The 37-year-old was handed the responsibility of leading the line against Hibernian in the absence of banned 27-goal hitman Alfredo Morelos.
The veteran former England star did not let his manager down as he completed the Light Blues' 3-0 romp in the capital with a finish that displayed the quality of his finishing prowess.
He took two touches to shift the ball past Jason Naismith before drilling past stationary Hibs keeper Ofir Marciano.
The red-hot form of Morelos has made it difficult for Gerrard to give Defoe the minutes he craves but there was no sign of rustiness at Easter Road as he grabbed his first goal since October - a month after his last start.
The striker's 18-month loan move from Bournemouth is up in the summer and Gerrard remains keen to push through a deal that will see the ex-West Ham and Spurs striker make Glasgow his permanent base.
The Ibrox boss - whose side raced ahead after Ryan Kent and Joe Aribo struck inside the opening eight minutes - knows the clock is ticking on his old international team-mate's career and reckons the Gers faithful should cherish every moment.
"Jermain's not going to be around for much longer," said Gerrard. "Probably another couple of years hopefully, but we all need to admire that forward play from Jermain.
"The first touch was top, the second touch was world class and the third touch is all about Defoe.
"There was a lot of pressure on Jermain last night because of Alfredo's sending off at Motherwell but I thought he was really good."
Defoe's 53rd-minute goal came after Gers had put the game to bed inside eight minutes.
Aribo forced Marciano into a mistake for the opener, with Kent capitalising on an empty net with a cool first-time finish.
Aribo then left Hibs stunned when he added a quick-fire second after a slick combination move with Ryan Jack down the right-hand side.
Gerrard added: "A lot is made about forward players and their technique and stuff but for the first goal, Joe just shows complete desire and hunger to chase a lost cause.
"Ryan Kent got the rewards of that. His finish is a lot more difficult than people will think.
"The second goal was about Jacko and Joe - pure quality. The finish is top, top-drawer from a player who was outstanding again."
Gers now have two games left before the winter break - first against Kilmarnock at home on Boxing Day and then their December 29 trip to Celtic Park.
Gerrard is hoping to trim the numbers on his bloated squad during January but admits there might be scope to make additions if the right deal pops up.
He said: "We're always on the lookout at Rangers because we're always striving to be the best.
"So you never say never, but I don't think there will be much change to the squad - there will be more outgoings than incoming."