What is the gift of encouragement and does everyone have it?
The gift of encouragement or exhortation is found in Paul’s list of gifts in Romans 12:7–8. The word translated “encourage” or “exhortation” is the Greek word paracletos, or “paraclete,” which basically means “to call to one’s side.” Paracletos can have several meanings, including “exhort,” “urge,” “encourage,” and “comfort.” All of these make up the gift of encouragement.
Since every member of the body does not have the same function (vs 4) we do not all have this particular gift, but we are all called to be an encourager. To some, it comes as natural as breathing. These are the people who always seem to know what to say and how to tactfully say it.
For the rest of us, it’s a tad more complicated. We bumble though awkward moments and long silences knowing our words are inadequate. But praise God His words are more than enough. Scripture is full of encouraging verses that, when shared, do more than provide a pep talk – they point toward life. What better encouragement is there?
How can you be a better encourager? Speak truth. God’s truth. Act on your love for others. Consider what a small group from our church recently did for us. After a study on encouragement, they gifted us with letters, verses, and a vase of bright spring flowers. We were not celebrating a birthday, or anniversary, or anything special. We were just being loved.