"Jesus loves you, but I'm his favorite!" I saw that stuck to the back of a minivan the other day. I had to stop and take notice. You see lots of bumper stickers that say "Jesus loves you" "Smile God loves you" or other such nondescript niceties about the love of Jesus. This one was unique in its cynicism, yet also unique in its honesty.
I say unique in its honesty because isn't that what the sinner in us truly wants to believe? Sure Jesus might love you. Sure he loves everyone. But He loves me the most. Isn't that what's behind this "purpose driven" craze that has invaded the church?
Call me cynical, but I believe that it is. We are not content that Jesus simply love us, that he simply give us heaven for free, that he simply wash us clean from our sins. We want more. We want life with meaning. We want life with a purpose. (And if we were truly honest, we want, no... I want Jesus to give to me a purpose that Jesus hasn't given to you!)
Let's be honest. We want to be special. We want to be the favorite. We want to be numbered among those spiritual elites who have found their purpose. We want to be the guy who puts his arm around the less fortunate brother who doesn't have a purpose and tell him we'll pray for him, we want the smug satisfaction of knowing that we have found that one place that God wants us to be and that we are living a glorious life as the result of it. Isn't that what's it's all about? A glorious life? A favored life? An I'm-better-and-more-chosen-than-you kind of life?
Truth be told, God does have a plan and he does have a purpose; but not the type of plan that most of us are looking for. (Isaiah 55:8) God's plan is salvation. God's plan is that your sinful will and mine be broken and that we be turned to Him in sorrow for sin and then turned to Him in faith for salvation. God's plan is that we be saved from this world of sin and be sealed for eternity. And God's love is too great to be so exclusive. It is his free gift for you and not just for you but for the whole world. (1 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 2:2)