Having then gifts differing, let us use them…
…he who exhorts, in exhortation.
Romans 12:6, 8 (NKJV)
As the year goes along, I want to touch on various gifts mentioned in the bible which we are covering in our Sunday morning class. For me, the question was, where do I begin? It seemed logical to start with this idea of exhortation or as the NIV says, encourage. The Greek word here, in its basic form, means to call to one’s side, call for, summon and can be done in a way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc. (Thayer’s).
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works…but exhorting one another…
When it comes to encouragement, there is never too much of it. Although there will be those gifted in this area, we are all called as God’s children to be encouragers, “so much more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) To the church in Thessalonica, Paul writes, “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1st Thessalonians 5:11) The exhortation of one another is to be part of the very fabric of who we are as followers of Christ.
One reason for encouragement was previously mentioned; that is, to stir up love and good works. Another reason for encouragement, at least in part, can be seen in Hebrews 3:13, “[B]ut exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” The activity of Satan in this world is to lure us, God’s children, back into the world! (1st Peter 5:8) We can use all the encouragement we can get, right? This is why the encourager must “let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)
The one gifted with this task plays a vital role. Jim McGuiggan writes, “The teacher teaches what the will of God is and calls for. The exhorter calls him to the performance of it by inspiring and encouraging and challenging words.” Are you gifted in this area? We may all be responsible to encourage, but only some are gifted.