Euodius and Syntyche I beg you by name to make up your differences as Christians should! And, my true fellow-worker help these women. They both worked hard with me for the Gospel, as did Clement and all my other fellow-workers whose names are in the book of life. (JBP)
Many church leaders can testify that what is most draining about leading a church is the internal disputes within the church. Sure, people outside the church may misunderstand us and even attack us. Sure, there is enough heartache and pain in the congregation to occupy our attention and cause us some distress.
But it is when people within the church are in serious conflict with one another that can sap any joy out of ministry. The problem is hinted at by Paul. These two women were partners in ministry. They were not enemies of Jesus or the church. He got on OK with them, but they could not get on with one another. They did great things for Jesus, but these significant allies had become adversaries.
Sometimes these disputes can arise out of personality differences. Or out of some mixed motives in ministry which entail a desire for power or control. Occasionally there are some doctrinal issues, but these are relatively rare. Whatever the cause, disputes between colleagues in ministry are the most wearying disputes to others. And if not resolved, they can hinder the work that each of the adversaries is seeking to do.
We must sadly face the fact that our most serious enemy is within. How can we be agents of peace and reconciliation in the world if we can’t get it done in our own backyard?