusalem—would be separated together alongside Paul for the work whereunto the Holy Spirit had called them to be. It’s quite astonishing to think about the fact that when Barnabas chose to stand beside and chose to come alongside Saul there in the city of Jerusalem among the saints and brethren which were present in the church he had absolutely no clue or idea that sometime later he would be separated by the Holy Spirit from the teachers and prophets which were present in Jerusalem for the work whereunto both he and Paul had been called. I do not believe for a single moment that this man named Barnabas had any clue or any idea when he stood beside Saul in the company and presence of the apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem that he would find himself working together with the apostle Paul there in the church at Antioch, and there within that church would be called and separated by the Holy Spirit alongside Paul for the work whereunto he had been called. Could it very well be said that Barnabas’ willingness to stand beside Saul there in Jerusalem before the apostles, the elders and brethren positioned him to be called and separated by the Holy Spirit to partner together in a work for which they had both been called? Who would have thought that when Barnabas chose to stand side by side with this man named Saul who had just come from Jerusalem that years later he would be separated by the Holy Spirit together with this same man who was now called Paul for the work whereunto they had been called. There is not a doubt in my mind that either Barnabas, nor the apostle Paul had absolutely any clue or any idea what the Holy Spirit would be up to years later when while they were praying and fasting among the teachers and prophets there in Antioch, they would be separated by the Holy Spirit unto the work whereunto they had both been called. It would be Barnabas who would stand side by side and advocate for Saul while he was standing before the apostles, the elders and brethren there in Jerusalem, and it would be this same man named Barnabas who would find his life intertwined and connected to the apostle Paul in ministry and the work whereunto they had been called.
With that being said, however, it is worth noting that when you read the words found in the final verses of the fifteenth chapter you will encounter and come face to face with the matter of whether or not the Gentiles should be circumcised in order that they might be saved being once and for all settled. The apostle Paul and Barnabas would return unto the church in Antioch—together with Judas called Barsabas and a man named Silas—with an epistle in hand from the apostles and elders of the church in Jerusalem declaring unto them that it was not necessary for them to be circumcised according to the law and custom of the Jews, and that there was no greater burden that was to be laid and placed upon their shoulders. The apostle Paul—together with Barnabas, Judas called Barsabas, and Silas—would return unto the church in Antioch and would bring with them an epistle speaking to those who had troubled them with their words, thus subverting their souls declaring unto them that they must be circumcised. Upon receiving in writing confirmation that the matter of Gentile circumcision being settled by the apostles and elders within and among the church in Jerusalem, the apostle Paul would continue to faithfully serve and minister among the brethren there in the church at Antioch together with Barnabas, Silas and Barsabas. The beloved physician Luke writes how there in Antioch the saints and brethren there were so overwhelmed with joy upon hearing the words which were written from those in Jerusalem, as well as how Judas and Silas who were both prophets exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them. Initially, Judas and Silas were released in peace there in the midst of the brethren in Antioch to return unto Jerusalem and unto the church there, however, Silas saw it fit to remain and abide with the apostle Paul, Barnabas, and the saints there in Antioch, and to partner together with the work the Holy Spirit was doing there in the midst of the brethren. While Judas called Barsabas undoubtedly returned to Jerusalem in peace with release from the saints and brethren there in Antioch, Silas would choose to remain with Paul and Barnabas there in the midst of Antioch for the work which the Holy Spirit had begun and established within the city. It is important that we recognize and understand this, for it’s in this context that we find the events which are recorded in the final verses of the fifteenth chapter unfolding and taking place. It is in the context of Silas remaining behind in Antioch with Paul and Barnabas that would actually position him to come alongside and partner with the apostle Paul on his second missionary and apostolic work. It would be the decision Silas made to remain there in Antioch with the apostle Paul and Barnabas that would position him to tarry and continue in the work which the Holy Spirit had called the apostle to, for while Barnabas and the apostle Paul would each go their separate ways, Silas would remain with the apostle Paul as the apostle Paul chose him to accompany him on his next missionary journey.
