Monday, December 12, 2011

Playing favorites....

I am a teacher, and I am not supposed to have favorites - but sometimes it's hard not to. Some years it's the kid who sees deeper into the passages than most; some years it's the child who struggles to understand but has such a sweet spirit and keeps trying despite how hard it is; some years it's the child who has that heart that is stirred for those around them that struggle; and some years it's all of the above.

Being the teacher's favorite doesn't mean being their pet - sometimes it means I expect more from that child than others simply because I know they have it in them. In that case, being the favored one means they will have to work harder than they ever did before because I refuse to watch them accept less than they are capable of.

So what does all this favor thing have to do with the Journey to Advent? It has to do with something my pastor talked about yesterday. He was talking about Mary being favored of God not because she was somehow more holy than everyone else, but simply because she was a willing vessel. It wasn't so much a matter of calling the equipped as it was of equipping the called.

All I could think about was that being favored of God did NOT mean life all of a sudden got fact, her whole life turned upside down and I'm pretty sure things got pretty tough there for a while. Imagine having to tell her parents and the man she was supposed to marry that she was pregnant. She would have to try and convince them she was still a virgin and this was the child of God - oh yeah, I'm sure that went over like gang-busters. I like the way our pastor explained it - God sent an angel to Joseph too because otherwise even if she had convinced him it was true, he'd have always had a little doubt in the back of his mind. Yet this young woman faced it all and said, "let it be unto me according to your word." So that's what it means to be favored?

I've often prayed for the favor of God to rest on my life, but I'm not sure I knew what I was asking for! We want the favor of God but we also want comfort...we're asking for two opposite things.

Think about it, John was often referred to as the disciple whom Jesus didn't necessarily hand him a life of rose colored sunsets and breakfast in bed! Being favored of God seems to mean He trusts you with a part of His plan for mankind...that usually means some sort of sacrifice.

Now, I'll be honest. I'm not sure I knew what I was asking for when I prayed for God's favor on my life, but I'm starting to get the picture. Does that mean I'll quit praying that way? Nope, but now that I'm starting to understand, I won't be so surprised when life starts to get a little tough. It doesn't mean God has just means I'm one of His favorites.

Luke 1:26 - 38
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 2:52
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in 
favor with God and men

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