NOTE 1: For those who are following the chained sequence of posts, the previous post was on the Servant. Find the link to that post here.
NOTE 2: This is the third of the seven Redemptive Gifts, and is my absolute favorite gift of the seven. And those who devalue the gift of Teacher simply do not understand the gift in fullness or Jesus’ design for the gift. For, if this Gift is worthless, than so is the Third day, all vegetation, all plants, several of my friends, and anything the L-rd made with this gift in mind.
So, I am in the process of removing some toxic things from my life, and the last few days have been rough. I imagine that this post, some Teachers may not understand, but that is okay. It will take some time for the truth of it to sink in. Recognizing that I was only agreeing to be an Exhorter because one of my friends needed me to be an Exhorter, I am mostly back at square one.
But I am grateful.
With no further adieu, the Teacher.
While the Prophet is concerned for truth and is overly-simplistic, and frequently judgmental, and the Servant wants to just help people and build platforms for success, what does the Teacher look like?
Samuel; the Tribe of Levi; Luke; Baltimore; Steve Wozinak; Bill Hewlett; HP; Volvo; the Onyx; Jerusalem; my friends Sarah Coors, Scott Osattin, Brian Fulthorp, Anna Zimmerman, and Anisha Cruz; the priestly work; the Table of Shewbread; Nicodemus; the Third Day of Creation; Mayo Clinic; The New York Times; Waco (Texas); Jacksonville (Florida); Nashville (Tennessee); the nation of Belgium; Toronto (Ontario); The Cherokee Nation; Sir Henry Royce; Orville Wright; Pensacola (Florida); Ireland; North Carolina; the Southern Baptist Convention; Huntsville (Alabama); London (Ontario); Houston (Texas); Bovines (which is the picture of Luke in much of Christian Iconography of the four Gospel Writers); Mary the Mother of Jesus (though some of my friends believe she is a Giver): and many other entities resonate with dynamics of the Teacher Gift. This is as of this writing, and these are some my take and some where I agree with Arthur Burk.
Before I get into the meat and potatoes of the remaining posts, I will find some roundabout way to introduce them each.
Are Traits The Best Way?
Please note that just because I set out a list of traits, no one trait is the silver bullet for defining one as a particular gift, nor does the absence of a trait mean a person is not this or that gift. Rather, out of the couple of dozen or more traits, when we get a good 85% or so of the traits fitting, we know we have enough information to say, yeah, that is a Giver, this is a Servant, and over here we have a Prophet. We understand that a certain number of physical traits are enough to distinguish a duck from a bear or a horse. Likewise, these gifts, if you just pay attention to what is there, will self-present.
The Priority of Our Connection To the Human Spirit
The best way to look for someone’s Redemptive Gift is ultimately not by a list of prepackaged traits, though those traits do help us see the patterns readily, but rather to just feel with your spirit and with a knowing. It takes practice for us to get to know the voice of our spirit, especially if we are used to thinking with our brains, natural reasoning, or merely depending on G-d the Holy Spirit, Father, or Son to give us the boiled-down, tl;dr (short for “too long ; didn’t read) answer. Our spirit is capable of renewing and healing our minds, and bypassing the logic and mental centers at need.
That said, when you get so entangled with prominent traits that you begin to see multiple gifts, you either have one of three things happening.
- You have either one or more of the spirit portions coming to the front because they have been so used to carrying a load that your primary portion of the spirit is not readily identifiable,
- You have more than one of the Redemptive Gifts as your primary gift,
- Or you have grown to accept a gift that isn’t yours, likely because either A) you have mistaken how the gifts function or B) you think this or that gift is the cool gift to have.
Now for each of those three let me offer some thoughts:
- Kim Jones, who works with us over on the SLG Unofficial page, has a theory about what we call “seconds” (secondary Redemptive Gifts) that fits well with what I know about myself: when we are wounded in our primary spirit portion that reflects our dominant Redemptive Gift, the one that marks our soul, other portions will take up the slack in order to help protect the community and especially the wounded portion, so much so that, over the years, a Teacher may think themself a Prophet, and a Mercy may think themself an Exhorter, and so on. Here are Kim’s exact words: “Here’s my theory on ‘seconds.’ I think our main RG’s get very beat up by the enemy when we are young so another portion steps up to fill in the gap and becomes stronger. My Giver and Prophet are both very strong.”
