Redemptive Gifts

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them:

  1. if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;
  2. if service, in our serving;
  3. the one who teaches, in his teaching;
  4. the one who exhorts, in his exhortation;
  5. the one who contributes, in generosity;
  6. the one who leads, with zeal;
  7. the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

-- Romans 12:6-8 (ESV)

Your redemptive gift is your core design. You received it at conception, and it defines the soul, spirit, personality, outlook and how you operate. Like a "spiritual DNA".

The seven redemptive gifts are usually also presented in the same order.

Individuals can have any combination of these gifts, for example Isaiah was in the office of "prophet", manifested by "prophesying" but was the redemptive gift of "teacher". John (the apostle) was in the office of "apostle", also manifested by "prophesying" but was the redemptive gift of "mercy".

Just like modern psychology that group people in categories like introvert, extrovert, left/right brain dominant, strategic, relator, learner, analytical, leader, or whatever names they come up with, the redemptive gifts are also defining types of individuals. The main difference is that the redemptive gifts are based on scripture and the pattern is evident throughout the universe and can be applied to even things, time, space, etc.

However, perhaps the redemptive gifts of individuals could also be translated as:

Biblical Term Modern Term
Prophet Engineer (Problem Solver)
Servant Protector
Teacher Analyst
Exhorter Marketer
Giver Investor
Ruler Manager
Mercy Healer

For example the seven days of creation:

  1. On the first day God created light: For a Prophet every is black or white / right or wrong
  2. On the second day God separated the waters and created a "canopy" for protection: The Servant is all about protection
  3. On the third day God created dry land and the first vegetation: The Teacher is all about details, separating and organising things.
  4. On the fourth day God created the Sun, Moon and starts to give light, live and heat: The Exhorters enable growth, life and loves to be seen or experienced by all.
  5. On the fifth day God created the fish and birds: This gives food (resources) for mammals which was later created.
  6. On the sixth day God created man: Man rules over the creation like a Ruler.
  7. On the seventh day God rested with the purpose of intimacy: The Mercy finds his/her fulfilment in intimacy

This is just the first simplest example in the first chapter of the first book in the Bible.

Another example is Abraham's seven-fold blessing in Genesis 12:2-3

  1. "I will make you a great nation" (God providing a future vision like a Prophet)
  2. "I will bless you" (God serving Abraham like a Servant)
  3. "I will make your name great" (God revealing something like a Teacher)
  4. "You shall be a blessing" (God enable like an Exhorter)
  5. "I will bless those who bless you" (God gives like a Giver)
  6. "I will curse him who curses you" (God loves loyalty like a Ruler)
  7. "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (God desires a fulfillment for all families like a Mercy)

Another example is the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-20

  1. truth (requires judgement like a Prophet)
  2. righteousness (requires service like a Servant)
  3. readiness given by the gospel of peace (require research and study like a Teacher)
  4. faith (requires boldness like an Exhorter)
  5. salvation (the greatest gift you can give another)
  6. word (required to have authority like a Ruler)
  7. prayer (require Mercy)

Another example is the purpose of prophecies in Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me

  1. to bring good news to the poor; (Prophet)
  2. he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, (Servant)
  3. to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; (Teacher)
  4. to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; (Exhorter)
  5. to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion — to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; (Giver)
  6. that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, (Ruler)
  7. that He may be glorified. (Mercy)

-- Isaiah 61:1-3 (ESV)

There are dozens more examples through the Bible. This is a repeating theme or pattern. The number 7 means "complete" or "whole" which includes all aspects of all the gifts.

Jesus' redemptive gift

Unlike many Christian movies that portray Jesus as this serious, tall, skinny, silent, priestly type of person, the bible recorded that Jesus exhibited all seven redemptive gifts' attributes in his life as a complete human.

  • Jesus was a Prophet because he was very visionary, he initiated and instituted many new "ideas". He corrected the way people's understanding, thoughts and behaviour without fear in the face of rejection.
  • Jesus was a Servant because he understood the needs of his disciples even before they realise themselves what they need. For example he washed their feed, he made sure they didn't lack anything and He protected them.
  • Jesus was a Teacher because he validated many incorrect applied scriptures and traditions. He studied and knew the Torah in the finest detail that even amazed scribes when he was still a child. He knew how to summarise a complex problem and solution into one liners that is easy to understand.
  • Jesus was an Exhorter because he could relate with any person no matter the gender, age, status, wealth, reputation, culture and so on. He loved feasts (parties). He loved being around people. He was an enabler for his disciples. He knew how to package complex teachings in a simple form so that simple people could understand it.
  • Jesus was a Giver because he was very concerned and prepared a way for future generations. He made the greatest sacrifice (investment) in history with his own life for mankind's sins to safe our souls (return on investment). He was a quick mover and seized unplanned opportunities as he meet new people.
  • Jesus was a Ruler because he knew how to solve real world problems like the wine that was running out at the wedding, feeding 3000 people without sending them home, dealing with storms on a lake, and so on. He was completely independent and did not require any kind of affirmation from people. He could use any type of person that even lacked the "necessary skills" to complete the job as long as they were loyal to him, for example he appointed fishermen instead of educated people as disciples.
  • Jesus was a Mercy because he knew the Father's heart. He could sense the broken that was hiding in the crowd. He was a true healer in all aspects.

