For those of you that are not familiar with the concept of the Redemptive Gifts and are new to my blog, I am friends with Arthur Burk of Sapphire Leadership Group in Spartanburg, SC, a think-tank that researches Scripture from a fractal paradigm and deals with answers to questions that no one is asking.
One of Arthur’s most well-known teachings covers the seven Spiritual Gifts from Romans 12:6-8 and their nature as Redemptive Gifts. I cover some of the reasoning for why they are called “redemptive gifts” here.
As it pertains to the Seven Redemptive Gifts from Romans 12:6-8, I have already written on the Servant.
For those who have been waiting on pins and needles, yes, I will finish the posts on the Sixth Gift, the Ruler/Judge/Deliverer, as soon as I make the free time, and I am sorry for the procrastination.
All that said, this morning, while in Genesis, I came across a very useful application for the Servant, that from my POV, occurs in Scripture, and I have the words with which to articulate it right now. Therefore, let’s read some Scripture below.
Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. And Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh, that I may make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my kindred, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.Gen. 24:1–9 ESV
First off, I am going to say that the text does not definitively say that this is Eliezar of Damascus, so it may be impossible to completely affirm that without qualification. However, reading Genesis 15:2 and this together, and seeing that Eliezar was the “son” or “heir” (Hebrew וּבֶן-מֶשֶׁק) of Abraham’s house (think “steward or manager of all that he has”), seem to suggest this is the servant we are talking about.
Now that we have that out of the way, consider the following factors, all of which seem to me to point to this servant having the Redemptive Gift of Servant, and the application I am going to drive at.
- Abraham, as a Redemptive Gift Giver obsessed with his legacy, is very vulnerable at this point. He is placing the continued existence of his legacy in the hands of someone who has the power to damage that legacy through jealousy.
- The servant does not violate his master, even though he places his hand under his master’s thigh.
- The servant had a motive to be jealous, envious, and grasping, as many about whom we read through Scripture (Gehazi in 2 Kings 5; Ziba in 2 Samuel 9, 16, and 19; Absalom the son of David) but he didn’t execute on what could have been a means of getting something for himself.
- The servant asked a question here that clarified his responsibilities, accounting for something that Abraham might not have seen. He acted here without guile.
- The servant swore the oath and left immediately and acted with leadership in the entire account and with authority toward all with whom he interacted. His mission caused him to have a fire to excel at what he did. Typical Servant
- The servant executed without qualification on all of his duties.
- The servant handled the grasping, conniving house of Nahor and Laban, without getting himself dirty or defiled, and without compromising one shred of Abraham’s integrity, and without yielding to Laban and Nahor’s unreasonable additional requests that the woman stay 10 days, which would have altered the agreement they had made the night before.
Look at that. A list of seven qualities. Giggle. Go ahead and smile :).
And now, as it pertains to altering the agreement, this is what came to me while I was writing this…
I imagine Lando Calrissian (yes, from Star Wars, as the principles are everywhere) was an Exhorter who was forced into situations where he had to manage like a Servant, and finesse would not work. Only harsh reality. If you watch the Empire Strikes Back, and Solo, you will see Billy Dee Williams’ and Donald Glover’s characters, respectively, being put into those situations repeatedly. And Bespin, the mining colony, strikes me as Servant in the extreme, and Cloud City, um, yeah. Second Day references here.
There is your David MacNelley pop culture Redemptive Gift reference for the post. Back to the point of the post…
The Extra Quality That Further Shows What the Servant Is
I know some might equivocate and say, “we all have problems with [insert sin here such as ambition]”, but I am saying the Servant of the Seven Redemptive Gifts struggles the least with ambition and grasping and self-assertion that is not rooted in caring for others. All day long they will do what they can to enable others, and can fall into the Savior mentality. But when it comes to advocating for themselves, they are exceptionally well-known for not defaulting to doing that, and they frequently need someone who is stronger in that department to make sure they are taken care of. My mother-in-law and my wife, both Servants, have this issue, less so with my wife, of seeing to it that they provide for their own needs. Servants have this issue with boundaries at times. This may be because they have such a desire to build platforms others for their success, or it may be because God routinely places Servants in situations where there is great dysfunction (such as in alcoholic or abusive situations) precisely because the Servant is designed with the highest authority to bring cleansing into a situation (Bronze laver, the waters above and the waters below on the Second Day) and to do all this in the most background, humble, unassuming fashion.
I have a friend that is a Servant, who handles the business accounts for another friend. Friend #1 has access to the checking accounts and financials and everything in between, right down to the pin codes, and could do great damage to Friend #2’s organization, but does not. Why? Because, as a Servant, Friend #1 does not struggle with the ambition the way any other Redemptive Gift would. Furthermore, Friend #1 protect the accounts from access by people within the organization who have less-than-pure motives.
So, now that I have laid the background and set the stage, what is that extra quality?
I would like to contend God places Servants more than other gifts in situations where they are responsible for managing resources, agendas, families, situations where there are great vulnerabilities present that the other six gifts would more likely take advantage.
They will also be more prone to taking insults on the chin for the organization or person that is vulnerable and keep running. Servants have a never-say-die attitude that does not quit when the other six gifts would quit, especially when the Servant is getting beaten on and pounded by others and falsely accused.
While I could see Givers doing this sort of work in protecting resources from those with hidden agendas, it seems to me that when there are greater magnitudes of dysfunction, competing ambitions in others, and an off-the-chart vulnerability of the one being protected, as well as the task of facing reviling, slander, bullets whizzing, repeated accusations, and the noise of war in the camp, more often than not, that task will fall to a Servant.