- I am with Arthur Burk completely in the presentation of the Gifts. We do not have more than one Redemptive Gift, though our spirit does have all seven as a community in portions that interact one with another. We are incredibly complex creatures. Think of your spirit as light and your soul as a colored window. Your spirit contains all six colors of the rainbow, and those colors combine to create a seventh color (white light). Our dominant portion, the portion that gets the disproportionate Return on Investment, is the portion that reflects in the window that is our soul. whether the color of that window is white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, or purple. Everything is going to be colored by that dominant color. Yes, it is an analogy, and yes the analogy can break down, but just stay with me. The point of the analogy is that we each carry something that reflects in ALL of our dealings. One way to tell which gift is your gift is to look at the what we call the ROI (the Return On Investment). Wherever that ROI is disproportionate, that is, wherever we are effortless in reaping the blessing or the effort of walking in the principles, and we get a 1 to 100 or 1 to 1000 return for the effort we put in is a good indicator of where we are gifted. That effortlessness is tied to our gift. And our job is to find the key or keys that unlock that dominant gift and flow in that, which will bring out our G-d-designed flavor and taste in the community of the body of Christ. “We know in part, and prophesy in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9), and in another place, “so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5, which is the context for this discussion on Redemptive Gifts). Meaning, you with one particular gift ought not cultivate an attitude of superiority or heresy-hunting toward someone you deem is more emotional or more cerebral than you. Emotions and thoughts are things created by G-d. And we are designed to use both in our processing of information, data, and truth. In addition, we use our will, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and the treasure that is our spirit. And we understand that there are certain things that are just not going to make sense to our natural understanding, and that will only make sense to our spirits.
- A few years ago, everybody was a Prophet, because they mistook the difference between a Fivefold Office Prophet and a Redemptive Prophet. The proliferation of the Fivefold Ministry as the prevalant sacred cow, the only and best method of church leadership, and our twisting of that for the purposes of covering, are part of the reason we got it twisted. Nowadays, because Arthur has done such a good job of selling Mercy, everyone and their uncle thinks they are a Mercy.
Concerning the Redemptive Gifts, John Mosley said the following:
Prophets – Not because they always prophesy
Servants – Not because they were made to serve others
Teachers – Not because they just want to teach people
Exhorters – Not because they want to encourage people
Givers – Not because they love to give
Rulers – Not because they need to be in charge
Mercies – Not because they always show mercy to people…
We are all so very different. Don’t confuse the word meaning of the gift with a unique and glorious expression of the Maker. 😀
The gifts get so twisted because we associate a few of these gifts with spooky glory of manifestation. They are not manifestations. Rather these gifts are designed to function based on principles. A Prophet is not so-called because he prophesies. A Servant is not so-called because he serves.
Likewise, a Teacher is not so-called because they teach. We get gifts so confused because we in the Charismatic movement associate gifts with the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit or really bad expressions or articulations of these gifts in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.
These gifts are not based on supernatural manifestations, though when you plug into your gift it might feel to you like “where did all this benefit and favor come from?!”. That is because your Redemptive Gift, unlike the Office Gifts (Ephesians 4) or the Manifestation Gifts (1 Corinthians 12 and 14), are hardwired into you, it is built into your DNA in a way. You were born and conceived with this expression, and that expression will come out across your entire life. The glory of G-d is hardwired to be part of each of us from the beginning, given the gifts and callings of G-d are given without repentance. Your wiring is supernatural of another kind.
Therefore, if all else fails and you are lost in a tangle of what Adam Esbenshade calls the “soul data” (the characteristics and traits won’t help you crack this egg), then what you need to do is quiet your soul, so your spirit can come to the front and identify the dominant portion, and then you will know. It is not meant to be as complicated as we make it. And in the end, you might disagree with a number of people who say you are this or that gift.
But, it is okay. You are responsible to flow in the way the Father has called you to flow, and made you to flow.
Besides, in my eyes, Teacher is the coolest of the seven. And I am always right.
