Why Does Your Gift Matter?


It took me five years to figure out my redemptive gift, and longer than that to figure out my wife’s.  During all of the time that I thought I was something else, I was actually still walking out my gift, although I did not recognize it.  Our redemptive gifts are so defining that they operate whether we know about it or not (and whether we like our gift or not!!!!).

This is true even when there is violent rejection of our gift by us or others.  At least half the people with the gift of Teaching who I personally know, are in full-blown rejection of their gift, insisting that they are Prophet or Ruler.  The Mercy and Giver gifts also seem to experience a significant amount of rejection of their own gift.  By contrast, the Servant and Exhorter seem to be the most commonly at home in their design.

So why does it matter?  If a Teacher has positioned himself in a slot more suitable for a Ruler and is doing a truly excellent job, while being self-deceived, what difference does it make?

Well, I see two reasons why it matters.  The first is because of the sweet spot for growth.  Simply put, we get a vastly higher return on investment for growth in the area of our design than outside our design.

Take my story.  Because I am a missionary’s kid, I had moved 27 times in my first 40 years, often from one continent to another.  I can out perform most Rulers when it comes to the logistics of shutting down an entire household and relocating it. However, those are all learned skills.

If I were to take 100 units of time and effort and invest them in getting an MBA so as to strengthen my Ruler skill set, I would probably only come away with 100 units of change.

On the other hand, if I were to take the same 100 units of resources and invest them in studying 10 world-class men and women with the redemptive gift of Prophet to see how they developed new paradigms, I would end up with 1,000 units of change in my life.

So it is perfectly OK to study things related to any of the gifts, but if you want to live strategically, you need to know your gift, so you can unpack it, because you will get the highest amount of transformation in the area of your design.

The second reason that it helps to know your gift, is because of the output of your life.  When I have someone working for me in the area of learned skills I again am getting a one for one ROI.  I pay them for eight hours of work, and they give me eight hours of product in return.

On the other hand, when someone is working in the area of their design, I will get far more value for the time they spend there, and they will enjoy the process much more.

So a Ruler gift is certainly capable of answering the phone and doing customer service, but if I had a Servant, Exhorter or Giver on the phone, they would establish a far better connection with the customer, all other things being equal.

To summarize:  if you know what your gift is, you can grow much faster than if you don’t.  And if you know what your gift is, you can make a much larger impact in the community than if you simply work for best available wages.

Copyright November 2010 by Arthur Burk

From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim

This entry was posted in The Redemptive Gifts of Individuals. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Why Does Your Gift Matter?

  1. Liezl says:

    What a relieve to realise I am not the only struggling to identify my gift. After your visit to SA earlier this year I listened to the RG CDs, read the “Alive …” book and filled out the RG questionnaire and just got more and more confused … :-). At this point it seems like I am not a prophet nor a servant (although the one “picture” in Alive that I could really relate to was a servant…) – the verdict is still out on the other five.

    I will follow your advice on the “reasoning process” and see where that leaads me … what a pleasant discovering journey :-).

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    • Plumbline Ministries says:

      Look at your early childhood before the culture imprinted itself on you. That is the best indicator of who you really are. By the time we are adults, we are usually either conforming to what the culture wants us to become or we are sufficiently wounded that most of our choices are compensation for the wounds and are therefore not valid.

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      • Liezl says:

        yes … too much learnt behaviour piled on to who I really am … just to get to the real thing now …
        thank you!

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  2. Pam Pratt says:

    For me, when I walk in my gift, my spirit is at peace. This was hard lesson to learn since I used to value striving & personal effort. Now I am becoming more comfortable with walking in peace and valuing being just me. I still have personal effort, but now it is focused on finding ways to be excellent in who I am and expressing it in what I do well.

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  3. Joyful says:

    I have found this be be a good diagnostic question for identifying your gift:

    “What makes your heart sing?”

    For me, serving a deeply nourishing dinner to a group of cherished friends (usually with one or two newly adopted persons included) makes my heart sing loudly with great joy!

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  4. heartstudio says:

    What’s the best way to learn my redemptive gift?

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  5. francyes says:

    I’m surprised it took you so long to figure yourself out. When I listened to the RG cd’s I finished everyone and started over. Clueless. Although I could recognize others close to me. I made a decision on one that I thought it might be but it still feels very forced…like I’m really the opposite of what I think I am. I need to study more probably but is there anything about someone contradicting there own RG? If I’m this or that, I still feel confused.

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    • Plumbline Ministries says:

      Most of the time when we are not at peace with our gift, it is because of a legitimacy issue. We have been told, or made to think, that this gift is not really good, or is not a right fit for us, or that some other gift is better. So the question I would ask is, “Who would not like it if I were _____ gift?” See if that would allow you to surface a belief system that is blocking you.

      The other tool that I have found hugely helpful is to match the days of the week to the gifts, using examples of people you know well. So you put a Prophet on Sunday, a Servant on Monday, etc. Then you try to live in their heads for that day. So on Monday you are standing in front of the frozen broccoli trying to decide whether to buy the large or the small package. You stop and say, “Oh! This is Servant day. If my friend Sally the Servant was here, what would her reasoning process be?” You don’t necessarily have to do what she would do, but just trying to see the world through the eyes of each of the gifts is a great learning process.

      This is a hugely helpful exercise because it gets you into the reasoning process of all of the gifts. You can’t go wrong by learning all of them better. But after three months of doing this faithfully, you will be able to see who it is that you think like!

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  6. Deborah says:

    I absolutely agree with this. I know that knowing my redemptive gift has been validating. It has helped me to be more focused and more solid–to better know my factory so that I am not trying to produce something I haven’t been created to produce. Such a difference!!! Still a journey but I walk the journey from a defferent perspective–persevere from a different place! Thank you, Arthur.

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