(Photo courtesy: graphicstock.com)
"Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."- John 6:27
I have seen some interesting comments lately expressing their understanding of the "favor of God". I have been challenged and, admittedly, have struggled with their definition or perception of what it means to have the favor of God.
Some of the comments have ranged from the idea that God is showing favor because someone paid for their latte at Starbucks to getting a discount on airfare and hotel somewhere. My first instinct is to say "Heck yeah! Way to be all prayed up, humble, loving, serving, etc. and God totally answered your prayers!"
Then, I actually think.
How can this be the favor of God? I mean, maybe God knew you forgot your wallet at home and wanted you to enjoy the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) or maybe he really wanted you to go on a trip for the low, low cost of $600, but I struggle thinking that this is how He is going to show favor.
Besides, what about those people who are living right next door who go to the same church, pray to the same God, serve (for arguments sake) the same amount as you with humility, but they struggle to make ends meet and barely have food on their table? Why is God showing you favor and not them?
Is God's favor defined by things we receive or the ONE THING that we have received? Perhaps God's favor is found in the fact that He was willing to send His Son to die for us. That's all!
Let's think about how God showed favor, especially in light of lattes, travel, and money.
When God showed favor with food, He provided the manna needed for life to the Israelites in the Dessert and told them to eat what they needed and not to store up because it would go bad (New International Bobby Version). When He gave a drink as favor, He told the woman at the well He was the living water that nobody should go thirsty when they drink from His well! That's a drink only He could afford to purchase for us.
Yeah, He loves to provide travel, but at what cost? He called His disciples to go on vacation throughout the nations as His messengers to share His message of love. The cost, well, their life. YOLO!
Finally, money. Yes, God wants us to be taken care of. For some of us, He wants us to have financial gain and live in nice homes. However, for some He doesn't. Does that mean their not in His favor? Not at all! In fact, He even said it would be easier for a camel to fit through an eye of a needle before a rich man could enter heaven (Luke 18:25). When we strive for financial gain so we can be comfortable, that's a flawed way of thinking. If we strive for financial gain so we can assist with making others comfortable, maybe that's a better way.
We need to understand that the favor of God is not about the things we can achieve on our own, but Him giving us the very thing we could not earn without Him! This is essential to living a healthy Christian life.
I wrote a post (http://bobbybenavides.blogspot.com/search?q=open+your+ears) that challenged the concept of what gospel we are hearing. In that post I suggest, if the gospel doesn't translate across the nations, then maybe it's not the right gospel message.
Perhaps we need to make sure we are sharing a proper view of God's favor so the world will understand that He doesn't show favoritism, but always gives what is good!