Thursday, February 25, 2010

Encouragement is a gift...

“…by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:3-8, NIV)

If encouragement is the one task to which all of us are called, the ways in which we serve the church in an encouraging way are determined by the gifts God gives each of us through his Spirit. Some of you will encourage best by teaching. Others of you will do it by showing mercy or giving leadership. A few of you will bolster the faith of others by giving generously. And some will encourage by encouraging.

Did you catch it? Encouragement is a spiritual gift. This is not an excuse to pass the task of courage building off to the gifted. We are all called to encourage. Even if we’re not great at it, we should try.

Thankfully, it’s not up to the worst encouragers among us to do the bulk of the encouraging. Those with the gift of encouragement walk around blessing others without even meaning to. There are some in every church who have this gift. Their words are nearly always positive and uplifting. They know just what to do and just what to say to strengthen the faith of others. That is their gift and we should thank God for giving us that gift of his Spirit through them. He has given that gift and every other gift for the benefit of the church.

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