I have heard a great deal spoken about the “Prosperity Gospel” and its heresy. I agree with this statement to the fullest degree. However, I believe that there is another “prosperity gospel” that is not as visible and openly preached, but more accepted in the evangelical church in the west. One may not believe that it is a gospel of prosperity, and essentially it truly is not, however, it has taken the gospel of Jesus Christ and at the very least tarnished it. I believe that I written in a little more depth about this in a previous post. Part of what I call the “other prosperity gospel” is the capitalization on God given wisdom and knowledge with the intention of getting wealthy. More and more people in the evangelical Christian churches in the west are standing with one foot in the Kingdom of God and the other in the world of business and wealth.
Don’t misunderstand me, I believe that the worker is worth his wages, but to take something freely given you and use it for the purpose of gaining wealth is, in my opinion, sinful. I believe that the scriptures clearly teach that the blessings which God bestows on His people are not merely for their benefit, but for the benefit of His purpose which is His glory and bringing other to a relationship with Jesus Christ. The church in America has been tainted by the consumerist driven society and instead of not being conformed to its patterns, adopting and justifying them within. Becoming wealthy by way of God’s blessing and according to His purpose is not what I’m speaking about, its becoming wealthy according to one’s own purpose and using His desires for our “abundant life” as justification for working with wealth as our goal. I do not believe that God has called someone to get rich and use that wealth to live the lifestyle one has always dreamed of. I believe that when God calls someone to great wealth it is and will be for the benefit of others and ultimately God’s glory and Kingdom.
When God blessed Solomon beyond anyone ever in human history, it wasn’t because Solomon asked for it and “claimed” it, it was because of Solomon’s selflessness and desire for God’s glory in leading God’s people. When Jesus sent out His disciples two by two in Matthew 10, His instructions were to go to “the lost sheep of Israel”, and to take nothing and “acquire” nothing extra, but to trust that God would provide for the work done for Him and in His name.
7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9 Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. Matthew 10:7-10 (NASB) Emphasis mine
The disciples had no power to “heal the sick, raise the dead. . .” on their own, but this authority was given them by God Himself, and they were to freely use these gifts for the benefit of first, God’s kingdom, second, those on whom the gifts were used and the ones bearing witness. He goes on to instruct them to not take extra or acquire extra in faith that God would provide proper provisions for His workers. When we are redeemed by Christ, so is every area of our lives. We are claimed by Him and sent out to preach the kingdom. In doing so we are gifted in the authority of Christ to bring glory to His name and expand His kingdom. He will provide provision (payment) for our labor, after all, “the worker is worthy of his support”, but to take these gifts and use them in the pursuit of wealth and sustainability is to extort the Holy Spirit and use that which was given to us for the benefit of others for our own. This, to put it plainly, is stealing.
Please do not misunderstand me, I am not advising to stop receiving paychecks for your work, nor am I advising to deny promotions and raises (unless the Holy Spirit instructs you to do so), but what I am saying as to not mistake God’s blessings to be given for your benefit, rather seek to whom these blessing were given for. I do not believe that wealth is sinful, however, the desire and motivation of wealth are, as is taking the gifts given by God and using them to make an individual wealthy for personal gain.
Though we haven’t preached that coming into relationship with Jesus will bring you wealth and prosperity, we have accepted the belief that in the name of hard work and “good stewardship” pursuing wealth is the will of God for our lives. Discern my words carefully, because am not condemning those whom God has given wealth and are using it for His purpose, but I am calling those who have received wealth and hoarded it minus their 10% tithe for their own comfort and gain to repentance. Receive the payment God deems worthy and use it for that which He has ordained. Do not steal from those whom He has blessed you for, and do not steal from God.