Barnabas and Saul worked together for a number of years in the service of the Gospel. We here at first how it is Barnabas that takes the lead and seems to be a mentor of sorts to Paul. It is Barnabas who introduces Paul to the apostles and vouches for him; it is Barnabas who ‘calls the shots’ as to what they do and where they go. The impression the scriptures give is one of Barnabas training Paul for his later work of evangelization. Ultimately Paul and Barnabas have a falling out and they go their separate ways. By the Second Missionary Journey of Paul Barnabas is no longer with him and Paul is obviously the leader.

No one person is capable of doing everything. It does not matter how gifted any individual might be, they will always need the help and support of others. If it was good enough for Jesus, then it ought to be good enough for us! The challenge that we all face in this is learning to work with different personalities and having the humility to be willing to give way a little here and stand firm at other times in order to maintain the unity of the community and at the same time not compromise eth truth of the Gospel. This can be a very difficult path to walk at times and if people are not committed to unity there will inevitably be a split. I do not believe any split in the community of the faithful is God-ordained or willed by God! God always works for unity and harmony; never for division and discord.

When difficulties arise it is important that we do everything to work for reconciliation and unity. This may require a lot of humility but better that than to be the part of split; better to be faithful to the work of the Spirit than to set ourselves above the will of God! Having said that I recognize that there will be disagreements that will not be resolved simply because of the sinfulness of the people involved, and that is the fundamental reason. When this happens, for whatever reason, it is important that we do what we can to avoid the same result in the future. The continual splitting of so-called churches when one pastor decides to branch out on his own is anathema to God who desires the unity of his flock, not the opposite.

Do I work for the unity of the People of God in the way I express my faith and minister the Gospel to others?

Holy Spirit, use me as an instrument of unity to bring reconciliation between individuals and groups that have parted ways so that they may one day join forces and work together in spreading the Good News.