"Matt, how do I unleash God's favor into my life?" John asked the question with great anticipation. He was the pastor of a struggling church. He had spent years studying the Bible, earning his master's degree in theology and religious studies. He had a tremendous ability to divide God's word while delivering it to his followers on Sunday morning. However he had a real blind spot: He wasn't very relational. His marriage was barely hanging on and his personal connection to his congregation and staff was riddled with strain and a great divide.
You might be thinking, "So what? What does that have to do with his success?" My answer: Everything. One doesn't need to read too much of the Bible to discover the group of people that angered Jesus the most. It wasn't the undereducated, nor those who didn't believe in the God of Abraham. Jesus was most angered at the highly educated Biblical scholars. They were called the Pharisees. They knew the law (Old Testament) like the back of their hand. They had it memorized. They elevated themselves above everyone else with their fancy robes and aristocratic ways. They became arrogant and unteachable. Often they looked down their sinful noses at anyone who fell below their academic level of knowledge.
They lacked the 'spirit' of the law and followed the 'letter' of the law. Jesus called them a brood of vipers. An empty cavern. They lacked a relational connection with the souls that surrounded them. Souls that were thirsty for truth, for real love and hungered for food that only God could provide.
Many pastors fall into the same trap. They focus so much on the knowledge of God's word that they forget about the spirit of God's word: To be in deep fellowship with other believers. To be vulnerable. To do life with us, not to just speak at us.
Unleashing God's favor into your life will happen when you believe in His son, Jesus, follow His teachings, and dive deep into relationships with those around you. In Matthew 5-7, Jesus begins His teachings by focusing on what's in our hearts, not what's in our heads. In short, these chapters help us become far more relational with others. He emphasizes relationships, how we treat people inside and outside our family unit.
If Pastor John would modify his focus and invest 30 percent of his time on relationships rather than gaining more knowledge, he would start to see a tremendous response and God's favor would become evident in his life. His church would probably grow and he would enjoy the journey much more.
How about you? Are you too focused on your vocation? Do you have enough left over for your spouse when you get home? Are you carving out enough time for your children? Do you have valued friends that you invest in? If the answer is no, you may have fallen into the same trap.
Unleash God's favor into your life by investing in people because God is in the business of people. Try it for three months and take note of all the blessings that result.