favorite noun [C]
UK US favorite UK /ˈfeɪ.vər.ɪt/ US /ˈfeɪ.vər.ət/
- a thing that someone likes best or enjoys most
- a person who is treated with special kindness by someone in authority
- the person or animal most people expect to win a race or competition:
I am God’s favorite – He likes me – He enjoys me, He makes sure I win.
And – don’t panic – He likes you too!
We find it hard to understand how we can both be God’s favourite because we live in a finite world of limited resources – someone can only be a winner because someone else is a loser – but with God we are all winners!
There are no limits to what he can do – because one person was blessed, it does not mean he is not able to bless another person too – because you had a miracle – does not mean that I can’t have one – there is no daily quota on miracles. Because you already had one miracle in your life, it doesn’t mean you can’t have another one – there is no life-time limitation on how often God can be good to you.
Jesus spent three years on earth trying to undo some of the crazy wrong thinking that was deeply ingrained – not in the minds of the pagan Greeks but in the minds of God’s chosen people. Here is a great example:
Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids-blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” – John 5:2-8
So what was all that about? This man wanted to be healed and clearly there was a possibility of being healed at this particular place from time to time. The story went that an angel stirred up the water and whoever got in there first would be instantly healed. This is what the invalid is trying to tell Jesus: “I know healing is possible but it’s a lottery, even worse it’s a race – and being a cripple I am not ever going to win that race!”
So Jesus appeared to demonstrate to the cripple –
- you are also the favorite
- you can also win
- God’s healing is here for you too
- It doesn’t matter how many other people got in the water first, God is still able and willing to heal you!
A lot of the Bible is actually preoccupied with explaining how things that used to be limited to certain special people are now available to all of us – we are all God’s favorites. Even the patriarchs Isaac and Jacob didn’t really get this. Isaac thought he had only one blessing – he meant it to go to his first- born, Esau, who was his natural favorite, but Jacob tricked him and got the blessing. Esau was distraught and begged his father to bless him as well. But his father was adamant:
“Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. (Genesis 27:36)
It’s a tragic story – not least because it’s not true. God the Father subsequently blessed Esau – so much so that Esau had no problem forgiving Jacob. When Jacob finally met up with his estranged brother, sending a massive gift of livestock and presents ahead of him, Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself!” Jacob could rob Esau of his father’s blessing but he couldn’t rob him of his heavenly Father’s blessing.
Later we see that Jacob and his sons have still not understood this principle. Joseph was the favourite son of Jacob. It had negative implications for his life because the favour of his father brought the jealousy of his brothers. (This may also have been because of Joseph’s own arrogant attitude!) But God’s favour was with Joseph in every circumstance – even in slavery, even in jail, even before Pharaoh.
By the end of his life he understood what his favour was for – not solely for his own benefit (though I would guess there might be some perks to being Prime Minister of Egypt!) When Joseph finally met up with his brothers, he had also come to the place of forgiveness, saying: “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (Genesis 45:4-6)
So Joseph has not only understood that he is the favourite, – he has learned to live with being the favourite – and how that means an overflow of favour for others in his life: for his family who mistreated him and even for a whole foreign nation.
Every one of us needs to know that we are also blessed – with the blessing that falls on the favorite son or daughter. I am not just living in the favour of God – I am God’s favorite.