I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Romans 12:1-8

God has designed that his love, compassion, and tenderness come through those with the gift of mercy. Of course, all believers are to be merciful, but those gifted to show mercy are God’s special messengers of mercy and tenderness. It is their special contribution. Remember these gifts are not Sunday morning gifts, they are life gifts, they are to be manifest at all times in all phases of our lives to both believers and unbelievers.1

This gift is sometimes difficult for men, especially teen-age young men who are developing their masculine manhood. Our culture does not encourage men to be tender, compassionate, and loving. There’s not enough testosterone in that kind of behavior. But men who will walk in the Spirit and manifest this gift are unbelievably powerful in their impact for the gospel.

This special gift of mercy is to “feel” or sense where people are and to reach out in a supportive and compassionate way. Mercy meets the sympathetic and emotional needs of the body of Christ.

In our society, men with this gift of mercy often are misunderstood. Sometimes they are hard to get to know because they have been taught by experience to repress their feelings and are accused of being weak and indecisive. They just can’t get tough with people.

Perhaps the best example of a shower of mercy in the Bible is the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).

  • When he saw the injured man, he had compassion. He had the ability to feel his distress (Luke 10:33).
  • The Good Samaritan went to him. Showers of mercy are actually drawn to people who hurt. They seem to reach out to the broken and under-dogs (Luke 10:34).
  • He bound up his wounds. He wanted to remove the hurt (Luke 10:34).
  • He took care of him. He was as much or more concerned about the person as the physical (Luke 10:34). The shower of mercy centers on people and not on tasks.
  • He paid the injured man’s bill. He was sensitive to the embarrassment of not being able to pay. He was aware of the delicate matters that hurt people (Luke 10:35).
  • He trusted the innkeeper. He had the ability to discern the innkeeper’s sincerity and feelings in the matter of continuing the proper care of the injured man (Luke 10:35).

The shower of mercy is exhorted to minister with cheerfulness. People with the gift of mercy may easily repress their feelings, especially men. They may be tempted to turn inward and become depressed. Since they are deep feeling people, they can be easily hurt. Their gift prohibits them from being tough. When the gift is not operating properly, they may let feelings build up until they lash out in momentary anger or repress their feelings and grieve inwardly.

How to operate properly and not be hurt.

Live in your identity in Christ as a servant. Hurts come when our expectations aren’t met. We are overlooked when we think we should be recognized. People aren’t grateful for the assistance we give. Someone else gets credit for some kindness that we did. We expect to be compensated, at least emotionally. A thank you would have been good. A servant serves his or her master and expects recompense from the master, not the recipient. In other words, we show mercy to people as unto the Lord. Remember when Jesus said, You visited me in prison, you fed me, you clothed me? He wasn’t talking about us doing these things literally to him. But as we show mercy to people, we do it as unto him and he is the one who sees and rewards, even if the rewards wait until the New Heaven and New Earth. Keep your expectations for recompense on the Lord and you will not be disappointed.

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  1. Much of this material on Motivational Gifts, comes from an unpublished syllabus created by one of my early professors, Dr. Donald Pickerill.