Back to humility, David. 😉
What, You Mean Cities and Businesses and Organizations?!?!?!?!?!
Yes, Cities, and businesses, and organizations and institutions and other things found in creation, all reflect the pattern set in place by the fractal, or pattern, of seven that we see in Scripture. Because businesses, institutions, and cities nations, and other entities flow out of agents that were created by G-d, and because EVERYTHING G-d does is redemptive, that means, His redemptive character, and the gifts translate everywhere, just like patterns of the number seven are found everywhere, prolifically, in Scripture, so also the proofs of this are found in nature. We will cover some of that concept as it relates to the Teacher in this post.
Corrupte apud Florezium, Augustine, “Mentitur qui te totam legisse factetur”St. Isidore of Seville
Translated: [Concerning Augustine] He is a liar who confesses to have read the whole [of his works].
I quoted that bit on St. Augustine because if you know anything about Augustine’s literary output (lower left corner of the collage), it was massive. Teachers are well known for the massive output which they set forth, often magisterially. For a further visual example of what a Redemptive Gift Teacher does, see the following video:
Did you see those books?!?!?
Traits Of The Teacher
- Most Teachers are massively committed to the old, the historical. Whereas the Prophet loves the new, and the newfangled, the Teacher is committed to what was, and anchors much of what they do with the past. They have a capacity to connect the current to the past and bring others with them on that journey effectively.
- Teachers, as noted above, tend to be prolific writers, and whatever they put out will be of the finest and most reliable quality.
- Pardon the non-standard grammar construct, but Teacher don’t do secondary nonsense or hearsay. You get a book written by a Teacher, it is going to be well-documented, with a good bibliography, works cited, and those works are going to be from primary materials. And it will frequently be dense.
- Teachers are frequently acknowledged to be one of the slowest of the gifts. Slow because they are meticulous, and slow because they are painstaking with explanations. If you ask a Teacher about John 3:16, they are liable to take you back to Genesis 1:1 and walk you through the heilsgeschichte (German for “salvation history”) of the whole canon. Prophet has a transmission with about 35 gears in it, and the Teacher has one speed: compound low.
- Teachers, while they are slow of speech, once they get going on a subject that is important to them, their tongues quickly become some of the longest in the body of Christ. You will note that when the third day was written about, G-d used more words there (which parallels the Teacher’s day) more than any other segment.
- Frequently they are some of the more cerebral of the gifts. The image of the absent-minded professor, because they are potentially dealing with a deep riddle, is not without reason.
- Teachers, if they have not matured, can be one of the more conceited of the gifts. Think of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up.
- Teachers are universally considered to be one of the safest of the gifts. Considering the Teacher tribe of Levi, they are the ones who stay at the tabernacle and wait for the sinner to come. Contrast this with the Prophet, who has a license to hunt. The Prophet will tell you to repent once and then stone you. The Teacher on the other hand, frequently walks in patience and listens to any and all sin, and shows people the way back home. Again, the Levites, with their priestly anointing, heard the issues, and then showed people which sacrifices to offer and how to offer them.
- One function of the Teacher in Scripture, and we see this play out in real life, is the connection between the Teacher and healing. The priests in Israel dealt with the molds, the scabs, the leprosy, and all the regulations dealing with sickness and disease. Likewise, Teaching communities are known for their world-class medicine. Think of St. Louis; Baltimore; Rochester, Minnesota; Jacksonville, Florida; and Belgium, where most physicians for tropical medicine were trained during the last couple of centuries. Also, when you consider the third day, this is when many of your plants, which are the roots of much of pharmacology, comes from. There is healing in the leaves, healing for the nations. Most medications, essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and naturopathic remedies are created using substances that were created on the Third Day.
- There are seven principles that parallel the Seven Redemptive Gifts. They are, in order Prophet/Principle of Design, Servant/Principle of Authority, Teacher/Principle of Responsibility, Exhorter/Threefold Principle of Pain and Suffering/Sowing and Reaping/Reality, Giver/Principle of Stewardship, Ruler/Judge/Deliverer/Principle of Freedom, and Mercy/Principle of Fulfillment. The principle for the Teacher is the Principle of Responsibility. While that isn’t the sexiest of the principles, the ramifications are YUGE. When the Teacher walks in Responsibility, their authority to speak to a situation with the deep treasures of the Word of G-d reaps a massive harvest.
