Alford

Alford

One of my all-time favorite jokes is about the preacher who was hiking along a mountain trail when he happened across a bear.

Frightened out of his wits, the preacher turned tail and ran with the bear in hot pursuit and gaining ground.

After a long chase, the exhausted preacher fell to the ground out of breath and whispered a prayer. “Lord, please let this be a Christian bear.”

The bear skidded to halt beside the preacher, clasped his hands together, and prayed: “Thank you, Lord, for the food I’m about to receive.”

That old joke reminds me that sometimes Christians can find themselves at odds. They’re not immune to such situations just because they’re walking with the Lord.

Even the Apostle Paul and Barnabas once had a falling out. Paul refused to take Mark, the evangelist who wrote one of the Gospels, along on a missionary journey. It seems Mark had bailed out in the midst of a previous trip, and Paul didn’t trust him to come through on the next. Barnabas, an encourager, saw Mark as a valuable member of the team and pushed to have him come along.

“And the contention was so sharp between them that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took mark and sailed unto Cyprus” (Acts 15:39-40).

Paul and Barnabas seemed to have agreed to disagree. What I appreciate is that neither allowed the dispute to keep them from the Lord’s work. They separated for a time, but they continued spreading the Gospel.

The truth is there will be times when good Christians disagree. In such times, it’s important to keep focused on what’s important, the work of the church. By splitting up, perhaps Paul and Barnabas were actually able to get twice as much work done for the Lord.

In an honest difference of opinion when there appears to be no hope of resolution for the time being, people are best served by simply agreeing to disagree.

Too many times, people at odds try to devour one another, like that Christian bear might have done with the preacher.

Reach Roger Alford at 502-514-6857 or rogeralford1@gmail.com.

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