There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. – 1 Corinthians 12:4-11NLT
You are unique, there is nobody else out there like you. Since the beginning of time there has never been another person like you. Nobody has your smile, your eyes, your hands, your hair. Nobody owns your handwriting or your voice. In all of time, there has never been anybody who laughs in exactly your way. And what makes you laugh, or cry, or think, may have a totally different response in another. You are the only one in the whole of creation who has your particular set of abilities. Stop comparing yourself and your life and your gifts and talents with everybody else, because God has a different walk with you! We serve a PERSONAL GOD. Some of the founding Fathers were Deists. Deists believed in an impersonal God. They believed that God pressed the “play” button, but wasn’t involved in the intimate details of our lives. The psalmist tells us, “he knows our frame”. He told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” In the sermon on the mount Jesus told us, “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”. God is intimately involved in encouraging us, and exhorting us, to be ALL HE CREATED US TO BE!
Leader, because we do not fit in this world, we will need encouragement on this journey. The Bible is a book of encouragement, it gives us hope, that is why it is called, THE GOSPEL, which means GOOD NEWS! If you have ever had a bad day, or a bad week, or year- you know that GOOD NEWS can be an encouragement. In John 14:1 Jesus encourages us, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Since we are NOT of this world, but we are IN this world, it can become discouraging. Coronavirus, lockdowns, lost houses, lost businesses, our cities being looted and burned down, race-wars being propagated by the media and progressives- we need some ENCOURAGEMENT! For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) God is the ultimate encourager and He wants us to BE LIKE HIM and “put courage” into others. It is a gifting, it is a choice and it is NEEDED! We have many people that want to teach others, but what we need is people encouraging each other to allow themselves to be USED by God to reach their God-given potential! The gift of encouragement or exhortation differs from the gift of teaching in that exhortation focuses on the practical application of the Bible. The gift of teaching focuses on the meaning and content of the Word, one with the gift of encouragement focuses on the practical application of the Word. He or she can relate to others, in groups and individually, with understanding, sympathy, and positive guidance. Teaching says, “This is the way you should go”; encouragement says, “I will help you go that way.” A person with the gift of encouragement can help another person move from pessimism to optimism.
Conduit, exhortation is a gift of God and a gift to others. To understand the word, we need to go to the original language. Paraklésis carries the idea of bringing someone closely alongside in order to “exhort,” “urge,” “encourage,” “give joy,” and “comfort” him or her. All of these actions make up the gift of encouragement. Interestingly, when Jesus conversed with His disciples on the night of His arrest, He spoke of the Holy Spirit as the “Helper” or “Comforter” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26), which is why the Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the “Paraclete,” the One who comes alongside to exhort and encourage us. One of the best examples of someone with the gift of encouragement is Barnabas. His real name was Joseph, however, his name was changed to “Barnabas,” which means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). Barnabas encouraged the newly converted SAUL when others in the church were wary of him. (Acts 9:27) In Acts 15:36–41; Barnabas chooses John Mark as a ministry partner, despite Mark’s having deserted a previous mission endeavor with Paul. To Paul’s disagreement, Barnabas gave Mark a second chance. John Mark went on to write the Gospel of Mark. Barnabas continually evidenced the gift of encouragement, calling others to his side in order to help, comfort, and encourage them to become more effective for Christ. Remember his name was Joseph, but God called him to be an encourager, and it changed his identity! Today, change your identity, be THE ONE. to put courage into others! Today come alongside a brother or a sister in need and give them a HAND UP, a PICK ME UP, or a LOOK UP. We all need encouragement to be at the place where PAUL wound up: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. May God put an encourager in your life! Today, may you be the answer to prayer and be someone else’s son/daughter of encouragement!