Why Me? Have you ever asked God “why me?” This happens to all of us at one time or another. We look around at the state of our lives and we are just overwhelmed. Life seems out of control and despite our obedience to God, unplanned things still happen. Stuff that we would rather avoid. Messy circumstances, ugly situations, and tough encounters that leave us shaking our heads and wondering “Why me God?” “Couldn’t you have orchestrated events to turn out a little differently?” It is a little easier to swallow when we mess up our own lives with bad choices, but what about when other people’s blunders cause our plans to go awry?
I am sure that is part of what Paul was thinking about when he had to stop yet again to wait up for Mark, the guy who was always slowing them down on their missionary journey. From Paul’s perspective he had important work to do. Lives to save. Every moment lost was another moment he could not share the gospel with someone in need. God had endowed him with these great gifts and given him an incredible vision for how to build God’s Kingdom. Paul was ready to rock and roll. He was prepared to make all the sacrifices necessary (including multiple beatings and false imprisonments). He was destined to accomplish great things. But they had to stop all the time cause wimpy little Mark could not keep up. I am sure Paul asked the question “Why me God?” “Why did I get stuck with this?” “He is ruining everything.” It is even understandable why Paul chose to dump Mark when he got the chance. When they were heading out for their second missionary journey, Paul wanted nothing to do with the guy that couldn’t hack it. If Mark wasn’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary then he was simply not going to go. Except that Paul’s mentor and partner insisted on bringing Mark again. Now Barnabas is getting in Paul’s way, which results in an argument and dissension in the ranks. Not a good way to start a journey to build God’s kingdom is it? The result? Paul goes one way (without Mark) and Barnabas goes a different way (with Mark) at a decidedly different pace. There are many lessons that we can learn in this story.
One that has stood out to me recently is Barnabas’ attitude towards things not going his way. The original plan was his idea. He was the one who taught and mentored Paul. He should have gotten all the credit and glory. Then came this important decision – to allow his plans to be changed or not? Barnabas recognized that his life was God’s to use for anything God wanted. This included forgoing the big plan, and taking the time to care for Mark (who would eventually go on to great things). Barnabas did not get the glamour job. He did not get the glory. He is often forgotten in the church. But he made the choice that so many Christians need to learn to make for themselves. To let go of running our life the way we want it. To allow God to mess up our life and plans, to the benefit of others. A hard choice. But a worthy one
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