Last night, I got together with a wonderful Christian woman who has been teaching local women the Bible for years. We sat down to a delicious dinner at a local Italian restaurant, with my list of questions, and a natural compatibility. I dug into my shrimp scampi with gusto (remember, I am 18 weeks pregnant), and Sherilyn encouraged me from start-to-finish.
One of the first things she asked me was, “Are you sure you don’t have the spiritual gift of exhortation with the skill of teaching?” Somehow, I knew the answer right away, but I asked her to explain. She said that the gift of exhortation is when you love to shine the light of God’s Word, inviting people to see, live, and think rightly. Teaching involves a much more systematic approach, with notes, homework, and careful assessment. I told her I thought she was onto something…
When I got home, I pulled down my big, fat Strong’s Concordance and looked up all the references for “exhort” and “exhortation”. In Scripture, it usually occurs alongside teaching (and patience!).
From the Greek dictionary:
exhort (parakaleo) = “to call near, invite, invoke (by imploration, giving advise, or consolation), beseech, call for, be of good comfort, desire, intreat, pray.” This totally reminds me of my rough-draft tagline! “Inviting you to live in the light of God’s Word.” Coincidence? Of course not!
From the Webster’s dictionary:
exhort = to incite by words or advice, to advise or warn earnestly.
If you know me well, you can answer her question for me. Um, YES! I LOVE TO EXHORT. Love it. Love it. Love it.
I love to give the best advice possible and explain Scripture clearly so that people see a great, big lightbulb and say, “OH! What MAGNIFICENT TRUTH!”
I’m laughing out loud with glee just typing about it.
I also love to teach, but I can see now why God would be leading me into a season of developing my ability to teach the Bible. Because it’s a skill that I can improve and, with God’s help and guidance, I’ll keep on.
This may be “Day 31 of 31” in the blogosphere, but in real-time, I’ve just begun…