I had never heard of “Redemptive Gifts”…but since I began attending my church a few short months ago, I have heard a lot about it. People in the congregation might say, “I’m a teacher” or “I’m a mercy” or “I’m a giver.” My pastor is an “exhorter”. My husband says he is a “ruler”…and that I am a “servant”.” I actually took offense at that comment although I know it was meant as praise for all that I do. But, I was determined that I was NOT a servant… So I started doing a little research on what the “7 Redemptive Gifts” are that has everyone around me a-buzz.
It is fascinating… and Biblical for certain. Romans 12:3-8 says,
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 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.”
What did I find out about myself in doing my preliminary research on “Redemptive Gifts”? I am a servant…but that is likely by necessity. I am a servant in this season…but that is not my “gift”. Or is it?
From other things that I had read, I was leaning toward “prophet”…but then yesterday I came across an article by Doug Heck that I thought was over all a concise summary of all the other things that I had read…and it had a neat practical example for each…but it did not help me determine my “Redemptive Gift” . I will explain in a minute…but first, here are some of Mr. Heck’s comments…
“These gifts are given to people, each person having one primary one. That gift is put in us at conception, and determines the course of our lives, regardless of whether we become Christians or choose to reject Christ. Psychologists term these differences in people as “basic temperaments”, or personality types. Many have studied the soul of man in an attempt to categorize and understand the ways of man. There are many types of lists, and assessment tests to help determine what each of us might be.
“Father God installs these gifts in us to fulfill His plan of redemption on the earth. When we understand our gifts and function in it under guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is a redemptive result for mankind. Good comes when you operate in these gifts. Good not only for you, but also for the many around you. They are designed not for you, but for you to be a part of a large whole, functioning as a body part.
“Let us look at each of them. After the description of the gift, I will use it in an ongoing example showing how they differ from one another, and in a practical application how that gift would cause a person to respond. This situation will be each of these different people visiting someone sick in a hospital. Each will respond differently, according to their varied natural gift. You will understand more fully as we continue.”
This temperament quickly and accurately identifies good and evil, hating the evil. They see everything as black or white with no gray or indefinite areas. They are eager to see their own blind spots and keen to help others see theirs also, tending to being introspective. They desire above all else to see God’s plan worked out in all situations. Their downside is that they forget to praise partial progress due to goal consciousness. They often struggle with self-image issues.
“When a prophet visits someone in the hospital, it looks like this. They will come to the person’s bed and with compassion yet a certain sternness, proceed to quote scriptures of truth regarding healing. “You should not be here. This is not right!” They might ask, “Is there something you did, a blind spot, that might have allowed this to happen?”
(Christy’s note: *I would NEVER ask this question…at least not out loud. Could this be me? Hhhhmmm. Maybe)
This temperament easily recognizes practical needs and is quick to meet them, especially enjoying manual projects, jobs and functions. They are usually more interested in meeting the needs of another rather than long range goals, and may become pushy or interfering in eagerness to help. They need to feel appreciated.”
“When the servant gifted person enters the hospital room, they immediately start to fluff the pillows, tidy things up a bit, and ask, “Is there anything that I can do for you?” Their intent is to assist in this critical time of need. They will take a piece of paper out; ask for things that they can do at the ailing person’s home for them. They thrive on the fact there is clear need.”
(*could this be me? Yes…but I think it is because I have seen other people do this and I think it is a characteristic worth emulating. But is it my nature to do this? Hhhmmm. Maybe.)
This temperament present truth in a logical, systematic manner, enjoying word studies and reading. They are concerned that truth be established in every situation. They have strong convictions of facts, and can tend to neglect the practical application. They are self-disciplined, and usually only has a close circle of fiends. They can tend to be dogmatic and legalistic.
When the teacher-natured person visits the ill person in the hospital, they walk up to the bed and begin to ask questions like: “What did the doctor say was wrong? Did you get a second opinion on the diagnosis?” What they desire is information, so that they can add their assessment. They love good conversation, and find it all fascinating.”
(*nope. Not this one. I don’t think…but I guess it could be!)
This temperament loves to encourage others to live victoriously. They want a visible response when they are speaking, teaching or preaching to others. They far prefer to apply truth rather than research it. For them, truth is God’s source of true encouragement, and we must get it into the hands of everyone. They are very quick to accept other people as they are without judging them. They want to clear up problems with others quickly. They often interrupt others in an eagerness to give opinions or advice. They tend to be “cut and dried” in prescribing steps of action.”
“When the exhorter visits the hospital patient, they begin by telling stories that might cheer the person up. Everything that the patient says, reminds the exhorter of another story, and both laugh the time away. The exhorter will come equipped with scripture and often messages from other people. He has tendency to insist that the person feels better right away, not wants this problem to persist.”
