If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.
εἴτε ὁ παρακαλῶν, ἐν τῇ παρακλήσει
If the one encouraging in the encouraging.
This is the last gift set it this format. The same applies as applied to the others before it. Focus on the encouraging and do the best you can. Don’t be swayed by other gifts. Just be the best encourager you can be.
The word used here is an interesting one. It is παρακαλῶν, similar to παράκλητος (parakletos) the word used for the Holy Spirit. The comforter, the encourager, the helper. Following in the footsteps of the Holy Spirit. What more precious gift could there be than that? All the more incentive to be the best encourager you can be. But of course a tall order to emulate the Holy Spirit. Or if that is too high a challenge then try Barnabus, the son of encouragement.
The sense of this word [παρακαλῶν] is all about setting aside our needs or worries and coming alongside someone else in need. Empathise with them, feel their burden and draw alongside. Take more time out to notice others in need around you. You will be the better for it and so will they. Like Paul says in Philippians, Timothy and Epaphroditus are those who look after the cares of others and are concerned for them. They have this mind in them which was also in Christ. Looking after others and taking a genuine interest in their welfare. Is that something that you do? There are those who do it naturally. It comes as easily as breathing to them. Is that you? If it is, focus on your gift and exercise it with passion. It is a desperately needed gift both inside the body of Christ and outside as well.
But I must add it is like the gift of teaching. Yes it is a gift, but there is a degree to which all of us, every Christian, ought to be practising it to some degree. The same is true of this gift of encouragement. While it appears to be considered a gift but it is also a natural consequence of being a Christian and having the king of all encouragers living within you, namely the Holy Spirit. Remember, that is who He is, the παράκλητος (parakletos). The helper. That being the case there ought to a natural outflow of who He is coming from us. But then on another level there are those who function in the role of encouragement to a higher degree. It seems the meaning behind Paul’s comments and the reason he has organised his lists as he has. He includes things that we wouldn’t think are gifts. But don’t try to analyse it too much. I often think that is a fault with many commentators. They analyse it to the nth degree and miss out on the majesty and the depth of the Word as a result. They pick it apart in minute detail but then don’t put it back together again and look at it in its totality. I don’t want to fall into that trap. We need to pay attention to the little details but keep the big picture in mind as well. Easy to say and hard to do.
Sympathy = I’m sorry you are hurting. Empathy = I hurt with you. Compassion = I’ll pay any price to stop your hurt. Love like Jesus today. Rick Warren
The surest way out of a bad day is to help someone else out of theirs. Max Lucado