- In the Third Day, we see the introduction of male and female into Creation with the introduction of plants and vegetation. As a result, it is the Teacher that frequently can create the most cogent arguments for dealing with issues of sexual confusion.
- Teacher cities are frequently the places where the beachheads for fights pertaining to sexual deviance are formed.
- Of note, in Teacher communities, witchcraft in its many forms is usually present.
- Teacher communities have a high presence of other things that wish to pervert truth.
- Because of the prevalence of the religious spirit, most Teacher communities have a high prevalence of churches and religious organizations.
- Teacher cities usually have a disproportionate number of hospitals, schools, and green space, such as parks.
- When a Teacher gets a new piece of truth, he is neither quick to dismiss that new piece, nor to take it in. He of all the gifts, is the slowest to assimilate truth, because he likes to painstakingly turn it over in his mind and consider it for a while. This can drive some of the more impulsive gifts up a tree.
- tl;dr the Teacher has a need to validate truth. They love to evaluate truth from a number of different angles. And, as above with Dr. Keener, they are usually prolific writers. Luke and Isaiah exemplify the Teacher. Both men were prolific writers.
- In the case of Isaiah, the issue that repeatedly comes to the fore for the Teacher are issues of social justice. Now, I know that is going to grate on a lot of conservatives who think that the social gospel and social justice are hallmarks of Protestant Liberalism, and to some degree, that is true. However, the L-rd in this season, is making an issue of justice towards many different people groups that have not long enjoyed reaping justice in the context of the church.
- I am going to beat this drum rather hard. Those that cannot handle it, might need to come back and read this later. G-d made an issue in Isaiah, and in James (a Redemptive Gift of Prophet), as well as Luke, of justice toward those people that were highlighted in the Law of Moses as people we need to be especially keen as a church body to care for: THE WIDOW, THE ORPHAN, THE FATHERLESS, THE PRISONER. Pure religion and undefiled before G-d is this, to visit these peeps in the time of their distress. It is not the government who should provide the first line of safety net, but rather the church. They know you follow Yeshua by your love. Not by the correctness of your practice. Your Principle of Responsibility is what brings out the finest of church practice. It is not just when we teach rightly, but when we practice skillfully. It is not just when we have the right feast days, but also when we give the disenfranchised justice.
- Hewlett-Packard, and a number of other Teacher companies FLOURISHED, when they began to practice social responsibility. Let me quote from Onyx Business DNA:
It was in [the] context [of several centuries following the Industrial Revolution] that Dave Packard led the way to a paradigm shift that has affected the western culture. He was in a meeting with a number of leading captains of industry in the United States. And this is a quote from Stanford Magazine, article by Dave Packard.
He said, “somehow, we got into a discussion of the responsibility of management. [Paul] Holden made the point that management’s responsibility is to the shareholders — that’s the end of it. And I objected. I said, ‘I think you’re absolutely wrong. Management has a responsibility to its employees, it has a responsibility to its customers, it has a responsibility to the community at large.’ And they almost laughed me out of the room.”
50 years ago, the concept of social responsiblity was not even languaged. Dave Packard, highly respected leader of a major American corporation, meets with other American businesspeople, and says, “we have a responsibility for more than just our shareholders….”Onyx Business DNA, Disc 2, Cut 1, Timestamp 2:40-4:04
Note, the Teacher company that flowed in and stepped forward in the Principle of Responsiblity back then, became a leader in a revolution on how businesses engage with responsiblity that may not be theirs, but when they embrace a wider problem than just profit margin, as a Teacher company, they grow.
22. When a Teacher embraces the Principle of Responsibility in fullness, and embraces problems that have that flavor of responsibility, they will turbo-charge something and open the door for a flood of authority in their sphere of influence.
23. G-d made the Teacher to slow down some of the more impulsive gifts that may jump to conclusions too quickly.
24. Because the Teacher is a very safe person emotionally, many Teachers may confuse themselves with a gift of Mercy. They are able to listen to brokenness, woundedness, any kind of sin without having a critical attitude, and then they show the way home toward reconciliation with G-d.