Therefore, no matter which redemptive gift you are, Jesus can still relate with you as he most likely also got excited about the same things as you do.

Identifying your redemptive gift

Your redemptive gift goes hand-in-hand with your design and calling as this is how God made you. For example it would not make sense to expect an Exhorter who needs to be around people to sit in isolation and do detailed studies on his own for all his life. The design simply does not fit the purpose.

However, that doesn't mean that you could not grow in any aspect. If you put in enough effort, you could overcome any challenge or weakness, but that doesn't change your natural design.

Unfortunately we live in a broken world, and it is important to note that the influences of the world and circumstances could either suppress your designed redemptive gift and/or force you to become someone that is not natural for you.

For example:

  • Firstborn children tend to exhibit "prophet" characteristics and as parents are usually the hardest on the firstborns.
  • A cleaner might have been forced to become a servant.
  • A lawyer might have been forced to study contracts in detail and may get confused with the gift of "teacher".
  • A sales person might have been forced to learn some "exhorter" attributes in order to compete with the competition.
  • Someone that works in a financial environment that is heavily focused on investments and might have picked up some "giver" attributes along the way.
  • A business owner or manager might have learned or have been forced to become a "ruler" for the sake of his/her business.
  • Emotional, slow reacting, people pleasing "mercies" might get suppressed.
  • A parent might scold a child for the way they behave without understanding that this is by design of God, and it actually fits perfect for the child's calling.
  • There is also a tendency in some workplace environments that all people should behave like "exhorters". Previous cubicles are now replace with open-plan offices, everyone should share and communicate everything with everyone all the time, the extrovert with the big mouth gets promoted because the "introvert does not show leader qualities", everyone should do and make decisions quickly even at the cost of evaluating the details, and so on.
  • On the other hand, some traditional churches do not tolerate "exhorters" (no dancing, no loud speaking, no parties, everyone needs to keep silent and "study the Word of God in prayer").

It is also absolutely normal to exhibit the characteristics of more than one redemptive gift. God's creative design is not limited by only 7 types of persons.

Your true naturally designed redemptive gift(s) are those attributes that are natural for you without any effort and who you are when you are alone and at peace when nobody and nothing is influencing you. Unfortunately most of us constantly being bombarded with other people's ideas on how we should live and behave it may take some time to filter the noise and learn and discover who you truly are.

Importance of the redemptive gifts

It was never God's intend that we should all behave the same like robots. Each individual is unique even in the same "group" of the same redemptive gift.

For example: a fast deciding "giver" might be frustrated with a slow deciding "teacher", but if the "giver" give the "teacher" a chance to make up his/her mind, the "giver" can know that this information was thoroughly validated and can trust the recommendation of the "teacher"; a "prophet" may struggle to communicate a new idea to the people, but the "exhorter" who holds the "key to the people's hearts" could re-package the new idea into a more acceptable form so that everyone understand what the new strategic direction is and the benefits are; an "insensitive" ruler might need to partner with a "mercy" who is sensitive for the people's feelings and needs to avoid burning them out and loosing support.

It is important to understand your own design (redemptive gift) as well as acknowledge and understand that how other people may behave differently so that you can rely on other's strengths that you might be lacking and also know how, when and where to support others in their weaknesses in order save someone from error or evil.

For example:

Redemptive Gift Good Match Reason
Prophet Mercy The Mercy helps the judgemental Prophet to be compassionate for people.
Servant Ruler Leads and gives direction to the Servant.
Teacher Giver The Giver invest the the Teacher's projects.
Exhorter Any The Exhorter is happy to be around anyone so that he/she can sell his/her ideas.
Giver Teacher The Teacher analyses data and helps the Giver to make an informed investment.
Ruler Servant The Ruler finds loyalty in the Servant who is willing to support his goals.
Mercy Prophet The indecisive Mercy finds wisdom in the "judgement" of the Prophet.

Based on the teachings of Kanaan Ministries and Arthur Burk of the Sapphire Leadership Group.