Episode 1. The Encourager
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Some people are put on this earth to encourage the rest of us. In fact – each one of us can probably think of someone like that in our lives – and they are such incredibly special people. Problem …
Some people are put on this earth to encourage the rest of us. In fact – each one of us can probably think of someone like that in our lives – and they are such incredibly special people. Problem is, half the time they don’t realise what a God given gift they have.
Have you ever been in a room full of people, large or small, and you take a look around, how they’re all so different. You look around the room like that, even with just 10 or 20 people in it and no two are alike. Even identical twins, they might look the same but they tend to be quite different as people with different motivations and drives and talents. We’re all so different and that is as it’s always meant to be.
Imagine how boring this world would be if everybody was just like me or just like you. God had a plan to make us all different, with different strengths and weaknesses so that I can be a blessing to you and you can be a blessing to me and that is such an awesome thing.
That’s why last week and again this week on the program, we’re looking at the seven main areas of gifting that we all tend to find ourselves fitting into and as I read through the list there are a couple that I think, “Yep, that’s absolutely me” and there are others where I shake me head and say, “No, not me but I know someone else who’s gifted in that area”.
You might recall that last week on the program we spent some time unpacking those different areas of gifting because I think it’s important for each one of us to discover our gig in life. To discover what we’re made to be and what we’re made to do and the apostle Paul writes about this so brilliantly in his letter to the Romans, chapter 12, let’s just take another quick look. He writes:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone, ‘Don’t think of yourselves more highly than you should but think of yourselves with sober judgement in accordance to the measure of faith that God’s given you.’ Just as each one of us has a body with many members and these members don’t all have the same function, so in Christ, we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others.
We’ve got different gifts according to the grace given to us. If your gift is in prophesying then prophesy in proportion to your faith. If it’s serving then serve; if it’s teaching, well get out there and teach; if it’s encouraging, then encourage; if it’s contributing to the needs of others then give generously; if it’s leadership then govern diligently; if it’s showing mercy then do it cheerfully.
And last week on the program we looked at the first few of those seven areas of gifting. The prophet: the one who speaks out on behalf of God, the mouthpiece of God if you will. The servant: the hands of God, the person whose particular gifting it is to show God’s love through practical service. And the teacher: the person with a particular knack for teaching us the things of God in a way that somehow they just drop into our hearts.
Well, today we’re going to look at the 4th of those; the encourager. “If your gift is encouraging then, for goodness sake, encourage people”, writes Paul. There are some people in this world with a heart for encouraging others. Maybe you’re one of them, I wonder if you can think of one or two others in you life and those people are such a blessing to be around.
Well what do they look like? Maybe you think, “Hmm maybe I’m an encourager”, what are some of the characteristics of somebody with a gift of encouragement. Well let’s go through a bit of a list and have a look. Someone with that gift loves to encourage others to live victoriously; they want to see a visible response when they do that. They prefer to apply the truth rather than to research it. They prefer systems and information that have practical application. They love to describe precise steps of action that can aid personal growth.
They love working with people, an encourager encourages other people to develop their personal gifts and ministries. An encourager finds truth in experience and then validates it with scripture. They love doing personal counselling; they’ll discontinue personal counselling if they don’t see any effort for that person to change. An encourager tends to be a really good communicator; they see trials as an opportunity for personal growth. They accept people as they are without judging them.
If you’re an encourager you’re greatly loved because of your personal attitude, people want to be around you. You prefer to witness with life rather than verbally. You make decisions easily. You always complete what you’ve started; an encourager wants to clear up problems with others really quickly instead of sweeping them under the carpet. An encourager expects a lot of themselves and of other people and yet an encourager needs a sounding board for bouncing ideas and thoughts.
Now they’re the good aspects of someone who’s an encourager and you might say, “You know something, a whole bunch of those I really relate to. Mmm, maybe I have this gift from God of being an encourager.” But you know, there are some problem areas too. They tend to interrupt others with eagerness to give opinions or advice. They’ll use scriptures out of context to make a point; maybe they can be cut and dry in describing steps and action. They can be outspoken and opinionated and sometimes they can become a little overly self-confidant. But all in all, encouragers are wonderful people and you know what I love about encouragers in this world, they help us to make the rubber hit the road.
See we all get discouraged sometimes, we do but the person who’s gifted to be an encourager often doesn’t even see that they have any valuable gifting at all. They tend not to be the upfront person on the stage or in the spotlight, they tend to be someone who quietly goes around and builds up other people. Who just draws up alongside with, with a word of encouragement or rings and says, “Gee you did a great job of that” or “What about this”.
I know one like that, I have a really good friend who’s an encourager and he is just a delight to be around. Now he doesn’t always say things to kind of smooth my ego, sometimes he’ll point out mistakes but you know, because he’s an encourager he has a license to do that, he’s got an anointing, he’s got a gifting for being able to do that.
And if you’re someone who’s an encourager, if that’s your gift in life, my prayer for you today is that your heart will just light up with what a wonderful gift you are to the rest of us. See, without you encouragers out there, quietly getting around and blessing the rest of us, the rest of us just wouldn’t be what we are today.
Do you realise that Mr or Mrs Encourager, with a capital E, God has given you such an incredible and special gift and to the rest of us who, in our hearts, now recognise the encourager’s that God put along in our paths, gee we should go and thank those people and validate them and recognise them for what they are; God’s gift to us. When we head down the wrong path, when we become downcast, when we lose faith, they draw alongside and bring Jesus right into the middle of that place.
It’s a bit like that Bette Midler song, “You are the Wind Beneath my Wings”:
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way,
you always walked a step behind.
So I was the one with all the glory
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long,
a beautiful smile to hide the pain.
Did you ever know that you’re my hero
and everything I would like to be,
I can fly higher than an eagle
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.’
That’s what encouragers are like, what an amazing gift.