Does God "Play Favorites"?
We've all noted in the Christian world, that some folks seem more gifted than others, some folks produce or evidence more fruit in their lives, some folks seem more blessed than others, some people seem to have it more "together" than others, etc. I'm sure you can add some adjectives of your own.
The only reason I can think that I'm writing about it is that I don't know any better.
First, does God ever make choices? Sure. He chose Abraham to produce a mighty nation, and in the doing, unchose every other nation. He left them in the state He found them.
Does He ever choose some for things we'd describe as bad? Sure. Check Habakkuk, where He says "Look! I am raising up the Chaldeans (Note .. also known as the Babylonians), that bitter, impetuous nation, that marches across earth's open spaces to seize territories not its own." Habakkuk goes on to acknowledge that God had appointed them to execute judgment. And, as Habakkuk predicted, they later fell, themselves.
There's also an interesting verse in Proberbs 16. Verse 4 says "The Lord has prepared everything for His purpose - even the wicked for the day of disaster"
Romans 9:18 also tells us God says "So then, He shows mercy to those He wants to, and He hardens those He wants to harden."
Without getting into the whole Calvinism thing ... learned scholars haven't resolved it in centuries, so I'm not likely to do it, either ... let's talk about believers who have been adopted into God's Family. Folks who can call God "ABBA" ... the vocative case of the word "Father". (The vocative case is the case one uses for a name which describes the person being addressed, so only God's children can call Him "Abba"). Why do we see such differences in the church?
I can think of a couple of reasons. Most likely there are others.
First is the fact that God has gifted everyone for the Kingdom work that God has in mind for that person. He does not force us to use them, however, and people have a myriad of reasons for their failure to exercise their giftedness in the Kingdom work. I think that's generally owing to ignorance about Spiritual gifts ... meaning only a lack of knowledge about them ... coupled with a general lack of expressed expectations on the part of most churches today.
I know I've taught courses about Spiritual gifts many times, and generally the response is underwhelming. I cannot explain that, other than folks' inherent feelings that they are not (A) worthy, or (B) able, to be used by God.
We can think that, at times, when we misunderstand giftedness and how the Body of Christ works together. We think the teacher is somehow more gifted than the lady that baby-sits infants in the nursery. In that case, what's missed is that, without a capable trusted person in the nursery to do that, mom & dad aren't going to be in Sunday School or Worship Service.
Isn't that a bit like asking the pilot which wing is more important in the aircraft?
The only thing that makes any sense to me is that every gift God has given is equally important in the Kingdom, and it's only our inability to see that which hinders our eagerness to do what we see as "lesser things". If we could see eternity, as God does, we'd see that every exercise of our giftedness bring something equally glorious, somewhere, sometime, somehow.
Hey .. we're all unworthy of anything God wants to uses us for. He tells us in Luke 17 that our attitude should be that we're unworthy servants, and only doing our duty. But He promises to bring the increase (so He should also get the credit) when we do.
If you don't know what you have been gifted to do, in the Body of Christ, find out! Doing that is the only way I know to experience truly abundant life.Which is, after all, one of the two things I'm aware, that Jesus saidHe came to earth to bring us.
And ... in case you doubt your giftedness to serve, check 1 Corinthians 12: 11, and unless you're not included in "each one", then you're in. And He promises in verse 7 to produce that which is beneficial.
So ... do you wanna count?