I used to worry that God played favorites.
Intellectually I knew that like parents, he wasn’t SUPPOSED to play favorites. But let’s be real. Some parents DO play favorites! Personally, my parents do not–or if they do they’ve never really shown it–but I have seen this in our world, even though they are not supposed to. It’s really a natural inclination. You form bonds with some people, and not with others.
Maybe it was through a shared love for a sport.
Or maybe a shared musical talent.
Even because they look and act similarly.
Perhaps even because their child never caused problems and on the surface seemed absolutely perfect.
If God is our father, what is to keep him from doing something that comes just a little too naturally.
Words in the Bible like Psalm 65:4 fueled this irrational thought: Blessed are those you choose.
How does one get chosen by God? Is it like playground sports. God picks the best and the strongest for his team and those of us who are just simply average become the leftovers.
To be chosen, do you really have to be the best kind of person all the time?
Did I have to sell my belongings and move to Africa to care for orphans?
Do I have to earn this chosen status?
Recently, Rachel (my roommate) and I have been watching the show The Good Place. And I think for the longest I believed God actually kept a similar point system, and that was how he chose people–not for heaven, but for his attention and favor.
This warped view of God and His being really ate at me and honestly scared me. I’ve been a rule follower my whole life, really. But could that really ensure the favor and chosen status I craved? But thankfully God doesn’t work like that. There is no cosmic calculator that ranks each of us in a horrifyingly accurate way.
No, God is much more gracious than that.
If he kept a record of our wrongs he would not be love and we would have no need for Jesus.
So what does it mean that God chooses people?
I understand it this way:
God chooses each and every one of us for vastly different purposes and divine goals. Some of us choose him too! And when we do, that is how we become the chosen–his children on whom he showers blessings and honors amid a very fallen world.
Just because you’ve been chosen for something amazing, doesn’t mean you’ll always accept. I got into more than one college many moons ago. They each chose me. But I only chose one and only got the favor and education of that one.
God chooses us, but we have a responsibility to choose him too. If we want his favor and blessings, we must become his blessed children. We don’t earn it, we accept his mercy and grace and enter the embrace his is standing to offer this very minute.
No, God doesn’t show favoritism, but he does choose us all.