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Sharp Edges

Acts 15:36 After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.”37 Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark.38 But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work.39 Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus.40 Paul chose Silas, and as he left, the believers entrusted him to the Lord’s gracious care.41 Then he traveled throughout Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there.

When we think of Paul we think of someone who is "on task" to preach the message of Jesus to everyone he could. His focus was so sharp that it caused anyone who might waffle to misunderstand what he was doing. John Mark left Paul and Barnabas when they headed into tough territory to share the message with "all" the Gentiles they could. That mission was not for the faint of heart or the weak in pure commitment. So when Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark back into their group for their next journey, Paul said "Nope!". Paul and Barnabas "had words" and Barnabas took John Mark with him and went back to Cyprus, which was his home. Paul chose Silas and they traveled back through the same area where they had established churches in order to strengthen those churches and keep them going.

When you stop moving forward in ministry there is a chance you will be put on a shelf. Just keep in mind the sharp edges of commitment will stretch you every time and that is not accepted easily by everyone. Jesus said this in Luke 9:62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” For Paul the "kingdom of God" entailed sharing the message of that kingdom and establishing the Lord's church wherever he went and his "sharp edges was a lifelong calling that caused him to keep his "hand to plow" and to "keep on plowing!"

What are you plowing? Are you plowing new ground and sowing the seeds of salvation wherever you go? When you commit your life to that calling you will also have sharp edges and a focused commitment to the calling God has put on your life. Paul's commitment looked like this and sounded like his words in Philippians 1:For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. His sharp edges showed themselves in a very focused life commitment that was the result of a heavenly calling on his life. God singled him out for this commitment and burned it deeply within Paul's life. Oh to have that kind of focus!

The Pilgrimage Continues

David Warren

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