I was moved to explore some Biblical conclusions concerning favor while observing two distinctly different messages from leaders today:
Being rich is a sign and signal of favor. Or, Being rich is a sign and signal of worldliness.
God intends to have billions available to kingdom for influence. Or, God intends to make the church so poor that we can no longer meet anywhere but in homes in small groups.
Money will vastly increase influence. Or, Money will always create conflict with passion for God.
God loves people so much that He wants them rich. Or, God loves people so much that He feeds the hungry and builds His kingdom with poor people.
Without more money we will cannot finish. Or, with money we always get distracted.
Lack of funds is a limitation. Or, having money is a limitation.
The miracle is that He makes us rich. Or, the miracles is that He provides just enough to keep us dependent upon another miracle.
Same day. Two leaders speaking with passion. Both anointed and respected. Both convinced the message they bring is Bible, kingdom, and relevant.
Seven Perspectives on Favor
The conflicting messages continue because of perspective, I suppose. However, some elements of truth appear in both, while some elements of error appear in both. The problem we face in discerning the difference comes from the fact that we have lost kingdom culture and don’t even realize we’ve lost it. When we talk kingdom commerce, we usually look at things from the wrong perspective.
Exaggeration of an idea always damage the Truth that idea can communicate.
1. “Rich or poor” is not always a sign or signal of favor since our greatest heroes had moments of both. In other words, when Paul says “I suffered need,” he was not saying, “I fell out of favor with God.” The phrase, “Being rich is a sign and signal of favor,” is an inadequate sound bite.
The terms “rich” and “poor” are each relative descriptors. “I am rich. I am poor – at the same time, in all the sense of the words.” Because I am not completely rich or completely poor, “rich or poor” is relative to purpose.
2. The real issue should be “strategically rich” and “strategically poor.” In other words, I will suffer need strategically as well as overflow with riches strategically because of assignment, alignment, and agreement. The response of God to His strategies is more telling than the actually conditions of my life.
Noah is strategically rich to build a boat but strategically poor in preaching for 120 years without one convert.
Elijah is strategically poor, eating what ravens drop on his head, eating a widow’s last meal, while strategically rich in influence that brings an entire nation to its knees in a revelation of the Truth God.
“I have meat to eat of which you unaware,” Jesus says. I am full when you assume Me to be hungry. I am rich when you assume Me to poor. I am poor when you assume Me to be rich. Strategic riches and strategic poverty were markers of the Incarnation and Kenosis. Jesus became Man at the expense of something. Jesus emptied Himself to reach and realize fullness.
Rich or poor reminds us of strong or weak. Strategic strength often requires strategic weakness.
3. Favor is strategic. Strategy includes both timing and wisdom.
Favor can be money in the bank or money in a fish’s mouth. Favor can be an alabaster box of ointment or a tomb hewn from solid stone as a stage for the Brightest Spotlight of Resurrection.
I presently need $1.25 million for a seemingly necessary next step in our forty-year vision. I do not have $1.25 million, but I have $1.25 million if this fulfils purpose. I do not hang my head about lacking favor when I do not, at the moment, possess what I need. I do not bang on the ceiling and cry, “God, You need to start doing a better job of being God!” I have favor, but I know favor is strategic. I am one of God’s favorites. He has always provided, and He will provide now. The favor is both wisdom and timing.
(But, I do not have favor because I am a son, have a calling, stand in delegated authority, or wish to do great things for God. I have favor because of assignment and alignment. More on this in a moment.)
Abraham had favor when God said, “Kill your son.” Abraham had favor when he saw a ram stuck in a bush so he could the ram instead of Isaac, when God stayed the downward thrust of the killing knife. Abraham had strategic favor.
Favor called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and believe God for resurrection. Favor called Abraham to offer the sacrifice caught in a thicket.
4. Favor rests upon assignment and alignment.
The small group or the massive army? The poor spiritual ghetto or the high-rise church in the arena? The massive moment or the nighttime meeting with Nicodemus. Feeding 5,000 males with women and children or dipping the bread crust with Judas?
Favor is strategic to assignment and alignment.
You do not experience favor because you are God’s child. You experience favor because you do God’s will. In fact, you can experience God’s favor for doing God’s will and not even be God’s child.
Prodigals are sons. Prodigals lack favor. God isn’t investing in prodigals because “prodigal” means “waste.” They remain sons but they have no assignment and alignment: they join themselves to strangers and invest seed in whores who produce no inheritors.
Beware any form of “God gave you a free will and made you creative” that assumes God will grant favor for whatever you wish to be and do. [Pretty much the doctrine of hell and demons in its purist form.]
5. Favor is power and purity applied to purpose.
The measure of your “rich and poor” motif has much more to do with producing purpose than how much your house is worth or the color of your AMEX card. Some leaders handle millions while wondering where their own house payment will come from.
Do you know how many times I’ve gone to the mailbox expecting a $25,000 check so I can take the next step only to find advertisements to save 50 cents on a hamburger at Hardees? Not one time did I wonder if I was God’s favorite about it.
Do you not know that millions of dollars are already distributed to kingdom people who never reach the ark builders? Like Noah, we know the rain is coming, the animals are on their way, and the door will be shut. We have choice but to hammer another board into place and slop more pitch on the seams of the hull.
At the same time, millions are blown to the winds of relevancy and “cool stuff” to please moderns that will never produce kingdom purpose.
It is strategy that marks money for purpose. So, the real favor can only be identified by assignment and alignment.
6. Favor redefines what is “appropriate.”
The alabaster box is appropriately empty. The uncovered hair catches perfumed oil about to hit the floor, so the application can be full and fulfilled. What others see as inappropriate, Jesus sees as appropriate. He sees assignment and alignment.
Favor is strategic.
7. This is key: favor both expands and limits because it is strategic.
Favor looses one thing while binding something else. Favor makes strategic decisions. Favor doesn’t do everything as the one exaggeration assumes. Favor does a lot more than the other exaggeration assumes.
God is doing more than many people think He is because they hide in a cave with a bag of beans. God is going to accomplish a lot more with less, without human help, than others think because influence is spiritual more than natural.
The rich imagine riches will impress the world more than they will. The poor imagine poverty will impress God more than it will.
God is impressed with purpose. Favor expands what will produce purpose and limit what diminishes purpose.