Be sure to check out my new blog “The Second Coming of Christ” for an in depth look at prophecies related to the Second Coming and discussions about getting spiritually and physically prepared.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Does God Show Favorites?

I hear people bear testimony and thank God all the time for blessing that they received, but these blessing came at the expense of other not being blessed. Does God really show favorites like this? With some of the “blessing” that we ask for, we are in competition with other of God’s children. How does God decide who to bless, or does he even get involved at all? Here is an example of what I mean. Suppose you and several of your co-workers are all eligible for a certain promotion at work. It means more money, better hours, and the ever popular office with a window. This is something that you desire so you ask Heavenly Father for it. The twist is that all the eligible co-workers also ask Heavenly Father for this blessing as well. So how does Heavenly Father decide? Does he go by whose the most righteous? Who “needs” it the most? (assuming that any of them “need” it at all) Or maybe he doesn’t get involved at all? If he is going to get involved, how is he going to ensure that the person he wants to bless gets the promotion? What if the boss is not in tune with Heavenly Father?
So what do you think?

9 comments:

Eric Nielson said...

I do not believe God plays favorites. I believe that when he blesses someone it is based on eternal principles and His perfect judgment.

But he also does not violate our agency or that of others.

In the example you give, there is some individual who makes the call on the promotion. I do not believe God will violate this persons agency. Are they praying about the decision? If not, then the candidates may be at the mercy of the person making the decision and the criteria that is used. So I believe the most important prayer question rests with the one making the decision.

If the human recources person prays over such decisions, then God can be 'free' to influence the decision. Then the decision can best match God's purposes - even though it may be a very complex criteria he uses.

When we receive a blessing from God it is based on our obedience to the principle or law upon which the blessing is predicated. Therefore there is some merit on the part of the individual so blessed.

Robby C said...

In the example you give, there is some individual who makes the call on the promotion. I do not believe God will violate this persons agency. Are they praying about the decision? If not, then the candidates may be at the mercy of the person making the decision and the criteria that is used. So I believe the most important prayer question rests with the one making the decision.

Eric, I agree with you(assuming that I'm understanding you correctly). I think that unless the one making the decision tries to involve God, then God probably doesn't get involved.

If the human recources person prays over such decisions, then God can be 'free' to influence the decision.

I agree that God CAN be 'free' to influence the decision, but I'm still not sure how involved he will get.

I think when it comes down to a competition between his children for a "blessing" that he pretty much stays uninvolved.

So why bring this up? I think there is a danger in testifying of blessings received, when God may not have had anything to do with it at all. Let's carry the example a bit farther. Joe and Ted are both in the same ward and work for the same company. They were both up for the promotion. Joe got the promotion and Ted didn't. On Fast Sunday Joe gets up in testimony meeting and praises God for the blessing of this promotion. Meanwhile Ted sits in pew thinking "Why didn't God bless me? I must be doing something wrong? Or maybe God likes Joe better."

Not to worry Ted, God probably wasn't even involved at all.

Eric Nielson said...

It would then be great if Ted bore his testimony of how he was blessed to avoid the promotion. Life is pretty complicated, and maybe not getting the promotion is the blessing.

The only way I think to know if something is a blessing is to receive revelation regarding it.

Robby C said...

The only way I think to know if something is a blessing is to receive revelation regarding it.


Excellent point Eric.

Katiedid said...

I came hoping for a comment from Ppppower (not sure how to spell it), but I can't help but leave a comment. It's been a while.
I hope no one minds me referencing a secular source, and I hope it doesn't detract much from Eric's great thoughts. This is from comedian Stephen Colbert's book I am America (and so can you!). It is part of a letter from "God". It seemed fitting for this post.
"Back in the day, fewer people prayed for me to do things for them. There was a lot more thanksgiving, and it's less time-consuming to answer prayers that are praising you for things. Those were the good old days. Now it's gimme, gimme, gimme.
"It especially shows up in sports. Used to be, you never had both sides praying for victory. One team max, and 9 times out of 10 that team was Notre Dame. Now, you're guaranteed to have counteracting prayers. What am I supposed to do? For Me, it's literally a no-win situation. I usually have no choice but to answer the prayer of whichever team is better.
"Of course, I can't get caught playing favorites. So if I do help a team, it's not going to be with something cool and dramatic like a line drive that suddenly lifts up and carries over the fence. Instead, I usually just go back in time and make the winning team have practiced more.
"I mean, if there's one team that is clearly more righteous, yes, I'll help that team, although sometimes I'll help the team of sinners instead because I love a good underdog. Plus that nudge might set them on the righteous path, or there could be a sick kid, or there's some other factor...you know what? It's complicated. You'd really have to be Everywhere."

