Three Sets of Gifts
Welcome, to this website. I have created it over the past year for one purpose, and that is to add my own understanding and perspective to what I have learned about redemptive gifts from my friend, Arthur Burk. When I first heard the teaching, it was as magnificent a teaching and revelation to me, as if I had discovered light. I will never forget the feeling that somehow I held a key to the universe and that I would never be the same. I was not wrong.
It then became and obsession and a passion, and while I am no where near Arthur's level of depth, many have found my insights helpful, and I am glad to share them and hope they enrich your own quest to understanding.
So, let's start at the beginning....
What is a "redemptive" gift?
It is our design, one of seven, God the Father gave us at birth. Although we are born to a set of parents and carry their DNA, we also carry God's DNA, His image, and He designed us for a particular purpose with a particular set of characteristics that will enable us to unfold our "package": His design.
We all seem to know this, even if we deny that we believe in God or accept His Son, we seem to know that we are uniquely made and that we are meant to find our purpose.
Some of you have come to this website because you have studied redemptive gifts, but you are still searching for others way to understand the teaching better.
Recognizing our design is liberating. Knowing that some of our behavioral characteristics are part of our design is worth celebrating. What if you could read through a list of characteristics and "find" your prototype among them.
Most of us search for our unique identities, the things that make us tick and make us happy or point to our arena where we will find fulfillment.
The discovery that it is possible to know, and that God intended for us to know because he designed us, is for most people a startling and wonderful revelation.
I am a fan of the tv show called Chopped. It is a show where competeting chefs are given four ingredients in three different rounds, and each chef has to create dishes. The creations are tasted by the judges, who then decide which contestant goes home in each round and who ultimately wins. The challenge is the very bizarre and conflicting ingredients.
I love the creativity and watching the chefs process and then improvise with the ingredients; I love a good puzzle and a challenge. However, I am always struck by how many contestants have come to compete to get confirmation that he or she has chosen the right profession. They are performing jobs where they work 60 hour weeks for sometimes low pay, and they want "confirmation" they are doing the right thing, and they have chosen Chopped to confirm their destinies.
We all want confirmation that we are living in the right place according to our purpose and design. It is a ongoing theme in life. How many times have you heard people say, "I want to do what I am meant to do" or something along those lines.
I believe that each of us is aware that our own design is unique and special. I also believe that we all want there to be a niche where we fit best, will be the happiest and the most fulfilled. Sometimes people believe if they find this place, fame and fortune follow, but then we see the famous and the wealthy floundering as well, so we know it has to be the deepest desire of our spirit and that it is not easily satisfied with the best world can give.
It is though we know there is a place under the sun where we will prosper and "find" ourselves.
We seem to know, at some level, that if we could dig deep enough, we could discover our unique design, and then we would know how to experience our purpose which could best be expressed by our individual uniqueness. I believe that most people have an instinct that they are designed for a purpose, and they go through life looking for a confirmation.
To find God's confirmation is the most liberating and life giving blessing of all. After all, we have come into alignment with both design and the Designer. When it comes, it is not exactly a surprise either, for most of us. It is a recognition and an agreement where our spirit shouts "Amen." We are found.
This teaching on redemptive gifts has offered me a world view through a lense that I use daily in all my encounters. I have learned to see the gifts in people, and therefore it has brought a significant revelation to me that, I believe, has helped me in all of my relationships, and given me a better understanding of myself and my own motivations. It has helped me quit resisting and begin embracing who I am and who others are meant to be.
I think it is a key to harmony and respect, as well as synergy and unity.
The purpose of this website is to give you, in writing, a basic understanding of the behavioral characteristics of the gifts so that you have this to refer to as you learn. Behavioral characteristics are used to help us identify our gifting, but it is only the beginning. It is merely deciding what we are. What we do with it, is the best part.
There are excellent resources available from Sapphire Leadership Group which you may have explored already, or would greatly benefit from hearing.
Arthur Burk teaches in video foremat and on CD's. His teaching is inspired, and my desire is to present what I have learned in a simple written foremat, to help one continue learning. I have learned so much from Arthur's teachings, and I only share my own to add to what he has done, from my own perspective.
Most of us have been taught various truths about the gifts. We know that there are gifts of the spirit, miraculous signs and wonders gifts, and a list of gifts in Romans 12 that admonishes 7 giftings to practice the gift that each has been given according to certain guidelines. We also have read the Jesus gave certain gifts to the church for the church to be equipped and effective. We may have assumed they were all in a big container available for the picking, or assignment, or perhaps went to those who needed them. I think there is more order than that, and you likely do as well.
There are several places in the New Testament where spiritual gifts are mentioned. The three primary ones are Romans 12: 6-8.
