Sunday Sermon #4: Shhh! Testing In Progress—Favor, Chapter 1

I have a fairly vengeful mind. The way my personality is set up, you finna get this work—and I play the long game. You would never be rid of me, the remnants of my rage coloring everything you touch for a time. I mean, I cannot get into specifics or whatever, but my personal motto back in the day was to make you wish your mama never had you. Flat-out.

Sigh. But then I came to understand what it meant to know God. And ever since I leveled up in that regard, I have been taking the longest test ever. Because God keeps giving folks these unfair opportunities to shit on me, and somehow I still gotta be nice.

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, listen.

The hardest thing I have ever had to do is treat somebody with kindness despite the person having personally dog-walked me.

But I started passing that test. I grit my teeth and silently punched walls and smiled when I wanted to scream and prayed to God to at least move them out my life what is this torture Lord I thought you loved me this sucks so hard but okay Jesus I’ma act right do right but I still don’t want to.

Pretty sure I got a “Atta-Girl” from heaven. And then?

God said, “Level up, G. I now need you to BE RIGHT on top of doing right. Get into this greater good ministry.”

What’s that, you ask? Tuh.

It’s that zen state of your being matching your doing. It is the God state of understanding that everything you experience—every struggle, every triumph—ain’t even about you or for you: it is for the greater good of those whose lives you come into contact with.

The thing about being blessed and highly favored is that you are blessed not for your benefit but for the benefit of others. You may or may not receive the full benefit of your own life. You may in fact be the start of a legacy that lasts for generations. Biblical case in point:

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. He spent his life as a slave, then jailed before finally becoming the second-in-command of Egypt. Most people read his story as one of God turning your trials into triumph—and that’s true. But there is deeper meaning there. After finally making it to the top, seeing his daddy again before his daddy died, and reuniting with his favorite little brother Benjamin, Joseph was left with his elder brothers scared to death that Joseph was finna run through them for what they had done when he was a kid. They were so scared (and rightly so) that they lied on they dead daddy. Go read that here; I’m not lying at all.

But instead of doing what I woulda done and driving they sorry behinds, Joseph shrugged and said (black woman translation), “Bruh, listen. You meant to hurt me but God used all that for good—for you and all these people I saved from dying of famine, b. It’s all good. Calm down.”

The real test of our character is our ability to understand and live in the reality that the favor we experience isn’t for our personal gain but for us to bless others as we are blessed. To recognize that we may never get back what we have given from the people we have given to. That God repays in other ways. Joseph’s brothers simply did not have the capacity to love him back; they were jealous and cruel and full of anger and spite. But God blessed Joseph—repaid Joseph—outside of the bounds of the places he technically should have looked.

Some of you are currently dying on the vine because you are looking for love in all the wrong places. I mean, in human time, yeah, your mom should give it to you. Dad, granny, papaw, sis, wife, hubby, kids, church family, friends, workplace… you’ve poured into the places that you were supposed to with little received. You are suffering because you keep giving and it’s not fair that there’s nothing left for you. Lemme tell you something: you ain’t supposed to get nothing from them.

Favor ain’t fair.

Lolz. People always use that phrase “favor ain’t fair” like a shield, like thumbing their noses when they get something that others don’t. Lemme tell you, that’s not how this works. The idea that “favor ain’t fair” means that you’re entitled to the labor but not the fruit thereof. That you will give more because you have more, and to whom much is given much is required. Favor is more weight. More responsibility. More loneliness. More disuse. More taken for granted. More work.

To truly embody favor, you must be willing to look beyond your feeling and into the greater good—most times without understanding what the greater good even is. All you can do is plant or water the seeds that you may never see bloom into increase. All you can do is sow and possibly never see the harvest. God promised Abraham that he’d be the father of many. He and Sarah had one son. Isaac had two. Jacob had 12. Joseph saved them. Jesus saved us all—42 generations later. See what I’m saying? Favor is hard on the favored. You gotta be willing to trust a plan that you don’t get to see the end of.

Are you ready for that test, yet?

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