THE FAVORITE CHILD! Have you ever thought about who was/is the favorite child in your family? If you are an “only child” I certainly hope you were/are the favorite of your parents. My wife is an “only child”. There were seven of us children in my family and fortunately for our parents we were spread out enough that all seven of us didn’t live at home at the same time. And I never really thought about who was the favorite child until I was an adult and someone asked me that question. As I thought about it I realized that my Mom had her favorite child and my Dad had his favorite child. I didn’t qualify in either category but that has never bothered me. I probably wouldn’t have chosen me either. But that kind of thing does bother some people. In fact it can actually bring anger, animosity, hatred, and danger to some family relationships.
Such was true in the life of Jacob, his favorite son Joseph and the eleven other sons who failed the “favorite test.” Scripture is clear that Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son, “Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age” (Genesis 37:3 NIV). And this did cause friction in the family, “When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him, and could not speak a kind word to him” (Genesis 27:4 NIV). Often sinful acts may occur when favoritism is shown within the family even to the extent of one sibling killing another; or, as in Joseph’s case, being sold into slavery because his brothers hated him. I trust we as Christians would not react in a sinful way just because we aren’t the “favorite” in our family nor would we plot harm on the “favorite” or the parents. God had a greater purpose for Joseph in life other than just being a “favorite child.” God allowing him to be sold into slavery and placing him in Egypt were first steps in God’s ultimate plan for Joseph, his family, and a future nation that would impact the world forever.
So maybe we weren’t/aren’t our parents’ favorite child. That’s no big deal because in God’s family, “God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11 NIV). And the writer of the book of James says, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism” (James 2:1 NIV). Ephesians 6:9 reminds us to treat everyone the same because with God, “there is no favoritism with him.” I think it should work that way in families as well but we know that at least with God we all have equal standing whether we are an “only child” or one of seven or one of many more. And I like that.