Why the Holy Spirit Wants to Build This Ministry Into Your Life

by | Nov 14, 2018 | Man

As a teenager, I worked part-time in my dad’s company, Builder’s Hardware, in Tampa, Florida. Fascinated by the forklift, I watched with envy as my older brothers and other employees unloaded pallets of hardware from trucks and hoisted them up on shelves in the warehouse. Sadly, I was never legally old enough to operate the machine. Instead, I moved freight around the floor manually with a pallet jack. I always dreamed of one day driving the forklift. Well, two days after graduating from high school, I began traveling with an evangelist in full-time ministry, so I never got the chance. However, God gave me what I call a “forklift ministry”—lifting people up with singing, preaching, praying and writing.

A man in the first-century church had a forklift ministry that we should all strive to emulate. His given name was Joses (a form of Joseph), but he was such an encourager, the apostles nicknamed him Barnabas, meaning “son of consolation or encouragement.” The Greek word paraklesis, translated “consolation,” comes from the same root word as parakletos which is translated “Comforter” to describe the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7). So, Barnabas was clearly a spiritually uplifting person to be around.

Barnabas was a Levite from the Island of Cypress and is mentioned 29 times in the New Testament. Some sources suggest he was among the pilgrims in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Pentecost when 3,000 of them converted to Christ after hearing Peter preach (Acts 2:41). Regardless, he emerged as a prominent leader in the early church. Besides being an encourager, Barnabas was also extremely benevolent—”Barnabas … sold a field he owned, and brought the money and placed it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37). He did an incredibly generous deed by selling his land and donating the proceeds to the church to help needy saints. Ironically, Ananias and Sapphira, perhaps seeing how he was blessed for it, did something similar and brought a curse on themselves (Acts 5). What was the difference? Motive. It’s not just important what we do; it’s also important why we do it. Barnabas sold his property and donated the profit out of the kindness of his heart with no ulterior motives. Ananias and Sapphira tried to deceive the apostles by lying about the sale price and tried to impress people with their “spirituality” and buy clout with the leadership. They were punished; Barnabas was rewarded. Motives matter to God.

While Barnabas played second fiddle to Paul as his preaching partner, he deserves a lion’s share of the credit. After all, if it weren’t for him, we may have never heard of the apostle Paul. Why? Barnabas stuck his neck out and vouched for Paul when others were afraid of him. Before his dramatic, Damascus-Road conversion, “Saul ravaged the church, entering house by house and dragging out both men and women and committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). They suspected he was an imposter trying to infiltrate the church to attack them. Barnabas calmed their fears, and Paul was gradually accepted into their fellowship (Acts 9:26-30). What was the result? “Then the churches … had peace and were built up. And walking … in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31). The forklift ministry was working well.

Soon, revival broke out in Antioch, and the apostles sent Barnabas from Jerusalem to help oversee it. “When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and exhorted them all to remain with the Lord with a loyal heart. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:23-24s). Notice what he did there—he used his forklift ministry to “encourage them all.” As a rising tide lifts all boats, God used Barnabas’ gift to uplift the spirits of all the saints. Then, realizing he needed help with the growing church, Barnabas went to Tarsus and recruited Paul. They returned and stayed in Antioch for an entire year, teaching and encouraging the church there (Acts 11:25-26). God moved so mightily, the locals coined a new term, calling the believers “Christians.” They meant it as a derisive slur or an insulting nickname. The term means “belonging to Christ” or “follower of Christ” and was worn as a badge of honor, not a stigma of shame. What if the modern church became so Christlike that we didn’t just call ourselves “Christians,” but we truly lived up to that great name?

Barnabas’ record isn’t totally stain-free. When he and Paul went on their first missionary journey, they took his nephew, John Mark, as their assistant (Acts 12:12, 25; 13:2-5, Col. 4:10). Midway through the trip, Mark went AWOL and deserted them. About three years later, Barnabas insisted they take Mark again on another tour, but Paul adamantly refused. The division was so deep between them, they parted ways—permanently (Acts 15:36-40). Barnabas and Mark took their own mission trip back to his native Island of Cypress. Paul found a new partner, Silas, and hit the road for Jesus.

