The Favor Principle
[Excerpted from Chapter 01 of my new book, The Top 10 Leadership Conversations in the Bible. You can read the entire book for free at BibleCenteredLeadership.com.]
The favor principle says giftedness and training are not enough—to be effective as a leader you will need the favor of God.
The idea of favor is all through the Bible. When the Israelites left Egypt, God made the Egyptians “favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them whatever they asked for” (Ex 12:36). Ruth found favor with Boaz, first through his generosity in the fields and then as her kinsman redeemer. Ezra and Nehemiah found favor with kings who opened doors of opportunity and provided tangible support.
Favor and Power
The favor of God moves in or through others to open doors for us to advance his kingdom, whereas the power of God moves in or through us to impact others to advance his kingdom.
God’s favor often comes through others who do not serve him and are not even aware of how or why they may be acting as his agents. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Prov. 21:1).
God used Moses as an instrument of divine power released to compel the Egyptians to let the people of Israel go. But it was the favor of God moving on the Egyptians that allowed Israel to plunder their former captors on the way out. Giftedness and training were not enough; Moses and the people of Israel needed the favor of God.
In 1949 Billy Graham hosted a series of evangelistic tent meetings in a Los Angeles parking lot. Organizers originally planned to host the meetings for three weeks but later extended the schedule multiple times. Ultimately Graham preached for eight weeks and attracted 350,000 people. As many as 3,000 professed faith in Jesus, including actors and radio personalities.
Several weeks in, the media mogul and publisher William Randolph Hearst sent a two-word directive by telegram to editors of his newspapers: “Puff Graham.” In newspaper jargon, the directive told them to feature stories about Billy Graham and his event. Coverage about Billy Graham and his tent meetings received priority throughout Hearst’s media empire. Soon other newspapers followed suit. Billy Graham and the gospel message gained momentum on a national stage.
When Billy Graham preached in Los Angeles, the power of God moved through him and drew people to Christ. When William Randolph Hearst sent a telegram to his editors, the favor of God moved through him.
Billy Graham wrote about this experience in his book, Just As I Am: “Hearst and I did not meet, talk by phone, or correspond as long as he lived.”[i] Graham did not take credit, nor should we, for the way God’s favor can open doors and accelerate results beyond anything we could do in our own strength.
In Joseph’s interaction with Pharaoh, one of the most important leadership conversations in the Bible, favor plays a major part in the backstory. Learn more about the Favor Principle in The Top 10 Leadership Conversations in the Bible. You can read the entire book for free at BibleCenteredLeadership.com.