“God has favorites,” she said, “I have seen them.” This just went against everything in my heart at the moment as I have been considering God’s love for me. But then, I know what she means. I have also had that thought. Others seem to get blessed more, have their prayers answered, are financially more blessed, more successful, everything goes well for them etc.
Most often, when we identify “fruit” in another person’s life, we conclude that they are loved and favored. Take Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37), they saw and recognized the “fruit” of a colorful coat Joseph wore and knew from observation that he was loved by Jacob their father. Jacob actually did show favoritism and the more evident the “fruit” was in Joseph’s life, the more it bothered his brothers. This eventually caused them to take action.
Seeing “fruit” or “love” in the life of others on a regular basis and noticing the absence of said “fruit” and “love” in our lives, leads to the conclusion that there must be favoritism. However, scripture is very clear that God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:11) There is no favor in His judgement and there is no favor in His love. God does not differentiate on the basis of any characteristic, all of us qualify for His love.
However, even the best of us suspect favoritism:
“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realise how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Acts 10:34-35
In our world and for the disciples in Jesus time, it appears that blessing and success usually came as a result of being loved. When someone was rich, it was assumed they were loved by God and when someone was poor or sick, it was assumed they, or their parents had done something wrong.
Even, the disciples competed for the favored position. James and John allowed their mother to ask Jesus for special positions in the kingdom. Peter, when Jesus told him about his future death, automatically looked at John who called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and assuming favor asked: “What about Him Jesus?” (John 21:21) It is natural for us to seek the favored position.
We want fair and equal from God on all things. But if one reads the story in Matt 20:13-15, God does not do fair and equal when it comes to blessing. The workers hired last received their blessing. Based on this, the workers hired earlier in the day determined for the landowner what their blessing should be. Much like we determine our blessing based on what other people are blessed with.
But in this story, each got what he agreed to work for. That was fair trade for services. When it came to blessing however, each got his unique and specific blessing as the landowner determined. It was the landowner’s right to be generous and generosity is determined by the giver of gifts and not the receiver.
When Peter asked Jesus in John 21, “what about him Jesus?” Jesus replied that what happened to John was His decision, Peter was to follow Him and be obedient to Him.
God’s generosity to us and the blessings given to us are determined by His generosity to us and NOT favoritism. His blessings come uniquely and specifically to us, God’s intention being to bless us and not to harm us (Jer 29:11).
However, from my own study of scripture, I have come to understand that blessing comes:
- Because we are the children of God whom He loves. (Psalm 112)
- Some blessing comes as a result of obedience to the law. Since living God’s way brings with it a consequential blessing. (Psalm 119:1; Prov 20:7)
- Some blessing comes as a reward for blessing others. (Luke 6:38)
- Some blessing comes from seeking the kingdom first, and making it a priority. (Matt 6:33)
- Some blessing comes from being a peacemaker. (Matt 5:9; James 3:18)
- Some blessing is a result of sowing and reaping (2 Cor 9:6; Gal 6:7-8)
- Some blessing is a result of giving and then receiving (Acts 20:35)
- Some blessing is as result of asking and then receiving. (Matt 7:8; James 4:3)
- Some blessing is from choosing to give up your rights and desires and submit to the Lord. (Mark 9:35)
- Some blessing is from being faithful with little and being given more. (Luke 12:48)
There are many more of these in scripture. We don’t know why God chooses to bless, but we do know that it is His nature to bless. Eph 1:3
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Coming back to the question of favorites and blessing; our level of blessing does not determine the level to which we are loved. God extends love to all without limit, but his blessings are not equally extended without discernment on His part. He is very clear, that He blesses as He determines.
Thank you Father for all the blessing that I do have in my life. Forgive me my ungrateful heart. Help me to focus on being thankful for every blessing from You rather than complaining about what I did not receive. Help me to remember that I cannot measure your love for me by the blessings I have. Help me to remember that Your love for me does not change, is always consistent and is always focused on my best interests.