How have you experienced God’s favor in your life? For me, an instance of God’s favor that fills me with gratitude happened two weeks before my grandson was born. This particular grandson (I have four) was born with a heart defect called TGA. Well, it just so happened that two weeks prior to his birth, a French doctor who was the foremost expert in infant TGA briefly moved to Denver. He was able to save my grandson, and then he moved back to France shortly after. That supernatural experience showed me that our loving God will move heaven and earth to establish His plans and purposes.
God’s favor is powerful and profound. So, it frustrates me when people confuse God’s favor to mean that they can get whatever they want when they want it. It’s quite the opposite. Favor is the grace of God in our lives. In fact, the Old Testament often uses favor and grace interchangeably. The definition of grace is the unmerited favor of God, and favor means acceptance, goodwill, and preferential treatment. So, we can’t earn favor and are never entitled to it.
This blog post discusses three biblical principles about how to partner with God’s favor in your life:
2. Steward Your Assignment
3. Give God a Vessel
“Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose] just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver [and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift]. And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8, AMP)
When we release what’s in our hands, God releases what’s in His hands. Now, this isn’t about what you can put into your pocket. It’s about having a perspective that lines up with God’s perspective. As the apostle Paul writes in the above verse, God releases his favor so that we can have an abundance for every good work and act of charity. There’s a big difference between favor and entitlement.
Favor vs. Entitlement
Often, people interpret God’s favor through a lens of entitlement. We think of favor in terms of what we can get from God—money, houses, job opportunities, cars—you get the picture. Someone with an entitlement mentality views God as a slot machine. They are concerned with what they can get to establish their own plans.
On the other hand, favor follows surrender. When we give our time, talents, and treasure to the Kingdom, we receive God’s favor. So, favor isn’t code for “every Christian should be rich.” Rather, favor is the measure of grace that allows us to resource God’s plans and purposes for our life.
Things start to happen when we dedicate our lives to the Kingdom and submit to God’s plans. When we stand up like Esther did and say, “I’m willing to fulfill my assignment,” suddenly, God will take us from nothing and promote us to places of power and influence. Resources will come into our life because our motivation is to see the Kingdom of God expanded in the earth.
2. Steward Your Assignment
There is a clear difference between self-promotion and stewardship. Favor comes when we stop trying to pave our own way and steward the assignment God has placed on our lives. When you steward what’s in your hand, God will bring the increase. Jesus exemplifies this Kingdom principle in the Parable of the Talents (See Matthew 25:14-30).
The Parable of the Talents
He says, “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” In this scenario, the servants symbolize people, and the man (Master) symbolizes God. While the Master is away, the servants with five and two talents double their amount.
However, the servant who received one talent takes it and buries it in the ground. When the Master returns, the servant digs it up and explains, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth.”
So, the Master takes one talent from the third unfaithful servant and hands it to the servant who now has ten talents. He says, “To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance.”
Good stewardship will be rewarded. As Christians, we are called to trust God’s plan and provision for our life. Steward your current assignment, and don’t pursue your own path. Trust me, I know that’s difficult for you entrepreneurial types out there. However, as soon as we shift from stewardship into pursuit, our motives get off. If we pursue money, we become greedy. If we pursue influence, we become prideful. If we pursue opportunities, we become controlling. However, if we pursue the Kingdom of God, everything will be added. (See Matthew 6:33)
Money is Attracted, Not Pursued
When it comes to financial stewardship, money is attracted, not pursued. Regardless of how much money you make in your life, you will lose everything that comes to you if you never learn how to manage it. That’s why most lottery winners end up broke.
God’s favor is attracted to a spirit of preparation. In The Parable of The Talents, the master entrusts each servant to an amount “according to his ability.” The servant who received five had cultivated more ability (through preparation and practice) than the servant with one. If God has drawn you to business or investing, gain knowledge and understanding in those areas. Then you’ll know how to steward money for the Kingdom when it comes to you!
Lastly, stewarding your current assignment includes involving God in your financial plan. How is He directing you to steward your resources in this season? Once you receive direction, take action. Is it time to pull the trigger on that business plan? Send it!
On the other hand, maybe you want to invest in real estate, but you feel God is asking you to save money and wait. Listen to the direction of The Holy Spirit, and God’s favor will follow. Too many people in the church today act like the man with one talent. They are afraid of risk, so they take the easiest course. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is nudging them to be fruitful and multiply!
3. Give God a Vessel
2 Kings 4:1-7 tells the story of a desperate widow. She cries out to the prophet Elisha because a creditor is going to take her two children to be his slaves. Here is what Elisha asks her to do:
“Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside. So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Brings me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not another.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She came and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”
As long as the widow provided a vessel, the Lord supernaturally filled it with oil. Amidst overwhelming gratitude, I imagine the widow also wished she had collected more vessels! This story teaches us so much about God’s favor. When we ask Him to, God meets our needs with abundance. The only thing He asks in return is that we demonstrate faith in His faithfulness. We often ask God for blessings, but we don’t offer Him any vessels to pour them into!
What step of faith is God asking you to take? When it comes to finances, Proverbs 13:22 says that “the wealth of sinners is stored up for the righteous.” So, it’s time for the righteous to start collecting some vessels. My hope is that you would prayerfully consider how God is leading you to resource the Kingdom. God’s favor will follow when you step out on a limb and take a faith-filled step of surrender.