I am pondering life and relationships. Relationships can be odd and changing. Even among church folks. It's not a new thing, however. Take, for example, Paul and Barnabas. They stuck together for a common purpose. They were called out and set apart to go on a missionary journey. (Acts 13:2). When it was time for the second journey, Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark & Paul said, "No way! He deserted us before!" (my interpretation from Acts 15:36-40) Actually, The Word says there was a "sharp disagreement" between Paul & Barnabas. I don't know about you, but that leaves me to believe that it wasn't a quite little argument they were having. The good news about the separation is that 2 teams were sent out instead of just one. Sometimes separation can be a good thing, I suppose. Paul later reconciled with John Mark. In Paul's last written letter that we have as Scripture, Paul realized his death was near. He wrote the letter to Timothy to encourage his young friend and to remind him to remain strong. In the last chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul requests that John Mark be sent to him. At some point they were reconciled.
The Bible study lesson we had at our church last Sunday was from Philippians 2. Paul wrote that, as believers & followers of Christ, we are to be humble, looking out for others as more important than ourselves, and keeping our focus on unity and our common task. And our common task is what? Bringing others to know Jesus and helping them to be better disciples. That is completely hard to do sometimes because we can really get focused on wanting our own way or letting petty personality differences get us off track.
So, why am I writing this? No, I am not in a disagreement with anyone -- well, not that I know of anyway. I was just thinking about how fickle teenagers can be. Fickleness (I thought I made up that word, but when I did spell check it didn't find it as a misspelled word!) is not limited to teenagers, however. I used to love Diet Coke and now I cannot stand it. Then I started drinking Dr. Pepper, but now I would just prefer to have sweet tea or limeade. Or, coffee of course! I'm fickle, I admit it. Relationships change...it happens. But, from the standpoint of Christ, I am not allowed the luxury of being hurtful towards people that I am in disagreement with and it is not my place to stand in judgment of them. What a relief, actually. Love people, love people, love people. Love God, love people. Love God, love God, love God. Love people. The greatest commandment and the second just like it. Love God, love people. That's it.
Serving the King,