(*nope…but maybe again)
The temperament of giver freely gives of money, possessions, time, energy and love. They love to give without other people knowing about it. They want to feel they are a part of the ministry to which they are contributing, and handle their finances with wisdom and frugality. They tend to be very industrious and are often successful. Hospitality is one of their hallmarks. They may try to control how contributions are being used. They may upset family and friends with unpredictable patterns of giving.”
“When the giver visits the infirmed in the hospital, they always come bearing a gift to encourage. It is usually something thoughtful, showing time has gone into its planning, presentation and timing of delivery. They desire for the patient to be reminded in a tangible way that they are loved.”
This temperament, or gift, is highly motivated to organize that for which he is responsible. They can express ideas and organization in ways that are easily understood. They prefer to be under authority, in order to have authority. They love to work on long-range goals and projects – they are visionary with a broad perspective. In time, they can develop callousness due to being the target for criticism. They tend to drive themselves that can easily lead to neglect of personal and family needs.
“When the leader trait visits the hospital, they take out a pad of paper and proceed to inquire of what may need done at the patient’s home and family life. They will say, “I will get some people to take over your responsibilities while you are here in the hospital.” They will check on the insurance of the patient, the doctors advice, and how all the pieces must fit together in the next weeks of the persons life. By the time the leader leaves, there is a clear plan for the next season of the patient’s life.”
(*yes…possibly if I knew there was no one else handling the needs)
“G. Gift of Mercy
This temperament had tremendous capacity to show love, always looking for the good in other people. They are attracted to people who are hurting or in distress. They take care with words and actions to avoid hurting others. They try to avoid conflicts and confrontations. They tend to be indecisive, and are often prone to take up another person’s offence.”
” When the person with this dominant trait walks into the hospital, they begin to softly weep with compassion, seeing their loved one in such a state. They will come close and comfort them, wiping their forehead and speaking soft words of sympathy. They will stay endless hours to keep the patient company, supporting in any way possible.”
(*probably not… but yes, in a pinch)
So what did this tell me? Well, it reminded me A LOT of the “Meyers Briggs” Personality test that I took back in college.
|Extraversion (E) –||(I) Introversion|
|Sensing (S) –||(N) Intuition|
|Thinking (T) –||(F) Feeling|
|Judging (J) –||(P) Perception|
I will let you look up all that this test entails…but much like the “tests” to determine my Redemptive Gift, the Meyers Briggs test really did not clear up anything about my personality “type” because in almost every category I was right in the middle. Maybe slightly leaning toward introversion and slightly leaning toward one of the other…but very “balanced”. I don’t know, but I think that is good…at least it isn’t “unbalanced!”
And I don’t feel strongly about my “Redemptive Gift”. I could be “a servant” or “a prophet” or “a ruler” or “a giver”…really any of them.
What all of this preliminary “research” on the topic made me consider though was something I believe is important…Knowing our gifts and our strengths can not be a crutch to FAIL TO DEVELOP. I may not naturally stay and wipe someone’s brow and visit with them for hours…but if they need that and no one else is there for them, and I know that no one else is there for them, then I will. Gladly I will because I have seen other people who really are “Mercy” do it…and it is beautiful to me…and even though that is not natural for me, I want to be like that. Or I may not naturally take notes on what needs to be done, and what calls need to be made to handle another person’s business…but if they can’t and no one else is going to then I will. I have seen other “Servants” or “Rulers” take control to get things done and it is important.
Do you see what I am saying? If there is something missing in our character, do we say…”well, that’s not my gift…it is not natural for me to do that…it is not my strength…that can be for someone else who is more suited for the job.”
I don’t think so. Knowing our gifts should be a guide and not a crutch. The need must be met, the job must be done whether or not there is someone who steps up because it is their nature to do so…. And we should be sensitive to give HOW the other person needs to GET. If we want to ask what is wrong…but they don’t want to discuss it…don’t ask. If we want to wipe their brow but they don’t want to be touched, refrain. If you want to tell stories to cheer them but they want to rest, just sit quietly…be present. Use your gift to be a gift.
What do they need? Our “gifts” after all are not supposed to be like a hat or a scarf or a big button on our lapel that says, “I am a giver/teacher/prophet/mercy/ruler/servant/exhorter!!!!”The “gift” is not for us to use for our bragging rights or to explain away our deficiencies.
I could be ALLLLLLL wrong. I have not gone through any formal classes on this… I may do a class…but I am not sure that it matters to me what I am exactly. I may just want to be “balanced”…and be for people what they need for me to be in their time of need of me…fluffing a pillow…or telling a story. It may not be by normal every day nature, but I believe that the Holy Spirit will help me discern . It isn’t what I do anyway…it’s what God does with me that matters. Help me be a gift today, God. And every day.