Being God’s Favorite

CrossOver reflection for Week 30 • Beginning June 30, 2019
We Make the Road by Walking, Chapter 43

Linda Haynes


Lord,
Let me never be so conceited to believe that you love me 
More than the person standing next to me 
Or the person living a continent away from me. 
Keep me humble 
So that I may know 
That every person born is your favorite, 
Beautifully and uniquely created by your loving hands. Amen

McLaren writes: “Our neighbor is anyone and everyone—like us or different from us, friend or stranger—even enemy.”  And, “We must find a new approach, make a new road, pioneer a new way of living as neighbors in one human community, as brothers and sisters in one family of creation.” McLaren asks us to “see our differences as gifts, not threats, to one another.”

In every family, there are a variety of personalities, a variety of gifts, and a plethora of opinions. This is true in every church family and every domestic family unit. My sister was a cheeky tom-boy and I was a practical, perfectionist. And we often clashed.

One evening we were squabbling over something (so long ago that neither of us remember the ‘what’ or ‘why’). Penny looked at me and burst out with intense attitude, “Well, I am Dad’s favorite.” Dad’s frame filled the doorway as he came to investigate what all the fuss was about. I look up asking, “Dad, just who is your favorite?” (Sounds a little bit like two disciples, you know the one that Jesus loved and that other one). 

Shaking his head with a grin appearing across his face, Dad calmly replied, “You’re my favorite Linda.” Before I can snap back at my sister, he interjects, “You’re my favorite Penny and your sister is my favorite Carla.” Dad went on to explain that each of his daughters were his favorites for different reasons.

Dad told us what kept us high on his favorite list was when we showed each other kindness, consideration of the others feelings, thoughtfulness and respect for each other. He shared that when we generously shared what we had with others, were honest and truthful, and didn’t squabble–we were his favorites.

Reflecting on Christ’s commandment to “Love thy neighbor”, I can say that I am God’s favorite me just as you are God’s favorite you. We are different yet God favors each of us as His own with immeasurable, equal love. We are called to show kindness and consideration placing others needs above our own wants. We are called to love our neighbor, respecting our differences in what we believe. We are commanded to share our resources, gifts, and talents with one another. We are to love those that are different. Loving our neighbor is giving all that we have to meet another ones physical, mental and spiritual needs. Loving one another is sacrificial.

Our neighbors are everyone! Believers, non-believers, churched or unchurched, male or female, even those of different faith are our neighbors. In Christ’s church, “we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.”  (Romans 12:5 NRSV) We belong to each other. We are all part of the one body and interdependent upon each other making us responsible for each other in God’s Holy Name.

As McLaren writes love is “practical, specific, concrete, down- to- earth action.” He concludes, “In the movement of the Spirit, to love is to live.”

God may be speaking to me in a way that conflicts with what He is speaking to you. I may be right. I may be wrong. You may be right. You may be wrong. I am called to love. Loving you as my neighbor requires me to treat you with grace and dignity; honoring you as God’s favorite you!

As I sign my cards to my dad, 

Your favorite Linda


Linda Haynes is a child of God, mother of four blessings, grandmother of three blessings and a certified lay servant and member of Christ First UMC in Wasilla, Alaska. She serves the Alaska United Methodist Conference as a volunteer in the roles of Conference Statistician and Lay Servant Trainer. Linda was a Reserve Delegate to the 2016 and 2019 General Conferences.

Comment

  • In the creation of humanity, you are so right: a humbling thought.
    But there is also the “individual characters” distinctive churches, of whole families and of nations. I hear near silence for our National Family Care and a lot of noise from most of the American media. Something smells of trouble here, when our church sounds more like a political party when viewing the health of the American Nation. “Balance in perspective” has to back off the big questions to deal with smaller issues. It’s just too imbalanced and radicalized to bother!
    -Just my perspective.

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