Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.– Romans 12:8
We move now to the next gift in this passage – exhortation. Every Born-Again, child of God should exhort. Every preacher is expected to exhort (1 Corinthians 14:3; 1 Timothy 4:13) but the GIFT of exhortation is not given to everybody in the church.
Let’s first begin with what exhortation means. The breakdown of the word literally means to call to one’s side. This is an intense call. The idea is to beseech or implore someone to come to your side. I’ve heard many times that this word simply means encouragement. It does include the idea of encouragement, but the big result of an exhortation is comfort. Exhortation ENCOURAGES people to go on and COMFORTS people where they’re at.
An exhortation is when a father calls his 6-year old little girl to his side to give her words of encouragement after her dog died. An exhortation is when God opens up His Word to you during a rough time to comfort you and encourage you to fight on. An exhortation is also when that one person comes up to you in the church to say they are praying for you after you went through a long, difficult week fighting battles of temptation and frustration.
There aren’t too many who utilize this gift the way it’s intended. I have been blessed to have many in my life who have exhorted and comforted me when I needed it most, but there is only one earthly person I know personally who I believe has for fact been given this gift. I went through about 2 years of seemingly continual, difficult trials and times of testing. I am sad to say that I did not handle those times as well as I could have. Throughout those difficult days, there was one person who took every opportunity to give me words of exhortation. The Lord used him in a very special way to bless me. The same words could have been spoken by someone else, but the Lord touched my heart through HIS words. I’ll repeat this again, spiritual gifts are NOT talents and skills. God can make a preacher out of a stutterer and a teacher out of someone with a 4th-grade education. This man was used by God to deliver to me words to encourage me to go on and to comfort me. Exhortations from those with this gift from my observations seem to be timely. There were times when just as I was hitting it hard, and I felt like I was being overwhelmed, this man would call me up to let me know he was praying for me. This man is not a preacher or a teacher. He is an exhorter.
I’m afraid many people who have been given this gift are not using it. I’m not so sure God has given this gift to so few people. There are real problems facing members of our churches. God’s placed EXHORTERS in our churches to help us! I’ve seen church members suffer in their spiritual walk due to discouragement and bitterness. I’ve seen them drift farther and farther away from the Lord. What were to happen if someone in the church wakes up to the fact that God has given them this very special, important gift and USES it to help that wandering one?! We need people to wake up out of their spiritual sleep and figure out what their spiritual gift is! We need someone to be an exhorter.
Is that someone you?