We all have favorites: favorite flavor of ice cream, favorite food, favorite restaurant, favorite article of clothing, and yes, your favorite place to sit in church! Having “favorite things” is a normal part of life. However, when favoritism moves from food, clothing, places and such, to people, everything changes. Truth be told we have all benefited from favoritism or felt the negative effects of it.
Favoritism, or partiality, is preferring one person or a group of people over another. Much of this happens without us being aware of it as we naturally gravitate to certain people over others. However, the “ugly” side of favoritism is when it is done on purpose and at the expense of others. This often causes pride in the one favored and shame in the one who is not. For example, favored students get more attention and leniency in the grading process, while neglected students suffer with poor self-esteem and poor grades. The examples go far beyond childhood as we see those who are considered beautiful, handsome, thin, smart, successful and yes, white, experience benefits of being favored. While those who are not find themselves marginalized.
Yet the Gospel screams the radicle and comforting message that “there is no favoritism with God” (Eph. 6:9b). That’s good news! In writing these words Paul is telling “masters” that they should not threaten their bondservants. There was a deep social chasm between these two groups of people. The master was powerful and affluent, while the bondservant had few rights and had gotten into that position because they were in debt. Yet Paul tells them that the Gospel turns the normal status quo on end by reminding the master that he is indebted to the Master who is heaven: The same Master as the bondservant! Therefore, do not show favoritism.
The Greek word Paul uses in this verse literally means “to make unjust distinctions between people by treating one person better than another.”  Peter uses the same word after seeing God bring the Gentile Cornelius to his door (Acts 10:34). James warns against it in the church (2:1,9), and Jude uses it negatively to call out false teachers (v.9).
As Believer’s we have been adopted by a God who is not partial (Dt. 10:17) to His children. He does not show favoritism! We all started out dead in our sin and trespasses, “but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:1,4,5). We all receive the same favor and as His children “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
I find these words very encouraging! God doesn’t have a favorite preacher! God does not play favorites despite of how it may feel. It’s a fact, the Bible says it clearly, God delights equally in all His children! That’s good news!