Because discipleship is training in the character of Jesus discipleship leads to living as members of the Body of Christ. Discipleship includes getting your hands dirty, getting involved, helping out your brothers and sisters in need. As we continue to look and Barnabas and Paul we see the development of Paul into the apostle of the Gentiles through active service. There is no getting around it: training includes service. Disciples do not sit around and get served upon by others. Follow Jesus and get your hands dirty like He did.
Another important point concerning service: serving with the right heart (very important) develops the lifestyle of poor in spirit. When living for “others first” we take upon ourselves the character of Christ, the selfless life, the life lived as on poor in spirit.
Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders. (Acts 11:27-30, NASB)
It was prophesied that a great famine was going to happen and the disciples rose to the occasion, banded together and sent a financial gift, each to his ability, to the church in Judea. Disciples meet the needs of the church through what God has graciously provided. We should never let a fellow brother or sister be without their basic needs. The team of Barnabas and Paul are sent to bring the gift because they were recognized as reliable and ready for the task. Are you ready to meet the needs of others in your church community? A disciple helps according to his ability.
But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18, NKJV)
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark. Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 12:25-13:3, NASB)
From this passage from Acts please note that each of the three times Barnabas and Saul (Paul) are listed that Barnabas was listed first. It appears at this point Barnabas was still training Paul in ministry as his teacher/discipler. The team came back from fulfilling their ministry of bringing a financial gift from Antioch to Jerusalem and came back to the church in Antioch. The Holy Spirit separated Barnabas and Saul to be sent out on a mission’s trip. They were prayed over and hands were laid on them to commission them for the journey they were about to take. Disciples are to be willing and waiting to be sent out. Being poor in spirit allows one to hear the call when it comes and to act upon it without fail. Barnabas and Paul did just that.
Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God. The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:43-46, NASB)
Three important things happen at this point in the ministry of Paul and Barnabas. First we note that Paul is now becoming the more dominant figure and is listed first. Paul has been discipled to the point of prominence within the church and that is clearly the will of God. Discipleship grows the disciple to where God wants to bring him. We also note that Paul and Barnabas grew bold and the Holy Spirit directed their response to the Jews who rose up in opposition to them. Being poor in spirit allows the disciple to respond properly in every situation as the flesh is suppressed and not allowed to do something unfitting for the glory of God. Lastly we note that the direction of the ministry at this point moves from the Jews to the Gentiles. Paul is ready now to become the apostle to the Gentiles.
And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. (Acts 14:12, NKJV)
Clearly Paul has taken over the preaching duties and is the front man of this missionary team. Paul in discipleship has risen from a persecutor of the church to the apostle to the Gentiles under the direction of Barnabas who discipled Paul.
Become actively involved in a ministry inside your local church. This will serve the Body of Christ and train you in becoming a disciple.