Receiving is colored by whether the giver or the recipient is a slave or a son.
Slaves prefer to receive finished products or liquid assets. Sons receive raw materials so they can build.
Slaves, who give, usually give unwisely, offering finished products or liquid assets. The slave receives them gladly and consumes their assets swiftly, returning for more of the same.
When a slave offers a finished product or liquid asset to a son, it is usually received with faint pleasure.
When someone with a spirit of fathering, who himself has mastered the art of sonship, gives a raw material to a slave, it is usually met with disappointment. When it is given to a son, it is often met with surprise.
The wise son then looks inside himself to see what facet of their design the father sees that this raw material could unpack.
This is the whole story of the 40 years in the wilderness. God was walking in fathering. They had a spirit of slavery. They wanted to receive pain relief in the simplest way, now. God wanted to teach them how to unpack their treasures.
One of the first things He did was to sort them out by tribes. As befitting those with a spirit of slavery, they were living next to the people they liked. There was one mutual admiration society after another. Friendship, after all, is usually based around selfishness.
Instead, God forced them to do a census and then organize themselves by tribe and clan and family. They had to live next to the families they were born into, whether it was easy or not.
In other words, instead of looking at the people around them through the grid of “How could you hurt me or irritate me or inconvenience me?” the grid became, “How can you contribute to the flow?”
You see, flow became a critical issue for 40 years. When you went to bed at night, you had no idea if you were moving the next morning. If you were, you had limited time to get rolling and get in the march. Flow mattered.
So everyone and everything was centered around the issues of speed and fluidity. You gathered manna, prepared it, ate, packed, got the animals rounded up and took your place in the big march with an eye toward speed.
And at the end of the day, you set up the tent and settled in for dinner and a rest as quickly as possible, because the more efficient you were, the longer you got to rest.
Your extended family represented assets God had given you to facilitate your moving with speed through this new kind of life.
Throughout the book of Numbers there is conflict after conflict as God tried to give the gift of flow one way, and the people wanted it another. It is our master manual for fathering, as God took a nation with a spirit of slavery and grew them into a nation with some degree of sonship.
Today, everyone, including the Givers in our midst, has to learn to receive the gifts God is giving us, not simply the gifts we would like.
Today, as I write this, most of the SLG websites around the world are down. So are our emails which are processed through the server.
The first reaction – from a position of slavery – is to get it fixed as soon as possible. Megan will awake any time now to a series of unhappy emails on her personal email account, alerting her to the crisis. She will jump on it and find out what happened and try to fix it before she even starts her day.
But through the process, I will be listening. Is there any chance that God wants to give us something we are not looking for? Is there a bit of insight, or the beginning of a relationship with someone in tech support, or the discovery of a soft spot in our system that we could leverage for our good over the long term?
I don’t know, but I am looking for whatever gift God wants to give us today, not just to get the websites and emails up and running again.
Join me with a prayer for the Giver tribe we are serving to receive everything God wants them to have to enrich their flow.
Copyright December 2015 by Arthur Burk
On the road, but not for long