Dallas said...

I didn't want to Jack the "Future Hall of Famers" Post so I'll put the rest of my comment here. I think God does have favorites based on what we did in our pre-existences.

The Hall of Famers Post allowed me to get the wording I needed for this. Let me explain. I am not the best at hand eye coordination so when it comes to sports, let's just say If I was even picked during school, it would have been the last person. Granted with practice and time I could improve my skills, but NO amount of time or practice could ever put be into the Hall of Fame.

Now if we relate the Hall of Fame to the Celestial Kingdom. There would have to be some sort of favorites going on to have the necessary amount of pre-requisites (for lack of a better word) needed for the Celestial Kingdom.

Leah said...

I'm new here... thanks to an invite from Robby.

How about maybe God does not necessarily get involved in our day to day lives, he deals us the cards and leaves us to play the games as we see fit.

Maybe every promotion, pay rise, everything good or bad for that matter that has happened in your life has happened because of choice, sheer luck or just being in the right place at the right time and vice versa.

Maybe we should not hide behind God's back when things go wrong nor hide behind his back when we should actually take the credit.

I often feel God's done his work by offering us life (though not in a uniform manner)and the rest is really up to us. His involvement is minimal if not nil.

p-p-p-p plower said...

I have often wondered when people have born testimony of "I know I am supposed to be here" or in a specific place because it felt right or they prayed and fasted about it. I guess I am a skeptic that God tells people to move somewhere when they have no job set up or anything to help them physically survive. Are they the favorites because they apparently do not need to have such things to survive? All they have to do is pray about it? Or, actually, if things just do not work out for that person who claims that are supposed to be somewhere for a "reason." Are they not one of God's favorites?

I have been thinking as of late that Diests had a very interesting idea and it seems to fit along the lines of Leah's comment. God is the watchmaker. He makes the watch sets it in motion and watches it tick. As with us; God has created each one of us and a world to live in however; how involved is he in our lives and in world affairs? How do we become favorites?

Robby C said...

While I don’t think God is a micro-manager, I’m definitely not a deist. What happens if the watch breaks? I believe in a God who answers prayers and performs miracles. But I also think if we can do things on our own, then he lets us. God is the ultimate example of self-sufficiency. If we are to become like him then I believe we need to become self-sufficient as well.

“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward. Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.” (D&C 58:26-28)

In Sunday School today I saw an interesting contrast. Both Limhi’s and Alma’s people were in bondage to the Lamanites. What I thought was very interesting was how they got out of bondage. Let’s look at Limhi’s group. In Mosiah 22 they come up with a plan to escape themselves, implement it, and free themselves from bondage. With Alma’s group it goes a bit different. In Mosiah 24 the Lord comes to them, tells them he will free them, causes a deep sleep to come upon the Lamanites and they make their escape. With Limhi’s group they had to do it on their own, with Alma’s group the Lord did it for them. With Limhi’s group God seems to have played a very limited role, if any, in their escape, while with Alma’s group God played a very intricate role. Does that mean he favored Alma’s group over the other? Maybe, after all it does say in Mosaih 24:16 “And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience (Alma’s group) that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.”
But another take on this could be that while Alma’s group still needed God to hold their hand, Limhi’s group had progressed to the point where they could follow the counsel in D&C 58 and do it on their own. Just a thought.

So when you’re sitting in sacrament meeting hearing people testify of “blessings” that the Lord “gave” them and your thinking, “why doesn’t the Lord step in and give me blessings like that”; you should remember that it could be that the Lord still has to hold that persons hand while they “cross the street”. But you’ve progressed to a point where you can start “crossing the street” on your own. He’s blessed you with talents and abilities and is now saying do many things of your own free will, for the power is in you...or…maybe you’re just a sinner and he’s favoring them because they’re more righteous…I don’t know…it’s all so complicated…Aaaauugghh!