Giver Blessing 5: Legitimacy
Beloved, I call your spirit to attention, and I invite the Giver portion to come explore God’s gifts to you.
Giver, the world over, “different” is often synonymous with “not good.” This is not right, or fair or just, but it is the reality in most of the cultures of the world.
You as a Giver are different. God has designed you with an individuality that is remarkable, but it causes some measure of rejection all together too often.
Two of the major Giver cultures of the world are the Jews and the Gypsies. Both have been scattered around the world by the rejection of the dominant political and economic powers. Both carry with them cultures that are distinctly different from the host cultures.
Both groups live in the local culture without ever being absorbed by the host culture. And because they are different, both groups have been widely distrusted, defamed and devoured by those who resented and distrusted their capacity to be different.
Against this backdrop of cultural delegitimization, God gives a special gift of legitimacy from heaven itself to the Giver.
The best known Giver in human history is Abraham. He lived in Canaan not only as a foreigner, but as a committed outsider. He made no move toward assimilation in his entire lifetime.
He did not worship their gods. He did not live in their cities. He did not ally himself with any local power center. He was overtly careful not to intermarry with their families. He was different, defiantly different and showed no signs moving toward any of the prevailing cultures.
Quite the contrary, he worked hard to keep his descendants from assimilating. Delegitimization is a toxic emotion. While we may ignore it the first 100 times we face it, living with constant rejection, facing repeated put downs, knowing daily that you are devalued in the eyes of the people around you, does take its toll.
Therefore, God met with him several times validating his significance in the eyes of the God of the Universe, and ultimately giving him the sign of circumcision, which became a symbol of legitimacy for generations of Israelites to come.
This symbol was not visible to the world at large nor did it need to be. God was not the least bit concerned with impressing the Canaanites with how legitimate Abraham was. God made it plain to Abraham and that was all that mattered.
This is another of God’s gifts to you the Giver – legitimacy crafted by God and given to you in a way that speaks the special language of the Giver.
Because God speaks the entire range of Giver dialects, He gave Elisha’s gift of legitimacy in a semi-public way. Elisha was widely seen as simply the assistant to Elijah. When Elijah was translated, the prophets at the school in Jericho rightly wondered whether Elisha had clout.
Frankly, Elisha wondered that too.
On the way over, Elijah had rolled up his mantle and struck the Jordan River to part it so they could walk across the river bed. On the way back, with the grandstand full of Elijah’s disciples, Elisha rolled up Elijah’s mantle and struck the Jordan River asking the legitimacy question of the hour: “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?”
The waters parted. The men in the grandstand cheered. And Elisha knew at the core of His being that the God of Elijah had unquestioningly legitimized him and that all Israel would know the story within a week.
Amos the Giver never struggled with his own legitimacy in the office of prophet. God sent him to prophecy judgment to King Amaziah of Israel. The king was predictably offended and commanded him to leave the country.
Amos swiftly replied that although he had no human credentials, the God of Israel had sent him and that meant the King of Israel could not send him away. Not only did he not flinch from his original prophecy, but also to the king’s face, he added assaultive prophecies against the king’s wife and sons and his own life.
How did God legitimize him? We have no idea, but Amos’ legitimacy was clearly not dependent on the culture nor did it come from his family line. It came from God, and it was absolute, deep and adequate for this farmer-turned-prophet to travel to another land and confront a king.
How legitimate is that?!
Our Great King concludes his blessing of the Giver church at Sardis with these words. “He who overcomes will . . . be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.”
This is the magnificence of the legitimacy the King gives as His gift to you, the Giver tribe, because He knows you will likely be delegitimized by the culture in endless ways.
It is a powerful gift.
So we welcome you in our midst, Giver. You who have received legitimacy from Father are absolutely legitimate in our eyes as well. You are most welcome in our community as a brother, not an alien. We bless you in the name of our King, Jesus Christ.
October 20, 2008
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