The Gift of Galvanization

  I love words. (Sometimes too much, say the longer blog entries!) Have you ever been on the hunt for a specific word you couldn’t think of, and in the process of searching for it, you stumble upon other cool new words/meanings?

No? Okay, I am a bit of a word nerd. But in a quick thesaurus word search, I noticed under ‘encourage’, a synonym was ‘galvanize’.

This immediately caught my attention. hmm…

Romans 12 6-8 says: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to galvanize, then give galvanize;…… <record scratch>…. wait, that’s not right!

Okay, so Scripture uses the word ‘encourage’ instead of ‘galvanize’.

What do you think of when you hear ‘galvanize’? I knew what I thought of.. it wasn’t ‘encourage’.

Why did this catch my attention? I have been told I have the gift of encouragement. In all honesty, I used to struggle with it.

No really, somewhere I secretly hoped my gift would be something more like leading, teaching, or prophesying, … something really… special.. beneficial in the lives of others… but encouraging??

Anyone can encourage, right?  Isn’t it just about applauding, giving support, and cheering others on?  That’s so …

…easy.  Or is it?

I didn’t realize what impact I can have on the lives of others when I am submitted to God, accepting of the gift He has given me, and willing to share it with others. (By the way, yet another thing God knows more about me than I do myself; I really don’t prefer to be the center of attention. So this gift is truly more fitting to my personality!) It is after a good conversation, when a friend is struggling and you get that note that says ‘thanks again, for the encouragement’, you realize, you were right where God wanted you, for His purpose. To lift up, and encourage another.

I was curious to know if I was odd in my encourage/galvanize thought process, so I randomly asked a couple friends.

Less than 10% responded with something that resembled ‘encourage’. The remaining mostly echoed my thoughts.. steel.

Galvanized Steel.

Galvanized steel has gone through a process, in which the steel is coated in a layer of zinc. The purpose: to keep the steel from corroding. Rust won’t attack zinc, like it will steel, so galvanizing helps maintain the integrity of the steel structure.

So let me get this straight.. in encouraging others, I am ‘galvanizing’ them?
Yep. In effect, the encouragement coats them in a very special layer that will help prevent proverbial ‘rust’.

God knew what each one would need when he created us, and who we would be planted around to help.

The best part: this coating is not like paint that can be worn off easily, the process permanently bonds the zinc to the steel, becoming a part of the steel. Thus, when I encourage someone, I am truly building them up. Mind you, not of or for my glory, but His.

Want to go deeper? The zinc coating, is more of a sacrificial layer. It will oxidize first (eventually wear down from exposure to the elements), exposing the steel. Thus, reapplication is necessary! And remember, some ‘climates’ are harder than others, so reapplication may be necessary when the climate is more severe.

Translation: Encouragement is not always a ‘once and done’ event. It might need to be ongoing. In particular – for seasons of extreme need for others.

Do you have a gift you have been told you have and others have appreciated, but you don’t think is ‘worthy’? You might be like me, and selfishly wish what your gift were more ‘visible’.

But you can’t tell the steel from the zinc, can you? What you can tell is the non-galvanized steel, from the galvanized steel.

Thank you, God, for this wonderful gift you have given me. Thank you for allowing me to come to an immense appreciation of it, how you created my personality to be fitting for it, and how deeply necessary it is to share with others. Thank you for my friends, who continue to speak into my life, encouraging the use of this gift. Please help me to continue to galvanize others, as you will, that they will see your light, love, and glorify it. Amen.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12: 6-8)

Photo Credits:

Steel – Duke Green
Galvanized Steel – spweber
Galvanized Steel Hatch – Ben Cooper



  1. Colleen
    25 August, 2012

    Beautiful, Catherine! Love your perspective on encouragement and galvanization.

    • Catherine
      26 August, 2012

      Thank you Colleen! -for reading and the kind remarks 🙂 xo!

  2. Deb G
    30 August, 2012

    I love the analogy! You definitely have galvanized me many times. Thanks for always being there for me to say kind words.

    • Catherine
      31 August, 2012

      Hi Deb! Not quite as frequently as you have been my coating of encouragement 🙂 Thank you for your sweet note, but more so, being so inspiring in my life! xo!

  3. Heather Conrad
    31 August, 2012

    Thank you for your kind words today, and even for reposting! I love hearing your heart, and I LOVE what you penned so beautifully here. I learned something new. Thanks for helping me to keep my eyes on him and in encouragement in sharing all that He affords to us.


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