Breaking News! Tom Brady has just been traded for five draft picks. It may be hard to believe that arguably the greatest professional quarterback of all time could be exchanged for draft picks in the organization’s attempt to look to the future.
This is the point of reading this blog: that you acknowledge you are reading fake news! There will come a day when Tom Brady retires, but a trade is not in his foreseeable future. The mere thought of him leaving now would be a breakup of the ages.
Speaking of breakups, Acts 15:36-41 tells of a missionary dynasty breakup that likely sent shock waves through the emerging New Testament church. Paul and Barnabas has spent decades together and experienced numerous adventures and hardships in their quest to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles.
We often hear of athletes in disputes over how an organization is being run or how a coach is leading. Sometimes the disputes are over matters of philosophy, and other times they are about practice. The reality is, conflict is a part of life. We can’t avoid it, and most everyone hates conflict. We may not be a part of a sports team that ends most days in a press conference, but we are part of an even bigger team with a more important mission.
It is disheartening when God’s people argue and can’t walk in unity. If we are honest, most often these disagreements are not over the Gospel; rather, we tend to argue over matters of preference. There may be times like with Paul and Barnabas, when our opinions may be so strong that it is better to separate than to stay in a state of disharmony.
If and when this unfortunate circumstance arises, how should we react? We must not allow our private disagreements to be public distractions and risk giving a reason for non-believers to reject the Good News of Jesus.
PLAY TO WIN
I know that the Tom Brady opening line was fake news, and truthfully, was nothing more than a way to grab your attention. If it were true, we know that all those in the organization would focus their attention on the field of play and the desire to win. At the end of the day, every football team has that as their goal.
The people of God can learn from this fervent commitment. God has called us to make His name known, and we break His heart when we spend more time calling each other out than calling out His name. Paul and Barnabas parted company, but both continued to carry out the mission of God. Paul and Silas went to Derbe, while Barnabas and John Mark traveled to Cyprus.
Later passages like Colossians 4:10 and 2 Timothy 4:11 tell us that there was a long tenure of faithful Gospel advancement by John Mark. This faithful pursuit of Christ by Paul and John Mark reminds us that disagreements can be temporary, and our focus must always be about Jesus and His mission, rather than our own.
Together, God’s people must commit to play to win. Even in disagreements, the mission must be our focus, and we must make the mission of the Gospel greater than our preference or agenda. There are people all around us who have not experienced the peace and purpose that can only be found in Jesus. Let’s keep that mission as our focus, and in turn, get over ourselves.