Gospel Message & Recording
The word “favor” is commonly used in our English language. It could mean that a person bestows a certain degree of kindness on someone. Further, it denotes that a person shows preference, or a level of favoritism toward someone. Favor is commonly used as a noun or verb. For example, as a noun, we say that, “Someone has the favor of God on them.” As a verb, we say that, “Someone is favoring a person over another.” In the Bible the word is normally used as a noun. For instance in the Gospel Reading today we hear about how the Angel Gabriel visited St. Mary to announce to her that she will be with child through the power of the Holy Spirit. During that visitation the Angel said to St. Mary that, “she has found favor with God.” (St. Luke 1:30) Here, the Angel is using the word as a noun. In the Greek the word “charis” is closely connected to favor. It could also mean grace or kindness.
The favor of God was with Joseph in the land of Egypt when he was promoted to Prime Minister…the favor of God was with Moses as he stood in front of Pharaoh attempting to free the Hebrew people…the favor of God was with Paul as he stood in front of the philosophers at Athens. As Christians we need the favor of God! His favor (his grace, his outpouring of kindness) in our lives is absolutely necessary for us to do His work.
If we want to succeed in our ministry, our calling, our work at church, our job, our marriage, we need the favor of God. God’s favor is what makes “things happen.” Without it we will remain on a mediocre level. The favor of God puts a person in a position of influence.
Our parish is evidence of God’s favor. We started as a fellowship; and for three years, we were preparing and moving forward in prayer. But it was that “push” that we received about a year-and-a-half-ago that brought all the things that we needed to create a parish together. The alignment of people, places and things, at one time is evidence of God’s favor.
With favor of God will also bring suffering. The individuals mentioned above, Joseph, Moses and Paul were operating in the favor of God but at the same time they suffered a lot. God’s favor is not a get rich scheme. It is completely and totally about fulfilling God’s work in your life for the glory of the Kingdom of God and to bring others to that Kingdom.
It is important for us to understand that the favor of God must be sustained and maintained in our life. I am not at all saying that we need to become insecure or even overly paranoid that God will take his favor from us. I am however suggesting that we should not take it for granted. For example, Saul has the favor of God. That’s why he became the first king of Israel. But because he neglected God’s direction in his life, he lost his favor. In contrast, David had the favor of God. He went through a lot of suffering before and after becoming a king. In fact, he committed a grave sin, yet the favor of God was still with him. This is an important point. The favor of God will always be with us when we continuously seek after God, repent, fast, pray more, love others, and run away from sin.
I want each and every single one of us to experience the favor of God. If you feel you haven’t yet experienced the favor of God do these: 1) fast and pray when the Church recommends it. 2) Repent and say your prayers with your heart not just your lips. 3) Ask God to open a door to serve him in whatever capacity—don’t ask for ordination, a ministry, and recognition. 4) Be a servant and serve others as best as you can. 5) Never compromise on truth. 6) Never compromise your morals or values.