Before I begin, I am assuming that this blog post is going to spark some discussion. It is intended to. If comments do continue all I ask is that the discussion be respectful and civil. I do moderate blog comments, so anything that I find to be too much, I will not allow to be seen.
The Prosperity Gospel
Those three words spark utter disgust and outrage among some Christians and sheer euphoria among other Christians. A large majority of preachers on TV wholeheartedly preach some version of it. So, at the risk of enraging some, I have to get this off of my chest.
Do I believe that God wants to bless His people? Absolutely. Do I believe that blessing means that money will never be an issue for those who believe? Absolutely not. There it is. I’ve said it. I don’t see enough sound Biblical evidence to believe that all of God’s people will be rich here on earth. Now some of you may come back and claim that what I’ve just laid out isn’t what’s really being taught. Oh really? Here’s an example that I can share from personal experience. (I was in the room, so this isn’t hearsay) A fairly well known preacher in the course of a sermon shared that a parishioner followed him home one night. When he got out of his car to find out why they were following, the answer was something to the effect of they had committed to a faith gift to the ministry so they just wanted to see where the pastor lived because they wanted to know what kind of house they could expect to be getting soon. Come on, man! Have we really reduced giving, to a give to get formula? Yes, I know Luke 6:38 and Malachi 3:10. Those are amazing promises, but I don’t think that they are exclusively financial or even earthly blessings.
Here’s what I do know. I have many Christian friends who are very well off and I could not be happier for them. I have many Christian friends who struggle from paycheck to paycheck simply to keep a roof over their head and food on the table. I don’t doubt their level of faith because I’ve seen it in action just as much as I’ve seen the faith of my financially well off friends. I also know that Jesus, the very Son of God, left all of Heaven’s riches to be born of a virgin in a stable. He grew up in a poor carpenter’s home. During His adult ministry, He was essentially a homeless nomad. Surely, if anyone was going to be showered in financial prosperity here on earth it would be Jesus.
Here’s why I serve God. He loved me enough to die for me so that I can escape the penalty of sin. Here’s why I give. God can do more with my small gift than I ever could. Trust me, we have had some very difficult times financially, and I firmly believe that God has used multiple people (family, friends, anonymous strangers) to take care of us when we didn’t know where the next dime was coming from. No, I’m obviously not materially wealthy. I have a loving wife and two amazing daughters. That makes me richer than a lot of rich folks I know.
In closing, don’t tell me that my lack of wealth here on earth is a reflection on the depth of my relationship with Christ. Don’t tell me that I should put money in the plate so that God will multiply it back in my pocket before I even get home. My relationship with God is a whole lot deeper than that.