Spiritual Gift of Encouragement
Encouragement: A Spiritual Gift Definition
People possessing the spiritual gift of encouragement typically display a unique ability to help others gain a positive emotional and spiritual perspective on their circumstances. We can trust Encouragers to find the positive in any situation. For them, “the glass is always half full”. So, they naturally motivate Christ Followers to persevere in their struggle against sin, difficult times, and God’s mission for His Church. The word Encouragement means “to instill courage into another person”.
Romans 12:8 and Hebrews 10:24, 25 tells us to “encourage one another”. This spiritual gift is displayed in the life of a man named Joseph. We first learn about Joseph in Acts 4:36 and 37. Joseph sells all that he has and lays the money at the feet of the Apostles. Then, from that time on, Joseph’s name was changed to “Barnabas” meaning, “Son of Encouragement”. In addition, Acts 9:26 and 27 tells us that when the disciples were afraid of Paul (Saul) because he had previously persecuted Christians. They doubted his conversion was sincere. But, it was Barnabas who risked his life to visit Paul and then personally introduced him to the disciples. As a result, in Acts 13, the Holy Spirit guided the Antioch Church to set apart Paul and Barnabas for missionary work. So, Barnabas became Paul’s became ministry partners.
Barnabas sold all he had for the welfare of others within the Church. This type of encouragement is best exemplified when the encourager receives no personal benefit from the encouragement offered. There are many hurting and damaged people in this sinful world. They have been “used and abused”. So, their level of trust in others is minimal. Sacrificial encouragement can help people recover, heal, and trust.
Leadership is lonely and emotionally draining. Typically, people look to receive from ministry leaders. However, a very few Encouragers seek to minister to the church leader. Encouragers are essential to the success of any ministry leader.
Risky Ministry Encouragement
New ministry ventures are risky. Often, people attempting to begin a new church, ministry or mission have many critical “voices” in their life. In addition, doubt and fear of failure naturally lingers in their minds. New Ministry Developers need reminding that God is in control, that nothing that is of God will ever fail if we remain faithful to the Holy Spirit’s leading. There is no greater encouragement to the New Ministry Developer than when the “Encourager” gets personally involved and “takes the risk” with everyone else. After all, the Encourager possesses significant confidence/faith in the nature and purposes of God. Like Barnabas, Encouragers can often take the risks that others fear.