The offer was on the table. It was simple, really. One thousand dollars to name the child Johnny. Providing it was a boy, of course. If a daughter was born, the offer would be null.
Robert Allen was born on November 18, 1964. His parents hadn't accepted the monetary offer, much to the dismay of his grandmother, who had desperately wanted her first grandson to be named after her late husband, John. But even though everyone else called him Robby, the child would always be "her little Johnny." And she did little to hide the fact that he was her favorite.
I have heard the story a hundred times since I married Rob seventeen years ago. His four sisters and one brother still occasionally call Rob "Johnny" in jest, tell how he always got the largest amounts of candy, the most coins, and the biggest hugs. His grandmother has long since passed away but the legacy of favoritism towards "her little Johnny", a.k.a.: my husband, Rob, lives on.
Unlike Joseph's brothers, Rob's sisters and brother didn't throw him in a pit and sell him as a slave - although I'm sure the thought crossed their minds more than once. The fact that they still talk about it, tells me that favoritism is something that sticks with you. No matter what they did, nothing could change the fact that they felt their grandma loved them less. They joke about it now, but at the time, I'm sure their grandmother's lavish attention towards Rob and her lack of attention towards them, stung.
I will admit I have shown favoritism many, many times. In fact, I display favoritism every time I realize I haven't yet had my daily devotions but choose to watch television instead. And every time I call a friend to pour out my problems before calling on God. I favor ice cream and candy over eating God's way - healthily. I sometimes favor the world when I forward dirty emails and leave the television channel on a program I shouldn't watch. I show favoritism towards sin when I yell at my kids, blurt out a swear word, and lie to a friend.
Although earthly favoritism is strictly forbidden because it results in hurt, hard feelings, and resentment, the one thing I should favor is God. And every time I choose another way instead of God's way, my favorite becomes crystal clear. I wonder how badly God is stung when I show partiality to something or someone other than Him.
Enough to throw me into a pit? Hmmm.
Although God is full of grace and mercy, even the thought of hurting my Father is enough to make me pause and think before I decide to favor anything before Him. The truth is, He favored me more than one thousand dollars worth. He sent His own Son to be brutally murdered so I could live with Him forever. He showed me I was His favorite by welcoming me into His family despite my sinful past.
In a weird way, I want to be like my husband's late grandma. I want to do little to hide the fact that God is my favorite, making it obvious to the world around me. I want my favoritism towards God to be a legacy too, passed on to my children and theirs. There will be no money offered in this deal, however. God simply asks for my heart. And He deserves nothing less.
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May my heart, Lord, choose to favor only You. Root out of my heart-soil all those wild vines that would take Your place, would choke out Your work in my life. Through Your spirit, All Gracious Father, may I actively favor the things of Your heart all the days of my life...leaving room for no other.