We learn from this that even great spiritual leaders experience conflict, and people God uses in great ways are still very human. Barnabas vanished from the biblical record because Luke, who chronicled Acts, traveled with Paul. Years later, Paul must have seen his error because he wrote, “Get Mark, and bring him with you, for he is profitable to me for ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11b). Barnabas should be credited with encouraging his nephew even when Paul didn’t see his potential, because a more mature Mark later wrote the Gospel that bears his name. Once again, Barnabas lifted someone up who was down.

A clever church sign reads, “Don’t put people down except on your prayer list!” People are often beat down by life, circumstances, other people, the devil and their own negative thoughts. They need to be uplifted. Jesus often sought out the downtrodden others shunned to boost their faith. “But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who raises up my head” (Ps. 3:3). God wants to elevate the downcast, and He wants to use us to do it. May God give us all a spirit like Barnabas’—a “forklift ministry” that lifts people up. {eoa}

Ben Godwin is the author of four books and pastors the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church. To read more articles, visit his website at bengodwin.org and take advantage of his four-book bundle for $25.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

The Biblical Way to Rise Above Mediocre Expectations

The Biblical Way to Rise Above Mediocre Expectations

We spend a lot of life figuring out if we “measure up,” a phrase someone coined in the mid-1800s. Even in childhood, we begin comparing ourselves with siblings and kids at school, and it never seems to stop. The problem goes back to Cain and Abel, doesn’t it? Most of...

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

A Better Way to Witness to Others for Christ

”Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Rom. 2:4). Looking retrospectively at my past as an atheist, I can see where God...

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why Does God Want Us to Speak with Tongues?

Why speak with tongues? There are many reasons for speaking in a spiritual language. Primarily, though, the Scriptures require it. The apostle Paul commanded us, saying, “Pray in the Spirit always” (Eph. 6:18). Jude commanded it in verse 20, saying, “Pray in the Holy...

Why God’s Rebuilding is Better Than His Restoration

Why God’s Rebuilding is Better Than His Restoration

Often, I have prayed for the Lord to restore something in my life. Whenever I have gone through a hard season or a broken relationship, my prayers automatically petition the Lord to restore my situation. Whenever there is a loss, and you are going through the grieving...

Why America Must Adopt the Battle Cry of Isaiah

Why America Must Adopt the Battle Cry of Isaiah

A battle cry is used to summon armies to war. A loud, unified shout could intimidate the strongest of enemies. Confidence in battle often tilts the scale toward victory, whereas timidity, fear and cowardliness will surely lead to defeat. In these dreadful times, don’t...

RECENT ARTICLES

Intentionally Raising a Godly Generation

Debbie put her faith in Christ at age 11. In fact, her whole family met Jesus at just about the same time. As her parents began growing in their faith, they nurtured growth in their children as...
Dream Big: How to Cultivate Divine Revelation While You Sleep

Dream Big: How to Cultivate Divine Revelation While You Sleep

Do you have any dreams from God that you have allowed to fall by the wayside? For some of you, it’s time to dream again. For some of you, it’s time to dust off your previous dreams. For some of you, it’s important to realize God is not late; He’s always on time. For...

Prophecy: God Is Bringing About Swift Turnarounds

Prophecy: God Is Bringing About Swift Turnarounds

In the month of August, God is bringing swift turnarounds so that your hard places will become a wide-open field. God is bringing about divine connections in order to strengthen the body of Christ. He is releasing faith for radical generosity, divine strategy to...

End-Times Truth: The Rapture Reveals a Split Church

End-Times Truth: The Rapture Reveals a Split Church

There are several resurrections and raptures in the Bible. I cannot understand those who argue that because there is no mention of the word "rapture" in the Bible they do not believe in it. They only believe in the Second Coming of the Lord. Some arguments are no...

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]