The Concept of "Favor"


#1

Please tell me what you think about the concept of God’s favor, as talked about by Joel Osteen and others. Also, does the Church have anything to say regarding “favor”? I love listening to Joel Osteen’s messages, because they are uplifting, but I find I will take them to heart. For me, this idea that I can receive God’s favor if I just believe in Him, follow his ways, and walk with him has been difficult. I mean, I’m not getting any “favor” when I go to a job interview and I have been praying very hard to land the job and believing God that He will do good things in my life.

Okay, so maybe it will take a while. Yes, I have developed patience and faith. But I haven’t seen favor! Not that patience and faith are bad things. There is an idea I have in the back of my mind whenever this idea that I can receive God’s favor (or “more of God’s favor”) is talked about. That is, if I am receiving favor from God, what happens to you? Did the person who got the job receive more of God’s favor? Did I deserve to get the job because I believed God for favor more? Or because I am - maybe - a better follower of Christ or because I give God praise before going into the situation. It seems like an unequal way to look at the blessings of God. I’m not asking for comments on Joel Osteen or any other preacher/teacher. Just on the idea of “favor”. I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time now.


#2

I know you are not looking for comments on Osteen, but you have to realize that he is not Catholic and what he and others like him preach is not Catholic theology. Yes, God grants favors, but according to what His will and not ours. It is like when a child wants something from his parents. The kid could beg and cry all he wants but if the parent feels it is not good for him, then he will not get it. Sometimes it is difficult to accept God’s will, especially when the answer to one of our requests is “no.” But when I find a favor is not granted, God is either leading me toward something else, trying to teach me something, or letting me know that He has different plans. I know it is difficult, especially when you are asking God for a new job, to take away a hardship, or for healing. What we need to realize is that God is in charge and God has things under control. All we can control is how we react to God’s will. If we give up our own will and make God’s will our own, then we can deal with not getting the “favors” we ask for. It doesn’t mean that God does not love us…in fact it probably means that God loves us very much, and wants our love on His terms not ours.


#3

I’m with Joannm. I know you don’t want comments on Osteen, but I’ll give it anyway.

He’s not Catholic. I wouldn’t listen to him. I don’t listen to Osteen but he’s one of those “mega” preachers and since he has products to sell he has to give his customers what they want. Many people want stuff in their life so it seems like he’s preaching about a Santa Claus god. My mom used to say, “God must have really smiled on him/her.” Seems like he’s preaching to pray for God’s favor and you can have security and stuff and a job and … etc. This can really give us a distored view of God.

I would suggest that you start to pray for God’s grace in your life. I won’t go into my story, but it wasn’t until I gave up the “Santa Claus” god and started to rely on God for my life and desiring His Grace that life picked up. I know it’s hard right now. You’re looking for work. I’ve been there, trust me, I know. It can be scary especially when you’re not sure about how you’re going to pay rent or where the next meal is going to come from, but I have learned to trust in God that He will give me what I NEED, not what I want. (And what I have learned is to rely on God, and no one else.)

This reminds me of the homily at Mass yesterday. We celebrated Corpus Christi and the priest went through and showed how throughout time God has always provided food, from Genesis on through Moses and others where God provided food to people when they needed it. It was a simple reliance on God that they had. He then mentioned in new testament where Christ gave us a different kind of food. A very special kind of food. Food for our spiritual life. I think it’s apropos here - a simple reliance on God for our life and He will provide what we need when we need it.

If you want inspiration, read up on one of the many saints. I know St. Francis of Assisi lived a life of poverty (I know you probably don’t want to hear about that right now, especially since you’re looking for a job, I know I used to feel that way.) but I think you could find inspiration in him for living a simple life free of “favors.”

Also, pray to St. Jude. He is the patron saint for desperate cases. Ask for his intercessions for God’s help in your life.

St. Cajetan is the patron saint for the unemployed, and St. Joseph gave up a lot for Christ.

Look to the saints who are alive with God, rather than a preacher who seems to be more of this world than the spiritual.

I shall pray for you.


#4

People,
Lets not put down what Joel preaches. He is not Catholic, granted, but he does preach a lot of sense. In the end, we are talking about the same things just lookin at it from a different angle.

Carol, God’s time is the best. Allow God to show you his grace and favour. A thousand years are a day gone by. NO prayer goes to God unanswered and where you think he may be slow in granting your bread he may actually be preparing a feast for you. Give God time.

Love and Peace.


#5

I wasn’t putting down Osteen. To say that he is not Catholic is to state a fact. I was merely directing the OP to the lives of the saints which has more of an assurance of Catholic theology rather than the preachings of someone whose motives can be suspect (i.e. he’s got product to sell you, salvation and God’s favors). As it is, the OP seems distressed that what Osteen is preaching isn’t coming true for her. I no doubt he has some pearls of wisdom and may make some sensible remarks. As a Catholic, however, for inspiration I’d rather follow the lives of the saints who are alive with God in heaven and follow what they did to get there and trust Catholic books and authors - books with the impramatur and nihil obstat and have more of an assurance of what I’m reading is more along the lines of the Catholic faith than try and discern what is ok or not with a Christian (non-Catholic) author.

That’s not to say we can’t read other books - but in times of need its best, IMO, to “stay home.” Sort of like, you go to people you trust. When one is ready and strong in their faith, then reading other material can most certainly be of benefit. Of course, we all have differing opinions and this one is mine. :wink:

At anyrate, I will pray for the OP. I do hope you find a job. That is important as it is what provides our livelihood. :slight_smile:


#6

Thank you both. Odopa, your last sentence was very helpful.

