What does it mean?
In Acts 17:26 Paul is making an argument to the gentiles in order to explain how God chose the very time and place where we would live, and then he says that He did that so that we might know Him. Paul is making a logical argument, and he started from the beginning in the lives of those people he was addressing.
God wants to be known by us, and to be experienced by us. He formed us, according to complicated patterns, that seem simple if they are broken down into something our minds can comprehend: the way He did all of creation. It is mind boggling to imagine how infintely creative, how utterly dynamic, how minute and how vast, and how inexplicable all of the height and depth of creation is, and yet, when man has discovered a fragment of theory, it is logical and mathematical and for the genuises among us, comprehensible. It is intricate and marvelous and phenomonenal, and a dozen other adjectives, but in some other ways, predictable and it all rests on laws and even sequences and frequencies.
So it is with us. We are unique and wonderful in our uniqueness, and we know it. How many times have you heard someone express the notion that they know they were made to do this or that, that they are searching for that purpose or destiny, the place of fulfillment they were meant to know. The search is built into our very images.
And how could we be more different from each other and still the same in other ways? How is it that we can grow up in the same families with the same parents and environment, and yet see the world in vastly different ways. How is it that we live on different sides of the earth and want much the same things to be satisfied in life?
One of the reasons is the purpose of this site, and that is because one of the ways of our sameness and our uniqueness are the patterns I am going to call the Redemptive Gifts.
I got this terminology from Arthur Burk, a researcher and a pioneer who has demonstrated a solid understanding of God and scripture, but who is also able to look at passages of scripture with an eye for discovery that has given us some profound ways of thinking in our time. Much of what this study contains came from revelation, and that is the reason that I think, it is astounding and life changing.
When I first discovered Arthur's work more than ten years ago, I was seeking to learn all I could about the ways of God. I had been in a church that did intercession, believed in prophesy, and sought to be, as the comedian Flip Wilson used to say, "The Church of What's Happening Now." There were good and bad times and as always, a lot to be learned from those years.
But this particular teaching, came along for me, and consumed me. It became a life long study and the way I approach most situations and understand most relationships. It completely changed my relationship with my husband and brought me from a place of questioning his motives and actions and judging them in my prophet head, to a deep respect for what God made him: a giver. I began to see everyone differently and it brought me into a place of deeper grace and gave me hope that we could learn to love and respect each other as members of the body of Christ, the way Paul said we could.
I have come to believe that is an essential teaching for two reasons. One it is settling for us to know what our own gift is and how we might achieve destiny according to our particular wiring and the second, so that we might understand and encourage each other and not see our differences as a point of conflict.