I Cor. 12:7-11. (gifts of the Holy Spirit)
Eph. 4. (Offices in the church)
In Romans 12, seven gifts are listed from which our study of redemptive gifts will center. We believe that these are part of our original design: gifts from the Father when we were created. Design means we function in a particular way, see things in a particular way, and we will find purpose and fulfillment according to design. You will notice that when each is listed, it is followed by an admonishment. Once you understand your particular redemptive gift, I dare say you will also understand the admonishment.
For example: "Let him who serves, serve cheerfully." If you are a servant or know one, you know he can keep serving beyond cheerfulness into martyrdom and drudgery and it becomes less than a thing of beauty to see that. Because serving is the core of the servant, it can be done in a holy or unholy way. It does not go away because the person is immature or has poor character or is angry or wounded. All of those things show up in our gifting and are a challenge for each of us, but the servant's challenge is to know when to serve and how to do to bring honor to the King and a blessing to those she or he serves.
If it is God's intent that every man come to know Him so that each man might be redeemed, what if we were able to unlock treasures within ourselves, put there by Him, based on our design. What if those treasures led us to him and others to him and revealed him and fulfilled us? That does not seem farfetched, does it?
In I Corinthians 12 we have Paul teaching about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Paul says that they are given for the working of miracles and the freedom which Jesus came to give us by challenging and defeating the enemy of our freedom. These gifts which include the working of miracles and healing the sick, speaking in tongues, intrepretation of tongues, are not only to aid mankind and give us life and liberty, but to demonstrate the power of the gospel which is not just "words" , but also a demonstration of supernatural power.
Obvisously, these gifts would be needed in the right setting for the right purposes. They are powerful gifts of faith and deliverance and healing that prove the power of God and the Holy Spirit on earth.
The five offices mentioned in Ephesians 4 are meant to establish the Church. They are pastor, teacher, apostle, prophet, and evangelist. We know that it was Jesus who made it possible for the Church to be established by the five offices who work together in the power of the Holy Spirit. They are equipped by Jesus to possess the knowledge and wisdom and power to establish and build the kingdom of God on this earth. Not each of us is called to an office, even among believers. These offices are to function until we come into the fullness of the knowledge of God. While we may not function in a recognizable office, there is probably one that in our own setting we lean toward. We may pastor a home group, or function as a teacher. These set of five are about function.
But our study will be the gifts mentioned in Romans 12, as we believe those are the ones that each one of us is given by the Father at birth. As believers, we are taught to seek the manifestation gifts of I Cor. 12 and many are called to the offices in Ephesians in order to build the church, but this study is about the redemptive gifts: the gifts we all receive at birth when God decides which pattern of design will be ours and will best show us His nature.
In all of our understanding of God, we are well aware that He has many aspects. He is able to be mercy and justice at once. We may find ourselves always wanting justice, or leaning toward mercy, and in our humanity, not able to sense more than a few aspects of God's infinite nature without much prayer and much grace. While we are expected and challenged to grow into fullness and maturity, it shouldn't surprise us that we were made to experience one part of God's grace more profoundly: He gave us certain treasures to unfold that surround different aspects, different fragments of His glory.
The redemptive gifts become recognizable, because there are similar patterns of behavior and common characteristics in the gifts. Of course, we are all unique. Our enviornments, our parents, our experiences all mark us. In fact, if these are severe or profound enough, they may completely hide who we are. We may have to dig to discover what was there before life, parenting, work, and many relationships intervened. But once we have become accustomed to looking for certain characteristics that belong to the gifts, we can see how these patterns do exist and are real and recognizable.
We will look at these gifts first from the vantage point of behavior, but that is only the shallowest of beginnings. Many of us may be satisfied just knowing that much, and knowing our identities is a good thing to be sure, but there is more beyond that, as you will discover.
All of us want to be affirmed in our identities in this process and to gain grace for each other. Grace for the other members of the body and an understanding of the strengths each of us has, can only lead us to greater love.
Everything about these seven gifts is important, even the order in which they appear in the Bible, because later we will talk about how they correspond to all the lists of seven in scripture. There are at least a hundred lists of seven. By a "list of seven," we mean Seven pieces of furniture in the Temple, seven days of creation, Seven statements Jesus made on the cross, and so on. The first of the list will correspond with prophet, the second with servant and so on.
These gifts are: Prophet, Servant, Teacher, Exhorter, Giver, Ruler, and Mercy.
Don't be in a hurry to figure it out. Unless it is totally obvious, you can afford to wait until you are sure.
Try not to desire one or reject another. Every one has a beauty and strength, and to mislabel yourself won't make your design one bit different. It will only cause confusion.
And remember you are seeking a revelation from the Father about whom He created you to be. Let Him speak and guide you in the process; He is very interested in your discovery.
One last thing: you may also have a strong secondary gift, so don't be surprised if you see yourself in a couple. As we mature, we should be growing in all seven, and knowing one doesn't mean we don't learn to serve or give.
Assignment, should you want one:
Study all of the passages in scripture: I Cor. 12, Romans 12, and Eph.5. until you can easily see the differences in these three passages. Memorize the order of the seven gifts in Romans 12.