As you read the words which are found beginning with the thirty-sixth verse of the fifteenth chapter you will find that after some days Paul said unto Barnabas, “Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.” This request seemed acceptable in the sight of Barnabas, however, Barnabas would have brought John mark with them during the journey. It would be this idea and thought of bringing John Mark alongside and with them that would actually lead to the contention and debate which took place between the apostle Paul and Barnabas, for while Barnabas would have brought John Mark with them, the apostle Paul was not willing to have him join them because he departed from them and returned unto Jerusalem. ABANDONING THE WORK! DEPARTING FROM THE WORK! It’s actually quite interesting and unique to read and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for the entire reason the apostle Paul was unwilling to allow John Mark to come with them when they returned to visit their brethren among the churches they had planted and established was due to his departing from the work. What a fundamental and monumental difference is seen and found between Judas called Barsabas and John called Mark, for Scripture records how Judas called Barsabas departed in peace with release from the brethren there in Antioch, while John called Mark departed from Paul and Barnabas and returned unto Jerusalem. The entire reason the apostle Paul was not willing to have John Mark come alongside them when they returned unto the different churches which they had visited was because he abandoned, forsook and neglected the work whereunto the apostle Paul and Barnabas had been called. Pause for a moment and think about and consider this reality, for the entire reason John Mark would and could not join the apostle Paul along the journey to the cities and churches they had visited and spent time with was because he had abandoned the work whereunto the Holy Spirit had called the apostle Paul and Barnabas. It would be Barnabas who was perhaps willing to overlook this, and who perhaps didn’t even feel this was something that warranted any consideration, yet the apostle Paul saw John Mark’s departure from the work which the Holy Spirit had called them to as a deviation and abandonment form the work. The apostle Paul said and spoke nothing about the character and integrity of John Mark, however, his entire reason and purpose for not wanting to take John Mark with them was because he abandoned and forsook the work which the Holy Spirit had called and appointed them to. We dare not miss and we dare not lose sight of this tremendous and incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss the significance of what is found within these passages. It would be true that Paul and Barnabas would separate ways, and as a direct result of their separating ways—Paul took Silas with him on his journey to the churches they had previously visited, while Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed unto Cyprus.
It is quite interesting and astonishing to think about how these two men whose lives were so intertwined and so interconnected would and could take such a dramatic and unexpected turn, and would do so simply because Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark with them as they traveled and returned unto the churches and brethren they had previously visited. These two men whose lives seemed to be interconnected from the day Barnabas initially stood side by side this man named Saul there in Jerusalem as he stood before the apostles and brethren until this particular moment in Antioch when they would actually go their separate ways because Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark with them along the journey to the churches and brethren they had previously visited on the first missionary journey. This actually leads me to something that is quite unique astounding—particularly when you think about and consider the fact that it is possible for men and women who have worked together in the ministry among the saints and brethren to find themselves going their separate ways. There are times within our lives when those whom we seems o have been so interconnected with will ultimately and inevitably be separated from us as their lives are going in a completely different direction and ours going in a completely different direction. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within this passage of Scripture is that it is possible for strife and contention to enter in among the church and body of Jesus the Christ that it can actually cause brethren to separate and remove themselves from each other. The beloved physician Luke writes how the contention between Paul and Barnabas was so sharp and so severe that they actually departed company from each other, as Barnabas would take John Mark and sail to Cyprus, and as Paul would take Silas with him and would go through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches. After being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God, Paul and Silas would depart from the church there in Antioch, and would engage on a journey to revisit the churches which the apostle Paul had ministered and encouraged the brethren. What an absolutely and incredibly interesting truth it is to think that it is possible for strife and contention to enter into the work of the ministry, and that it entered into the lives of Paul and Barnabas over whether or not this man named John Mark should accompany and join them on the journey to the churches. For the apostle Paul it was not fit that John Mark should join and accompany them because of his departure from the work whereunto the apostle Paul and Barnabas had been called. Because of the departure of this man named John Mark the apostle Paul was completely unwilling that he be permitted to join them on this second journey—perhaps because he felt that he would once more abandon and neglect the work whereunto they had been called.
I read and consider that which is found concerning the separation and departure of Paul and Barnabas from each other, and I can’t help but come face to face with the reality of departing from the work and ministry of the Lord. If you turn and direct your attention back to the thirteenth chapter of the book of Acts you will find that when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perna in Pamphylia, and how John departed from them and returned unto Jerusalem. It was this departure from the apostle Paul and Barnabas that would stick in the heart and mind of the apostle Paul, and later on when Barnabas would have taken John Mark with them, the apostle Paul was unwilling to do so. It might be possible that the apostle Paul felt that if they allowed and permitted John Mark join and accompany them on this journey, he would once more abandon and neglect the work whereunto they had been called. It is possible the apostle Paul felt John Mark’s departure from them, and his subsequent return unto Jerusalem was an abandonment and departure from the work of the Holy Spirit, and that there was a fear and danger of him doing the very same thing again. It is quite possible the apostle Paul had absolutely no room or space for those who would depart from the work of the ministry, and when he saw John Mark depart from them and return unto Jerusalem, he viewed it as a strong departure—not only from the work whereunto they had been called, but perhaps even from the will of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. Scripture provides us with no indication, nor any clear cut explanation concerning the thoughts and mindset of the apostle Paul when John Mark departed from them to return to Jerusalem when it happened, however, years later we encounter and come face to face with the reality that John Mark’s actions and his departure from them earlier on would stick within the heart and mind of the apostle Paul, as he would not be willing to allow him to join them on their journey among the churches whereunto they had previously visited and ministered. It would be this particular reality that would lead to the great contention and strife that would take place between the apostle Paul and Barnabas that they would actually go their separate ways, and would lead to Barnabas taking John Mark and sailing to Cyprus, and Paul taking Silas with him as he would journey to Syria and Cilicia. Perhaps the question I can’t help but ask at this juncture—regardless of whether or not you view John Mark’s actions as a departure from the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit—is whether or not you yourself have departed from the work and ministry the Holy Spirit has called you to. We cannot be sure whether or not the actions of John Mark were against the will of the Holy Spirit, but we can examine our hearts and our lives and ask ourselves whether or not we have somehow departed and deviated from the work unto which the Holy Spirit has called us to. Have there been times within our lives when we have neglected, abandoned and even departed from the work whereunto we have been called within our lives? Have there been times within our lives when—if we are being honest with ourselves—we have departed from the work and ministry whereunto we have been called in order to pursue our own agendas and desires?
