“Today’s Spiritual Gift – Encouragement”

The Beans:

The Background:

Each of us are gifted with specific abilities and talents, and as you can imagine, when all of these gifts and talents come together (members of the Body of Christ working together), that is when we function the best.

This study is designed to introduce you to some of the Spiritual gifts listed in the Bible, and hopefully, as you learn a little more about them, you’ll be able to identify your own strengths.

When we know our gifts, and begin using them well, THAT is when our faith truly opens up, and we begin to see a major difference in our hearts and lives, AND in the lives of those around us!

The Verse:

1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

James 1:19

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”

 

The Fill:

What’s the point?

Today’s Spiritual Gift: Encouragement

We hear the word “encouragement,” and imagine someone offering advice and/or a hug to someone going through a struggle.

Thinking about offering advice or a hug, causes some of us feel compelled to reach out to someone, however, it also makes some of us withdrawal. Encouragement is not a gift that we all possess. After all that’s why it takes many parts to form the one Body of Christ. It is not up to any one person to possess all of the gifts.

However, I do believe, that whether or not encouragement is a gift you were blessed with or not, we can all offer “proactive encouragement”. Meaning, you can diffuse situations in the lives of those around you, before they become a major problem.

I really see this played out most with the people you love the most. Think of the person (or people) that you can be your true self around. You know, show those sides of yourself that you wouldn’t want the rest of the world to see. It could be your parents, your spouse, your children, close friends or family members.

Just as those people mean a great deal to us, we too hold a lot of power in those people’s lives as well … more power than we often realize.

Today’s second verse from James, highlights the need for all of us to be quick to listen. That is the first piece, LISTEN. Watch for subtle hints in their behavior. You know your children/parents/spouse better than anyone else in the world!

So often, my husband (and my mom) will ask/say, “Are you ok? You just don’t seem like yourself.” That one sentence opens my eyes to the fact, that no I’m not ok, and I really just need someone to listen.

Instead of being reactive to my behavior, becoming defensive and fighting back … when my loved ones offer to listen, they are proactively offering encouragement. They allow me to get whatever it is out of my system, before it bubbles up into an argument or bigger problem.

We should all aim to be intentional about loving the people in our lives. Even if we aren’t blessed with the gift of offering deep and profound advice, just offering the listening ear, or simply giving people space … that can be all the encouragement your loved ones need!

The Steam:

What does all of this mean to me/how can I apply that to my life today? 

To help you identify what your spiritual gifts are, there are several tools and tests you can take for free online.

Or to help you begin thinking about it, I encourage you to spend the course of this study reflecting on the following questions:

  1. What do you enjoy doing?
  2. When you hear about people helping others, do you feel drawn to specific stories? (i.e. children, those living in poverty, racial equality etc.)
  3. Ask someone who knows you well, what gifts they see in you? What do they think you are best at?