Acts 15:36-41: ‘All things’ means ‘all things’.
“36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. ” NIV UK
There is something sad about this story. I have always found contention among Christians to be painful. Paul and Barnabas had been such a team, up to this point, risking their lives for the gospel; contending side by side in the cause of Christ. The sharpness of their disagreement pierces my heart even as I read about it (39). It’s terribly sad. Who can say that one of them was right and the other wrong? I can understand Paul’s logic (38). They were not embarking on a Sunday school picnic. He wanted soldiers in the trenches with him who would remain courageous under fire. There was too much at stake on this mission to risk another desertion. I believe I can see Paul’s perspective. But true to his character as the ‘son of encouragement’, Barnabas wanted to give John Mark another chance. He probably saw potential in the young man and thought him worth persevering with. It appears that over the long haul Paul came to see what Barnabas saw (2 Timothy 4: 11). May God help us to be willing to change our minds where necessary. Yet there is something glad in this story. Reading between the lines we get a glimpse that God is in control, as now two teams move out with the gospel. When Paul wrote that ‘’In all things God is working for the good of those who love Him…’’ (Romans 8:28) he meant ‘’all things’’. It is indeed ‘’good and pleasant’’ when brothers dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1 ). Yet even when they don’t, God is still on the throne.