I think I’m more interested in the concept of favor. Not so much interested in Joel vs. the Saints. Although, I do get the idea of the Santa Claus God. Like just believe and you will get a stocking full of good stuff. On the other hand, when I have doubts about God being there and actually caring, I tend to think about the movie Miracle on 34th Street. The moral of the story is to keep believing even if you don’t see anything. So often lately, I feel like that little girl when she says, “I believe, I believe. It’s silly, but I believe.” She expresses that feeling of waiting and hoping and not seeing - but yet convincing yourself to believe anyway. So, I guess I’m trying to say even though it’s not good to look at God as Santa, I need to have that same blind belief in Him as I did in Santa when I was a child. I know it’s different from what you are saying, though.

I guess this makes me a bad Catholic, but I don’t pray to Saints and I am really uncomfortable with the idea. I pray to God, in the Trinity, and occasionally I will pray to Mary. While it would be nice to learn about the lives of the saints, maybe even edifying, I don’t see that as necessary for my walk with God. It’s nice to have someone encourage me in that manner, to say look towards the saints. I just don’t see that is a way to find out come to know God or how he is working in my life any better. I am not using Joel Osteen as a way to come closer to God either. I find that many of the things he says helps me to keep a good perspective on God. I just thinking I may be taking things a little too much to heart. I am sure that Joel Osteen had been raised by a wonderful family and his father was a good preacher who meant a lot to him and was a great loss to him when he passed. But I think he may need to live a little longer and experience a little more in order to see that some things he says are simplistic.

However, Odopa helps put perspective on the idea of favor and make it a little less simplistic. I don’t know, maybe I am just drawn to those positive thoughts no matter who says them. I just need to not take it so seriously that I feel let down afterwards when things do not go my way.

I know one thing about Joel Osteen. He arranged an awesome worship group/choir when he appeared at the Yankee Stadium. I was really moved by that and still feeling it when I went to Mass the next day.


#7

My dear friend

I don’t think it right to judge Gods favour by material blessings alone. The most important blessings are spiritual. I’m really lost for words to try and describe Gods favour for us and am only a human and can’t hope to do so. I’ll just make a few points. God gives us His Holy Spirit, in reality God gives us Himself Father, son and holy Spirit , in baptism. This gift of Himself is a greater treasure than all of creation together. It has an infinite value. He keeps giving but i won’t go into that. God created us because from all eternity He saw us and loved us. He wanted children and out of all the infinite possible worlds and beings He chose our world and us to be His creation. As Jesus says we can call ourselves Gods if we want because we are. we are not the equal of God but God gives us His spirit so we are not just adopted children but real children. I know some will dispute what I say but the way I see it God wanted children and He considers us His children. He loves each of us as His only child. Jesus taught us to call God our father because it is so. Abba Father - abba means daddy or papa. This is how we should relate to God - as children. not adopted but real children. If God wills it, it is so. And i think it’s pretty clear God has willed to be our Father and us His children. so be it. On and on it can go about how much God loves us and how He favours us. We should never question or doubt God because He is infinitely perfect, does all with infinite perfection and has always and will always love us with an infinite love and do everything we need. God has a good track record but we must understand it. There is too much misunderstanding of God.

God bless you:thumbsup::slight_smile:
John


#8

Thank you, that was very sweet. I mean that I can hear the sweetness that comes from love of God and others in what you write.

Here are some things that God has given me throughout this trial I am experiencing.

More faith and patience.

More understanding of my mother. My mother is 87 and I live with her. I’ve never been able to understand why she behaves or thinks as she does and now that I am home more and able to spend hours talking, not saying I have to get ready for work, etc., I can understand her based on things she tells me about her childhood. That, in turn, helps me to understand myself.

Feeling that I am helping my mother, even though I cannot financially. For someone her age, it’s important to have someone around to talk to. Many older folks don’t have that and feel isolated or, at least, confined to just living with those who are their age and talking about nothing else but concerns of the elderly. Sometimes we also have movie nights (or afternoons) at home, after talking about one of the movies that we love. I’ve also learned that I am pretty good at gardening, since sometimes I trim bushes and do other things for her. I am blessed with work when I do that. She appreciates it and give me a little money, which really helps. I feel God bringing out a talent in me and helping me to tend the living things around me.

Less concentration on material things. Not that I was that interested in clothes, cars, etc. in the first place! But I am finding out how much freedom there is to go into a store for a little something you can’t do without and to just walk by the clothes, DVDs, etc. that used to suck up my money. Yes, it’s stressfull wondering whether I should even spend anything at all and how to pay for it. But, I love not even wanting to look at clothes in Wal-Mart!

More concentration on family and building friendships. I love my family. They are so good to me. And we are so good to each other. I love just spending time with them. Sometimes I wish I could solve my financial problems so that I could solve all of theirs too, but at least we know we want the best for each other. Friends - I don’t have too many anymore, but I just made friends with someone at church who recently took me somewhere with some of their friends and I had the most wonderful day! In fact, God favored me with a beautiful sunny day where my friends took me and, if I had been at home it would have been cloudy and dreary!

Well, I guess I could go on and on if I thought about it. I see your point. God’s favor is there if you look for it and don’t expect it in just the way you want it.


#9

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.