Giver Blessing 1: Individuality

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Beloved, I call your spirit to attention, and I invite the Giver portion to come explore God’s gifts to you.

The Giver gift is represented by the fifth day of creation when God added the birds and the fish to creation’s emerging ecology. It is with great joy that I celebrate God’s gift to you of uncommon individuality.

Ponder with me the God-sized paradox of uniformity merged perfectly with uniqueness.

Birds are a uniform class of creation. You would never confuse them with fish. Even though loons inhabit the water and can swim a long distance underwater, no one ever mistakes a loon (or any other bird) for a trout! Birds are birds. They are all alike. There are some uniform parameters that define a bird as absolutely different from a fish, a plant or an animal.

In the same way, the Giver tribe is profoundly uniform, highly predictable and dramatically different, as a tribe, from any of the other six tribes.

But wait!

God is the master of uniqueness as well, and within the uniformity of the birds and the Givers is the broadest range of diversity of any of the tribes. Consider the range in size from hummingbird to ostrich. Ponder the ugly, ungainly pelican compared to the majestic flight of the eagle.

But even within wild ducks that share the same habitat and feeding preferences, you see God’s gift of individuality. Watch the mallard duck build a nest in the reeds by the edge of a marsh while a wood duck nests 25 feet up in the hollow of a tree.

This is one of God’s foundational gifts to you, Giver. You are, undeniably, part of a tribe. Yet God has designed you to be one unique individual in that tribe, to differentiate monumentally from all other Givers, to be like no other Giver before or after, to do the same thing other people in your culture do, but to do it differently than anyone else has ever done it.

Even if the end result of what you build, or do, or present is similar to the cultural norms, your process for getting there is quite different than the person in the office next to you. You do not think like anyone else, anywhere else, and this is good.

Look at the classic Giver Elisha and how he maintained his individuality while being mentored.

It is hard to imagine being mentored by someone with a bigger, more dominant personality than Elijah who burst on the scene of world history as the larger-than-life prophet who single handedly took on the most infamous king and queen in Israel’s history. And that was just the beginning. From there to the moment he was carried to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah was intense, immense, unstoppable, filling the world around him with a command presence that would cause a stone wall to flinch.

If ever there was a recipe for a disciple to become a clone of the master, this was it! Elijah should have imprinted himself, his style, his values and his vision on Elisha in such a way as to make him almost indistinguishable from his master.

Ah, but Elisha was a Giver, gifted by God with a capacity for individuality that even Elijah’s monumental personality could not erase, overwhelm or standardize.

After nearly two decades of walking in Elijah’s shadow, Elisha was still emphatically himself. On the farewell tour of the prophetic schools, Elijah was still austere, aloof, unapproachable and intimidating. And Elisha was still relational, an instant magnet for the young prophets who crowded around him as their confidant of choice.

Elijah called down fire from heaven on three occasions. Elisha never used fire, defaulting instead to miracles relating to water more than any other tool. Elijah set the standard in history for a prophet’s adversarial relationship with kings. Elisha served kings with one amazing miracle after another.

Elisha was unique BECAUSE he was a Giver whom God had gifted with individuality. THIS is who you are. It matters not what impressive personality has overshadowed your life for how long.

At the end of the day, it was just a shadow that left no imprint.

You are unique because Father gave you this gift as part of your remarkable beauty. Consider Matthew, a Giver with the most stupendous mentor one could ever have. He walked with Jesus the Christ for three years, living with Him intimately, watching Him do massive mercy ministries while laying the foundation for a new move of God unlike anything Israel had seen or imagined.

So far as we know, all the other disciples came from the private sector, but Matthew was deeply immersed in his career with government when Christ called him to this new walk.

Three years of intense study of theology in the company of entrepreneurs did not change who he was.

When he sat down to record the life of Christ, he wrote the gospel that portrayed the kingly Messiah, unlike any of the other gospel writers, because that is who he was – a governmental man who saw life through the grid of governmental authority.

Was God displeased with how overtly Matthew’s individuality colored his portrayal of the businessman-turned-Messiah? Should Matthew have adapted to the business background of the Messiah or absorbed the perspective of the businessmen who were his closest companions for three years? Should he have portrayed the Messiah’s grasp and mastery of market forces?

Consider the fact that God intentionally put the Giver’s gospel first in the entire New Testament. I can only conclude that God was thrilled with Matthew’s magnificent ability to be fully himself, while standing in the shadow of the Creator of the Entire Universe and while living with eleven other men who broadly hated the government he had served.

This is your magnificence, Giver. You can gloriously fit into the flow of God’s master plan for the universe, being part of a community that does not reflect you, while maintaining the beauty of your own individuality. This is a gift from God to you. In a world of people shaped and molded by their environment, your tribe effortlessly incarnates God’s gift of extreme uniqueness in the context of the uniformity of your tribe.

We welcome you in our midst, Giver. Though you are uniquely individual in your design, we proclaim that there is room in our community for you to thrive. You are most welcome among us. We bless you in the name of our King, Jesus Christ.

Centrum B & B
Leiden Netherlands
October 18, 2008

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