“Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.”
Jesus of Nazareth
I am not a collector, a saver, or a hoarder. I like a simple few things and don’t have need for very much else. I have 10 of the same kind of shirt that I wear all the time to almost any occasion (much to the consternation of my wife and one of my partners). I don’t have a laundry list of things that I am hoping to get. In fact, every year my wife asks me what I want for Father’s Day (I just celebrated my 25th one of those). I have answered that question a couple of dozen times exactly the same way:
I want to hear from my children.
Their heart in their words. Initially, those handwritten cards contained carefully drawn pictures with very simple thoughts connected by a collection of misspelled words. Increasingly, I hear mature thoughtfulness, recognition, and the encouraging hope that my great love for them might just have won out over all the rest I showed them to the contrary. They seem to really believe they are loved and all the rest seems to melt into that overriding truth.
That secret fear I carry is requited, at least for the moment…
Maybe I didn’t screw things up as bad as I feared.
My father used to infuriate me. Every birthday, I would get a Hallmark card from him with the simple epitaph, “Love, Dad.” While he was a man of very few words, I secretly hoped that he had reserved a few special ones just for me. I thought that one day, I might open a card without the strained verse written by a stranger, but the particular and precious words from a father to a son.
One time, he asked me to go to the Hallmark store with him because he needed an anniversary card for my stepmom. I was shocked to watch that rascal read every card in the rack! Carefully filtering through stilted verse to find the one that said just what he longed to say, but his own words failed to convey. And then a simple revelation hit me.
He deeply felt every word in every card he had given me.
Tired verse became personal and I secretly wished that all the birthday cards, likely discarded in disappointment, could be unearthed so that I could savor every word that he so precisely offered.
In a similar way, I am reading scripture with new eyes. If I read scripture like a Hallmark card, a generic message intended for a generic audience, it routinely fails to hit its’ mark. But when I read it as a love letter from my Father, each word specifically chosen for me, His beloved, the words leap off the page and I am undone.
An awesome young podcaster I love has made communicating this simple idea his life mission…
We are His favorite.
He makes a very compelling case. One simple podcast on the topic, only 15 minutes long, will unnerve, disrupt, and possibly break you with this mostly hidden truth:
YOU ARE HIS FAVORITE
I am not ignoring original sin or the fact that we live in a fallen world. I am simply believing the entire gospel that says that despite the fact that I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, that He made a way for me. So that, in Jesus, I can know the love of the Father exactly the way He did. I am choosing to allow the truth to set me free. And I am praying that my children will know and believe it well before the 40 years it took me to know and understand.
I pray that with every drink from his water bottle (pictured above), my son will be reminded of what his father is trying so hard to make sure we both understand:
He is His favorite and so am I.
What was your initial reaction to this idea?
Can you press through everything this life and our enemy has taught you and believe that it is true?
How would life look and feel different if you dared believe?
Who do you love and lead that needs to know that they are His favorite?