The Functional Gift of Encouragement
Paul, summoned by the Lord while living a life of persecuting those who claimed Jesus to be the Son of God. His conversion is radical, his story monumental. He penned most of the New Testament because he is an encourager. He wanted you and I to have real solutions to life’s problems, and in doing so he didn’t shy away from the hard realities of life, but encouraged us to remain steadfast, even when encountering them.
One of his partners for some time, was a guy named Barnabas, his name actually means Son of Encouragement. He was known as a load lifter, someone who would help the church grow by encouraging both those within, and those being reached.
Paul and Barnabas have the gift of encouragement. The gift of encouragement is given to certain people to stimulate faith, coach, support and strengthen people in the body of Christ.
If you are interested in understanding how the Word of God applies to you, if you are able to recognize the truth and you believe God can help you in life, you may very well have the gift of encouragement. As you discover these things for yourself and can no longer keep them to yourself you start to give these treasures away to other people.
You draw out the best in other people, caring for and coaching them to the great purposes God has for their lives. You’ll sit with them in times of trouble, hurt or pain. You’ll cheer for them in their endeavors, pursuits and goals.
As you encourage them, you will be asking them to stay true to the path. You’ll offer caution surrounding the perils of straying away into worldly temptations. You’ll counsel when given permission, guide when asked and love at all times.
Here are some characteristics of those who have the spiritual gift of encouragement:
1. You believe in others. People with the gift of encouragement see others mature in their faith.
2. You take others on a journey. You help people discover the remarkable spiritual gifts within themselves.
3. You make the connection for people. You show others the connection between their earthly welfare in life and their spiritual strength.
4. You point people to the Word of God and the Savior Jesus. You remind others of the teachings of Jesus Christ as a guide to how others can create a great life.
5. You encourage by example. You show, through your own example, how others can develop a strong bond with Jesus Christ.
6. You reveal. You point out how suffering is a sign that someone is facing a spiritual test, and show how the Lord has prepared us for overcoming even the greatest pains and setbacks.
7. You counsel and give direction. You explain how to apply God’s Word in practical ways to end difficult times.
If you are blessed with the ability to exhort and encourage others to follow the ways, teachings and life of Jesus Christ, you will be an instrument in the hands of God, who uses all the spiritual gifts for His body. Yet, you will be on the front row, in the trenches, helping people find their way to the path God has for them, and also serving those who’ve slipped from certainty back to the narrow track God has purposed for them.
For some additional perspective from Pastor Jeff Knight about the gift of serving, you can go here.
The Gift of Encouragement:
Segment 1: Definition, Characteristics, Potential Weaknesses
Segment 2: Principle Function, Responsibility, Call to Action