The Power of a Second Chance

Published 11:56 pm Saturday, May 25, 2024

By Brandon Baggett 

Acts 15:36-41 describes the start of Paul’s second missionary journey. However, this mission campaign commenced with a rocky start. Surprisingly, though, its turbulent beginning was not due to external persecution. Instead, it was because of  “a sharp disagreement” (Acts 15:39 ESV) between Barnabas and Paul. 

This heated argument stemmed from differing viewpoints regarding their traveling companion named John Mark, Barnabas’s own relative. He traveled with their company on the first missionary journey, but he quickly abandoned them to return home (see Acts 13:13). 

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Now it is time for the second journey, and Paul likely felt Mark was too young and immature to bring along again. Barnabas likely wanted to give his relative a second chance. 

Regardless, these two great brothers did not see eye-to-eye on bringing Mark along, and “they separated from each other” (Acts 15:39). 

As we meditate on this snapshot from history, we may wonder who was right in their assessment of Mark. Although I am sure Paul had his reasons to be skeptical of Mark’s place among their mission crew, I believe Barnabas did the right thing in giving this young preacher a second chance. After all, Paul later described Mark as being “very useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11 ESV). 

Barnabas’s decision to invest in Mark paid off, and he seems to have exponentially grown in his faith, maturity, and usefulness in the Lord’s kingdom. This beautiful story illustrates the power of offering a second chance! 

Has someone ever taken a chance on you by giving you an undeserved second chance? I’m sure we all can think of (and be thankful for) at least one Barnabas in our lives. Let’s be a Barnabas to another. Let’s share the power of a second chance! 

Brandon Baggett is preaching minister at Luverne Church of Christ.