25. Because the Principle of Responsibility becomes a battleground for them and a place of testing, Teachers frequently have a hard time returning things. You let a Teacher borrow books, tapes, materials, and those materials, without malice may arrive in the Teacher’s drawers or bookshelves for six weeks, six months or six years, and the Teacher will frequently without malice, completely forget they have borrowed those materials.
26. They are often late in returning not only things, but also in returning communication, letters, phone calls, and e-mails.
27. Teachers, because they are slow-moving, typically have issues with being responsible with time, as in, they are frequently late, to meetings, appointments, and other things.
28. Teachers typically also have issue and problems with handling money. Most Teachers in a marriage with another gift, the Teacher will usually allow the other gift to handle the finances.
29. One of the telltale marks that you are dealing with a Teacher is the way they excel in all areas except at home. You can have a person who is a Teacher that does A+ work at their job, in education, and in ministry, and at their home, the doorbell is broken, the oil in their car has not been changed in several months, and the toilet has not been maintained and some of the outlets are not working. In other words, because the Principle of Responsibility is such a major component for the Teacher, the negative manifestations and the fight for the Teacher will be in the area of Selective Responsibility.
30. The stronghold for the Teacher is the Religious Spirit. I define that spirit way differently than most charismatics. Whereas most charismatics define the Religious spirit as “a set of rules and regulations for doing worship or pleasing G-d”, I define it as “doing anything except the one thing G-d told you to do.” You can engage in a flurry or religious activity, and whether it is dry expository preaching, or dancing, flagging, talking in tongues, and flagging during worship, and the spirit behind both the dry worship and the charismatic worship will be the same. If G-d has asked you to take Sunday morning off in order to do something for the widow next door, and you instead insist on ignoring what G-d told you to do, you have embraced a religious spirit. If you have been told to go to your son’s football game, and you instead stay at home and hang out with your weekly group doing whatever, that is a form of the religious spirit. It is doing anything except the one thing you are supposed to be doing. Put more simply, it is shirking your responsibility.
31. In preaching or teaching, the Teacher really does not like using incarnated truth. They love their chain references, the exposition, the Greek and the Hebrew (not merely a Strong’s Concordance if they can avoid it). They frequently love the pure doctrine of the written Scriptures.
32. For the Teacher to step up into what they were made to do, they have to have a moment, or series of MOMENTS OF ENCOUNTER with not just the Scripture, but the Word of G-d HIMSELF. The Word of G-d is not merely a book. It is first and foremost a MAN. Hebrews 4:12 is written in the context of the rest of Hebrews 4, which discusses Yeshua as our Sabbath Rest. Just saying!
33. Teacher cities of the last 100+ years, with the exception of Los Angeles, have hosted just about every major revival since the birth of the Pentecostal Movement in Azusa Street. Pensecola, Kansas City, Lakeland, Toronto, etc. All Teacher cities. Teacher Cities are designed to host the presence of G-d and be places that are safe for encounter with the True and Living G-d that the Teacher himself or herself was meant to encounter
34. The Table of Shewbread (also called the Table of the Bread of Presence), the Third in the list of Seven Articles of Furniture in the Tabernacle, symbolizes the desire of the L-rd for intimacy and communion. The L-rd desires for the Teacher to have unlimited access to His presence and to not just know about Him, or even to know the Scriptures, but to KNOW HIM. Note that even though there were certain Levites that were excluded from serving in or around the Tabernacle due to physical deformities (Leviticus 21), every Levite had the right to feast on the Bread of the Presence. In other words, every single person with the Redemptive Gift of Teacher has access to an unlimited amount of intimacy with the L-rd. That depth of hidden manna, of deep truth, is part of the birthright of the Teacher.
35. The Teacher’s piece in the Believer’s Armor from Ephesians 6 are not the Shoes of Peace, but the Shoes of Readiness. Feet shod not with peace, but Feet SHOD WITH READINESS from the Gospel of Peace.
