[Part 5, Chapter 34]
“I never got a magnum ice-cream at that age! Grandkids are more spoiled than the youngest child! Haha.”
Thus wrote our daughter upon receiving a photo of her children sitting outside the museum, two of them attacking chocolate cornettos, one salivating over her magnum.
I’m Gramps. Not only am I allowed to, I feel it’s my job. More than that, it’s my heritage.
Growing up in New Zealand, we only saw our Australian-based grandparents every four years. When we arrived on holidays in Murray Bridge, we were greeted by my grandfather, and a fridge full of soft drinks. We’d never experienced anything like this before. Luxury!
I recall another grandpa who attended a conference we once hosted. He was booked in for one day but was so enthralled he came back the next. “The only thing is,” he said, “today is when our grandchildren come over. I don’t like going out today because I enjoy their presence so much. I just love being around them.”
That’s how God feels about you. It’s how he feels about those you mix with and minister to. God created you because he loves you. You are an expression of his favour. My summary of Ephesians 1:3-14 is that you were planned for God’s pleasure and have been visited by his favour!
In Zechariah’s song, the word for favour has the connotation of God visiting his people (Luke 1:68).
Zachariah has been visited by favour. Like a doting grandfather, favour dispenses gifts. This time it isn’t ice cream or soft drink, but gutsy stuff.
Many of us view God through how a significant older person treated us when we were growing up. Sadly, that person is like the character in one of the children’s story books we read the grandies, Mr Wintergarten. The name gives it away.
If they let us down or were harsh with us, we tend to view God this way. But God is perfect love and he wants to restore and empower us as we come to him.
Likewise, in many religions, God is this angry tyrant. People feel as though they must appease him, or try and earn his favour, or follow his rules, or do the right things so that they get good in return. Many people live in fear of a god like this, and rightly so. But that’s not the real God. In the bible God says, “I don’t want your sacrifices—I want your love! I don’t want your offerings—I want you to know me!” (Hosea 6:6).
God loves you and planned you for his pleasure.
The response of favour is always to grow into that which you already are; to have a heightened awareness of that which is already yours; to celebrate the abundance which is already available to you.
The bible says every good and perfect gift comes from the Father who put all the lights in the sky, and he doesn’t change like a shifting shadow (James 1:17).
You, yes you, are in that bible verse. You were planned for his pleasure and delight.
God goes one better than a fridge full of goodies for you. He has a heart full of favour.