Summary: Many of our conflicts arise because we have different personalities, and thus different perspectives. When an issue comes up — especially one that is neither black or white — we tend to latch onto the response dictated by our personality.
God Uses Our Personality!
1. Happy Mother’s Day to our moms! We appreciate you.
2. Moms have a variety of personalities. Here is a true account:
My mother is always trying to understand what motivates people, especially those in her family. One day she and my sister were talking about one relative's bad luck. "Why do you suppose she changed jobs?" Mother asked my sister. "Maybe she has a subconscious desire not to succeed."
"Or maybe it just happened," said my sister, exasperated. "Do you know you analyze everything to death?"
Mother was silent for a moment. "That's true," she said. "Why do you think I do that?" [rd.com].
3. Not all moms are analytical. Moms come is all varieties of personality. Stereotypes work in cartoons and movies, but are not always true to life!
4. Personality is an interesting concept. I agree with Tim LaHaye and many others, that most of personality is genetic. We see it in our babies.
5. Bible characters display very different personalities, which is why we learn different things from different characters. Strengths plus weaknesses. The one exception, of course, is Jesus.
6. The personality difference between Paul and Mark often proved to be complimentary, but conflict forced a fork in the road between them.
Main Idea: Many of our conflicts arise because we have different personalities, and thus different perspectives. When an issue comes up — especially one that is neither black or white — we tend to latch onto the response dictated by our personality.
I. The Conflict Between Paul and Barnabas Over John Mark ILLUSTRATES This.
A. How Paul saw it: effective MINISTRY
1. I don’t think Paul embraced the modern OCD fad of “excellence.”
2. I think he simply wanted a faithful, dependable team. Who can fault him?
3. I think he was concerned about Mark’s future, but did not view his missionary trips as training exercises.
4. We often hear of failures who became successes. For example:
Albert Einstein: Einstein did not speak until he was four and did not read until he was seven, causing his teachers and parents to think he was mentally handicapped, slow and anti-social. Eventually, he was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He went on to win the Nobel Prize and changed the face of modern physics.
5. However, Mark’s problem was not intelligence, but dependability.
6. I Corinthians 4:2, “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
7. Mistakes, ignorance, etc., are easily excused; but lack of dependability?
B. How Barnabas saw it: RESTORING and developing John Mark
Where Paul was thinking of ministering to the churches, Barnabas was thinking of developing an important leader for the churches.
We very often seek to do a work involving many people, but God often wants us to focus on one person.
C. Christians often SPIRITUALIZE their differences, viewing one choice as God’s will and the other as not.
1. This sometimes should be the case, especially when Scriptures are OBVIOUS.
2. Often, however, something like who gets his way, décor, spending ethics, or resistance to change is the conflict ISSUE.
II. Who Was RIGHT?
A. Perhaps BOTH
1. We do ourselves a disservice when we start labeling things that are not stated in Scripture as “God’s will.”
2. God may not have a special color he wants in your living room. Make of car.
B. How PERSONALITY affects our perspective
1. A pastor’s friends wife had a kidney transplant; the anti-rejection medicine caused cancer. Cancer doctor wanted her to keep the kidney and treat the cancer; the kidney doctor wanted her to loose the kidney and get another one. Both suggested what they were good at doing.
• The sound system in the small church
2. Paul was more of a cross between a deep thinker and an ACHIEVER.
3. Barnabas was more RELATIONAL.
4. The Body functions so that members tend to focus on what they are GOOD at.
III. What Did TIME Reveal?
A. For Paul, a successful second MISSIONARY trip with a new partner.
1. We now have two missionary teams instead of one.
2. Paul develops Silas.
B. John Mark became a leader who wrote the Gospel According to MARK.
C. Paul later REQUESTED John Mark to help him in ministry.
2 Timothy 4:11, “Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.”
• A win-win: Mark grew and Paul’s missionary trip was effective.
• My personality is a lot more like that of Barnabas than of Paul. I have seen God develop some people in amazing ways. Wrong for me to try to become a Paul when God made me a Barnabas. Same thing with you.