Have you noticed the rise of what has been deemed as the "prosperity gospel"? Some of the most well known Evangelist's in this country have been pointed at as regularly delivering sermons that seem to outright or at the very least intimate the promise of prosperity by means of obeying God.
According to many of these Evangelist's the more obedient one is… the more pleasing they are to God, in return He will bestow endless blessings upon a person and their life. Anyone who knows Jesus and His character… knows that material wealth and possessions are not in His eyes a sign of importance, of a life well lived, or that those things even belong to us. But oddly enough, in contrast... in the eyes of the prosperity gospel emitting individual, our worth, how well we've done in life and how well we've obeyed God is also directly linked to how many blessings we've racked up on the blessing-o-meter.
The Widow’s Two Mites Luke 21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,[a] but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
The widow tossed in her two coins and although Jesus did praise her for her selfless act, for her wonderful contribution when she had next to nothing… He also didn't then reward her with a fabulous all expenses paid cruise vacation, designer wardrobe, lake front property with castle included… He didn't do any of that… He praised her and moved on. It doesn't state that He offered to pay her rent or buy her a month worth of groceries. The truth was… He loved the fact she didn't ask Him: "So, uh… how about something for me?" He loved the fact that she contributed when she had little to nothing to give. He valued her contribution more than the people of wealth because it meant more to her.
Today we see so much bargaining going on in the world… expectation in places where it shouldn't exist. In so many marriages there is the expectation of one another where it shouldn't reign. There is the narcissistic husband who expects sex due to his providing for his wife… in his mind money and her provision is closely linked to a debt of sexual favors owed to him… not selfless love shown to one another… alternatively, there is the wife who expects her husband to do x,y,z the moment he walks in the door from working all day without so much as a hello. Both scenarios are damaging and set up marriages to fail… because the mentality of "What am I'm gonna get?" comes before Him.
The prosperity theology promotes idolatry
Christians who look to God to fill a bucket of blessings based on what they do for Him… they have their hands out… their buckets set out waiting to be filled… and when they aren't filled… the entitled sense of disappointment and resentment kicks in toward God. They believe they have upheld their end of the bargain… and bewilderingly wonder why their oh so perfect life isn't materializing speedy quick right now… it's because they have been sold a bill of goods… a message that was false, that was based on material luxuries, on keeping up with the Joneses, etc. In this line of thinking God becomes a magical genie of some sort they just elicit some rewards from by obeying Him.
The prosperity gospel spewers keep getting richer because they are preying on gullible innocent Christians… they are preying on people who erroneously believe their windfall is about to hit any day now… they just have to "try harder" to please God… which is a ridiculous, terrible and damaging message to send to anyone. It tells people that they aren't good enough… that they haven't met x,y,z… and they don't measure up. It sends people into the dark abyss of desperation, of feeling less than and even suicide. It bases their worth and standing on their worldly gains when actually God loves them regardless because their His children.
Today I'm here to tell you:
You are not your bank account,
you are not your vehicle,
you are not your house, etc.
You are a child of God
and He loves you…
His only son died for you.
Are we more concerned with what we are going to get in return for helping others?
Are we subscribing to a message of "What am I going to receive if I obey Him?"
Or are we happy to give and help others… anyone really, without any expectations…
Giving freely out of selfless love…
Like Jesus did for us on the cross…