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A Shrimp Salad Sandwich with Hope



We all have our favorites. Our favorite vacation. Our favorite fishing spots. Our favorite restaurant. Our favorite meal. Our favorite holiday. Our favorite ride at Disney World. Our favorite friend. Our favorite boss. Our favorite aunts and uncles. Our favorite cousin. Our favorite child.


I can’t think of anyone that sits down with a piece of paper, or even a spreadsheet, and figures out what or who’s going to be their favorite. It doesn’t appear at the end of an experiment. It doesn’t just pop up at the end of a long calculation or formula.


No, favorites are not from our minds, but from our hearts. We might think they’re logical, but they’re not. We might be able to give lots of reasons why they are favorites. But at the end of the day, they are choices based on feelings and experiences.


For example, my favorite sandwich of all time is a shrimp salad sandwich on white bread with potato chips and a Pepsi. Now, I really like Italian subs (hoagies.) I like hot roast turkey sandwiches with lots of gravy. I also like hot corned beef on seeded rye with mustard too. The list could go on and on.


So, what makes a shrimp salad sandwich my favorite? Is it because I was born and raised in Baltimore? Is it because I read the recipe in a book? Did I win a contest for making the best shrimp salad sandwich?


It’s because a shrimp salad sandwich was the first meal Mary Ann and I had together as husband and wife. We left our wedding reception and stopped at a local joint for a shrimp salad sandwiches together. We sat across from one another in brand-new clothes, with a brand-new marriage license, and a brand-new life ahead of us. As we nibbled at our sandwiches, we looked into each other’s eyes, and we couldn’t stop smiling.


Yes, we all have favorites. But God doesn’t. God doesn’t see anyone of us as more deserving of his love. He doesn’t look on the outside and like some of us better because of our appearance or accomplishments[1].


He looks at you and me individually, uniquely made as the personal object of his love. He looks at us with his eternal, merciful, and all-powerful eyes of love. He doesn’t have any favorites.


God absolutely doesn’t have any favorites. When he looks at us, he’s face to face with us. There’s no distance between us, no mask to hide behind. He’s not impressed by our abilities, possessions, or positions.


God doesn’t have any favorites because we are all his favorite.


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life


John 3:16


Jesus didn’t come just for the people that were God’s favorites. He didn’t die just for the people who earned his favor. He wasn’t raised from the dead for the deserving. If that were the case, then why come? No one deserved God’s love.


But God loved the world. Period. That includes everyone. It’s every person ever born on planet Earth. Everyone from history past, up to and including history future. God gave his one and only Son so everyone could have eternal live. To make life with God available to everyone. No favorites.


I don’t know about you, but that confuses me. How could love “those” people? You know who I’m talking about. “Those” people who’ve murdered, abused, kidnapped, robbed, lied. “Those” people who’ve hurt us and our families.


But then I think about my life. I may have never taken someone’s physical life, but my words, thought, actions, and attitudes certainly have murdered them in my heart[2]. And in those quiet moments of your life, I’d bet everything I have that you are the same. No better. No worse. Just the same.


When we meet people, we don't look at them like God does. God never tries to figure out which one of them can help him the most. God doesn't choose the person who impresses him the most. God's not looking for the most popular or the most powerful.


God has no favorites because everyone is his favorite. Someone he wants to spend eternity with. He wants you so desperately that it cost him the life of his one and only, dearly loved son.


That’s what you’re worth to God. You are his favorite. And so is everyone else.

[1] 1 Samuel 16:7 [2] Matthew 21,22

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