I miss going to birthday parties. Yes, I still go to birthday dinners and birthday celebrations (i.e. hotpot, all-you-can-eat, karaoke madness, clubbing, etc.), but I miss a good ol’ birthday party. You remember, right? I am referring to the b-day parties we would get invited to in elementary school, when people would actually give out thematic invitations and you would actually buy them something (well, your mom would buy them something), that wasn’t a gift card. I liked that the cakes were not the ubiquitous T&T-Dairy Queen-Chinese Fruit Cake-Thomas Haas cakes we see at every birthday,but they were fun, with tons of unnatural food color icing and always had a superhero (for the boys) and some kind of princess (for the girls). Not to mention no one was embarrassed by how many candles were on the cake.
I also, enjoyed that the decor of the party matched the invitations, which matched the tables clothes, which matched the food, which matched the birthday cake, which matched what the birthday person was wearing, which matched the carpet, which matched the dog, which matched the games, which matched the prizes, which matched the wall paper, etc.
However, the one thing I enjoyed my of my childhood birthday parties was getting favours in a bag at the end of the party. How great is that? You go to a person’s house, make a mess, eat free food, play great games, and then, they actually give you gifts to take home!?! What kind of awesome universe is this? Despite my great memories of getting goodie bags with tons of favours in it, I don’t really remember the bags containing anything of substance or value. What we usually got was some candy bracelets, lollypops, cheap toys (my favourite was the parachute man), and other useless junk that will either cause you to go to dentist for cavities or the doctor for choking.
But, when I think back on it, it was the best thing ever! Imagine getting gifts just to tell you, “thanks for coming and I love you for you”.
I think now, although I am all grown up, I still like favors. However, I have extended it to all area of my life. I like getting the upgrade when I take a flight or when someone buys me dinner. How about when you pray for a parking spot and then you find one in two seconds and it is super close to the entrance of where you want to go? How about when you get a 2$ raise at work or when you go to the drive through at McD’s and they toss in a large fries by accident? These are all great. Most don’t describe these things as favours, but they call it favour. But is this really favour? More specifically, is this the favour of God?
Somehow I have the strong suspicion it is not. Don’t get me wrong, I think all the things I mentioned are awesome and am grateful to God for everytime something good happens to me, but I would call these things favours rather than favour. They are favours because I think they are small trinkets in God ‘s capacity to give and to bless. They are little things that God does to show us and tell us, “hey, thanks for coming and I love you for you”. On the hand, with Favour (with a capital F), I think it is so much more and it involves so much more participation than just showing up.
Here are some things you might want to know about the Favour of God:
1. God’s Favour is not Fair. YES, God loves everyone to the maximum amount equally! But, when it comes to Favour, God is not a communist. He doesn’t dole out his favour in an equal way, regardless of what you do. As you may notice, some people have more favour than others. Don’t be outraged at this notion. Why is it that, somehow, it sits better with us that God is like Karl Marx? That is not how the big guy rolls. As Christians, you are not entitled to Favour. Favour is given to those who find it
2. God’s Favour can grow. The bible tells us that Jesus’ favor increased as he got older. Hey, if the Son of God had to increase His favour, so do we!
3. God’s Favour can be costly. Some dudes in the Bible, such as Daniel, Ruth, Job, and Joesph had tons of Favour and the hand of God was on them but man, they suffered. Some dealt with Lions, some fields, some boils, and some pits, but as they trusted God, His Favour poured out on them and they were raised up and placed in positions of influence. Let’s not forget Jesus…you know the Favoured one? Yeah, he died. However, three days later, he was literally raised up and placed on the throne. Yes, Favour is costly, but at the same time, it gives more than you pay.
3. God’s Favour is not just for you. Some of us want favour but somehow don’t seem to find it because we are favour hoarders. We receive, but we don’t give out. We don’t have an open hand. I think God tests us with little favours and see how we respond. The bottom line is if you hoard favours, then chances are you won’t be given Favour. God’s Favour is always meant to bless the ones around us, not just for us.
4. God’s Favour will blow your socks off. It is beyond what you can ask for or even imgaine. God’s Favour, when and if it pours on you, will make the world sit up and pay attention. It is supernatural, undeniable, can’t be passed off as “luck” or coincidence. It is the type that will shift nations and influence cultures and atmospheres! Pretty sweet, huh? I want me some of that!
As Kingdom minded individuals, let us not settle for little trinkets of favour. If we really want to change the world, let us set our course for the Favor of God! He loves us, get over it. Now, as beloved sons and daughters, let us use Favour to make Him famous.