All of us have things or places that we consider our favorites. We say we have a favorite dessert, restaurant, vacation spot, or book. These things are considered our favorites because we prefer them over another. It is interesting to see the term favor, favored, and favoritism in Scripture.
• In Luke, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and greeted her by saying, "Greetings, O favored one."
• The angels proclaimed to the shepherds, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"
• When Jesus was found in the temple as a boy, Scripture states that afterward He "increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man."
What does it mean to have favor? Does it mean that God prefers or likes one person over another? Is the biblical understanding different from the way we commonly use the term favor, favored, or favorite?
The Bible clearly tells us in Acts 10:34 and Romans 2:11 that God does not show favoritism. He does not prefer one person over another. Instead, favor speaks of approval, choice, blessing, and participation in a divine plan.
It is fascinating to note that as God began to unfold His plan of redemption and salvation, He chose to pour out His favor on the obscure, ordinary, and seemingly insignificant. God went to a young virgin in Nazareth, a small hamlet of a village that was not considered a place of importance. He chose a young girl who the world would have passed by as being insignificant and unimportant. But God sent the Archangel Gabriel to that small village to a young virgin to announce that God had chosen her to be the mother of His son, the Savior.
OF COMPASSION AND CARE
DEMONSTRATES GOD'S GRACE,
WHICH IS HIS FAVOR.
Along with God's favor came problems, difficulties, and adversity. Mary's life would be turned upside down. Who would believe such a story once the angel left? What would her parents, family, friends, or Joseph, to whom she was pledged to marry, say? Nevertheless, Mary submitted to God because she had a heart of obedience. God's favor came to Mary because she was willing to lay down her life and be obedient to God's will.
That is the key to experiencing God's favor. Henry Blackaby wrote this truth in his book, Experiencing God, that "blessing always follows obedience." It doesn't mean that we will be void of problems or difficulty, but we will experience God's presence, provision, and purpose in our life.
Your PCC may be located in a seemingly obscure place. You may feel that your place of ministry is insignificant, but nothing could be further from the truth. God knows exactly where you are and who you are. He has a purpose and plan for you now. What He is looking for is a heart of obedience. God has chosen you to reach those facing an unplanned pregnancy or those suffering the agony of an abortion decision. Being obedient to your call does not mean that skies will always be blue, however. There will be adversity and heavy burdens to carry. There will be uncertainties, obstacles, and pressures, but you are not alone. God is faithful to provide and give you a peace in the midst of problems.
Having God's favor also means that you are part of His divine plan and eternal purpose. Paul instructs us about our ministry of reconciliation — how "we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us" (2 Corinthians 5:20). God has called us to join Him in reconciling the world to Him. Therefore, Paul quotes Isaiah 49:8 in which God says, "In the time of favor I have answered you; and in the day of salvation I have helped you." Then Paul adds, "Behold now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2).
The ministry of sharing the Good News of Jesus and the forgiveness of sin is part of God's plan and favor. As you speak truth to the women, men, girls, and boys that come to your center, you are part of God's purpose and His favor. Your ministry of compassion and care demonstrates God's grace, which is His favor. Grace is defined as the unmerited favor of God. It is undeserved but given by a loving Father. That grace or favor of God is what we are called to show to others. Your ministry is called to express the grace and favor of God. God's favor brings salvation, and it is experienced through obedience.
Pastor Mark Hiehle is the lead pastor of the Claremore Church of the Nazarene. Mark is a banquet speaker and avid writer on behalf of life and Biblical truth. He also provides tools to help pregnancy centers grow at www.highcalling.com.