It’s interesting to note and read within this passage—not only of a departure from the work and ministry among the brethren and churches, but also a separation of those who partnered together and worked side by side in ministry among the churches and brethren. The apostle Paul and Barnabas had had their lives interconnected and linked together from the time Barnabas came alongside and stood with the apostle Paul early on after his conversion and attested to his conversion and the work which Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit had done within his life. Here we are years later and we find these two men separating from each other and going their own ways, thus providing us with quite a remarkable thought concerning brethren separating themselves from each other due to their lives going in completely different directions. The entire reason Paul and Barnabas separated was simply and solely because Barnabas wanted John Mark to join them along the journey to the churches, and Paul’ unwillingness to allow him to be present with and accompany them. I can’t help but be directly confronted with the reality that there are times within our lives when we have worked together with others in our lives, and yet there comes a point when our lives ultimately and simply go in different directions that we actually separate and no longer walk with each other. The lives of Paul and Barnabas are a powerful example of this reality, and how it is absolutely possible that those we have once walked with, and those we have once worked with departing from our company, and our going our own separate ways because our lives are simply going in different directions. Barnabas took John Mark and sailed to Cyprus, while the apostle Paul took Silas and went in a completely different direction. Oh how I find that which is found within the here passages to be quite interesting and unique, for within them we come face to face with a separation of two brothers who worked so close together in the work of the ministry, and how they each went their own ways because of a difference of opinion. It would be from this time on that Paul and Barnabas would no longer walk with and work with each other, for the contention was so sharp between them that the actually had to separate themselves from each other and each go their own way. Oh, I am convinced that as much as we are where we are and as much as are who we are because of those who have been and those who were willing to walk side by side with us, it is possible that we experience moments in our lives when we find our lives and the lives of those whom we walked with and worked with going in completely different directions. What’s more, is that I am convinced there are men and women who don’t have any type of context or framework for such a. Reality within their lives, and should such and event occur within their lives, they don’t know how to handle, nor do they know how to deal with this separation. There are men and women who simply don’t know what to do when their lives just don’t seem to line up with those who have walked and worked with them in this thing called life—and even in ministry among the saints, the brethren, and those who are not yet a part of the family of God and church of Jesus the Christ.
The question I must ask you who are reading this writing is what do you do and how do you respond when those who you have walked with and those whom you have worked with in ministry seem to take a different direction, and when you and they seem to go your separate ways. I have to admit that I experienced a similar reality—although not exactly alike—after graduating from Bible college several years ago. There were certain individuals who I was incredibly close with, and several individuals who I walked with through understanding and recognizing the call of God on our lives, and yet some years after we all graduated our lives began to be separated, and we no longer walked with and worked with each other. There are at least two relationships within my life that I can point to right now where we were incredibly close and were practically brothers, and yet here I am fourteen years after graduating from Bible college and neither relationship and friendship is still in existence. I don’t know what would or could happen if I chose to pick up the phone, send an e-mail, or even send a message through social media attempting to reach out, but what I can say is that those who I was closest to I am no longer walking with in this life as we have all gone our separate ways. If I am being honest with you who are reading this writing—I do miss the relationships themselves, and there are times when I wish I could go back and time and see what would and could have been done differently. What’s more, is that I am realizing that I don’t necessarily miss the individuals themselves, but more so the level and degree of intimacy, fellowship, and camaraderie that was afforded within the relationships. I am finding myself wondering if there is any way I can find what I had with these two brothers again, and in all reality—I find myself looking for those whom I can invite within my life, or whose life I can come alongside who I can experience something similar to what I had before. Paul and Barnabas were incredibly close as they walked together in the work of the ministry, and yet they ended up separating from each other because of a contention that rose up between the two of them over whether or not one whom they both knew should join them. OH that we would take and read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and truly examine our lives and the relationships we have, and what the relationships we have are like. Oh that we would look at those relationships which have been severed, and those relationships which have ended—and not necessarily seek to recreate and reinvent them, but rather allow ourselves to walk together with new brethren and other individuals whom we can walk and work with in the ministry in this life.