36. The Teacher also likes to slow down and ponder their thoughts. One statement that embodies the Teacher is “she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart”, a reference to Mary, whom I call a Teacher, hands-down. Now, I understand, there are people who call her a Giver, and that is their business, but my take is Teacher. Slowness of thinking, and moving, and consider the riddle and unpack the deep riddle.
37. Here is a blast on my views of the Teacher. This is my absolute favorite gift of the seven and the one I celebrate where most won’t. They are steadfast, loyal, thoughtful, tender, plaintive, contemplative, soulful in the eyes, chewing the cud, generous with their words when believing the best about someone, and when they are not wounded or offended, some of the best, sweetest, kindest, deepest people you will every meet.
38. The symbol for the Luke in Catholic and early Christian Icons and artwork of the Four Evangelists (authors of the Four Gospels) is the bull or ox. Pulling heavy loads, solid, strong, steady, plowing the fields to plant the seeds of deep truth. This is a very fitting motif for the Teacher. Luke was faithful and loyal and the only one who stayed by Paul, just like Mary did with Jesus at the Crucifixion, to the end.
39. My Teacher portion presents very much like Ferdinand the Bull. He will not leave anyone behind, loves the smell of flowers, does not like separation, like the deep thoughts.
40. The Teacher, when you see me compare them to a vehicle, is without a doubt the motorcycle. A LOT of responsibility goes with riding a motorcycle. Capable of great fun and thrilling rides when handled correctly, and capable of great damage when mishandled.
Final Thoughts From My Teacher Portion
“My name is Ferdinand, and I am David’s Teacher Portion. Yes, like Ferdinand the Bull. And yes, in the spirit, I present as a Spanish Bull. I have a (ironically, I know) leather utility belt that I wear just behind my shoulders. And I have a close friend in Telluride, David’s Prophet Portion, the Lumberjack.
“Teachers, people think they have you all figured out, just because a naturally-minded Teacher has left them stoned and left for dead. Most of my Teacher tribe left David for dead, and they judged his Mercy Portion. I know that feeling. David knows what it is like to get stoned and misunderstood as a heretic.
“People think they know what you are like because they think a few bad Teachers are going to damn the whole tribe. David was routinely slaughtered by that tribe. His Mercy Portion was not allowed to come up for air for years, and so I took up residence and traded service with Telluride and the Exhorter Portion until Penelope, the Mercy Portion, was restored.
“I have news for you, each of you, Teachers.
“You were made for reverence…
“and protection and revelation and deep truth and encounter and the presence of G-d, to enflame your understanding. You were made for KNOWLEDGE ON FIRE, in the words of Del Tarr. And I don’t give a damn what the rest of the six tribes, mine included, say. You have something to offer, deeply.
“Honest to goodness, here is my piece of testimony.
“I am not a fighting bull.
“I was indeed built to fight, but born to love.
“I was big and lumbering, and big-spirited, and my ex-pastor and his wife determined David was crazy and spiritually put him and me into a straitjacket because they thought I was out of control. We were subsequently judged by all the pastors in the Teacher tribe as crazy, dangerous, and out of control. We walked around in the spirit with a straitjacket and sedatives for decades.
“I was judged as a Teacher by those who represented the Teacher tribe as incapable of teaching because they thought I was a danger to the Christian society. And because of that nonsense in the spirit realm, I was incapable of doing what I was made to do as a pastor.
“I know that bitterness.
“Teacher Tribe, NONE OF YOU WERE MADE FOR THAT LEVEL OF JUDGMENT AND ANTICHRIST DESTRUCTION!
“YOU WERE MADE FOR YOUR FEET TO BE SHOD WITH READINESS AND LOVE AND INTIMACY AND PRESENCE IN A WAY MOST PEOPLE ONLY DREAM ABOUT.
“Father’s gentle and tender hand was meant to guide you as you lead people into the presence of the King.
“Luke, the gospel of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah, without peer in Hebrew poetry and the one who spoke of the L-rd’s Suffering Presence among us.
“Teachers, you have a deep place and you belong. Without exception.
” These are some thoughts for y’all to chew on. Enjoy them.”
And follow the path, from the ground to the sky, to my post on the Exhorter, which is next.