At the beginning of the year, I shared my plan to focus on the theme of courage in this blog during 2015. It is now August and my production on that theme has been negligible.
Part of that has been because of the intensity of the year’s work schedule. But some of it has been that there simply is no grace for the topic at this time. While the systemic lack of courage in the Body of Christ is a matter of grave concern for me, it is clear that this wine needs to age a while longer inside me, before being expressed.
That said, I believe there IS grace for exploring a new flavor of intercession. Here is the background.
Think of a person who irritates you.
Think of all the things you would like to fix about them and all of the wisdom you would like to share with them.
Think of all the times you have tried to share that wisdom and were soundly rebuffed!
Broadly speaking we have less effectiveness in changing someone when we are mad at them than when we love them. Conversely, when our message is about what is best for them, there is some measure of greater acceptance than when our message is about what is best for us.
These two criteria are not the only considerations for why a message would be received or rejected, but they are significant factors in a broader dynamic.
When we zoom out to the bigger picture, the Giver gift has justly been tagged as the most intransigent of the seven redemptive gifts. They simply are not very open to outside input about how to fix them. This is not my personal bias. God expressed vast frustration over the Giver nation of Israel’s resistance to His insights into their inner and outer worlds.
So what to do? Like all the rest of us, Givers are born a little less than perfect, and they at times make poor choices in life to compound the problem. Like all the rest of us, they could benefit from some outside input at times.
Scripture is replete with models of how God deals with resistant Givers as individuals or as a tribe. His two most common methods are to allow the consequences of violation of principle to hurt them, or for God Himself to overtly increase the pain on the Giver until they concede that His plan is better. The books of Judges and Kings are a tiresome litany of the heavy hand of God against the Giver tribes.
There is, however, an alternative. Hosea’s battle with Gomer certainly included a double portion of pain, but the centerpiece of the story is his extraordinary investment of love at a time when she could not receive his love.
Eventually the excellence of his loving her in spite of herself, penetrated the firewall of her woundedness and sinfulness to the point that she was able to receive a heart transplant from him that changed her world.
While we are probably not as gifted as Hosea in the art of extraordinary forgiveness and love-driven tenacity, we can still move in that direction.
I am starting a year-long project of prayers for the Giver tribe. The focus will not be about fixing anything bad about them. Rather it will be a cascade of life giving love, celebrating the magnificence of God’s good heart toward the gift.
Now here is the punch line. The objective is to change us!
It has long been established that we become intimate with those who we pray to, those who we pray with and those who we pray for.
At the end of a year of setting aside our irritations with the Givers in our midst and crying out to the Most High for them to receive their treasures in full, we will be very different people – perhaps better positioned to speak to our Givers if God has not already transformed them.
While these prayers are targeting the Giver tribe, they are applicable for anyone, so if someone is rubbing you the wrong way and won’t listen to a word you say, spend a year praying instead of nagging and see what changes in your own heart.
The plan is to take twelve themes, one per month, and to break them down into four subsets each month. I will release one prayer strategy per week, roughly around the beginning of the week, depending on my work and travel schedule.
The first one will be posted on Sunday, August 23rd.
I am looking forward to the changes within me as I invest so much effort in seeing Givers from God’s perspective. At the end of the day, with seven gifts to choose from, God selected the Giver gift for the nation of Israel. That shows the immensity of His valuing the gift. And the only person who is called The Friend of God is Abraham the Giver.
Obviously, if we are crosswise with the Givers in our midst, at least part of the problem lies with us because we cannot see them through the grand and glorious lens God uses.
So let’s fix our attitude and perspective.
Copyright August 2015 by Arthur Burk
Airborne over North Texas, homebound with joy