Do you believe that to be true? If you subscribe to the “Get Rich Gospel of Prosperity,” then how do you explain Matthew 6:19-24? Jesus himself is talking and He seems pretty clear to me. What you HAVE (money, stuff, fame, etc.) is not nearly as important as WHO you ARE in Christ. Your character overshadows your bank balance every time.
“But what about Matthew 7:7-11,” you ask. “It says right there that God wants to give us good gifts!” Well, let’s define “good gifts,” shall we? My youngest daughter would trade her eye teeth for a chance to meet Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf, so giving her a backstage pass to one of their concerts would be a great gift in her eyes. My mom, however, would probably look at me like I had grown a third eyeball were I to give her the same thing. She’s 66 years old and much more into country than hard rock. So a good gift for one wouldn’t be much of a gift for another. A reward for one would be a ho-hum for another.
Let’s go a step farther here and look at the life of Jesus. Did He live in a palace? He was born in a manger and I’ve never read anywhere in the Bible that He “stepped up” to a “socially acceptable” address. Did He clothe himself in the splendor of Solomon? John 19:23 tells us that His tunic was seamless – not that it was embellished with gold and precious jewels.
So yeah – if Jesus didn’t live a lifestyle of the rich and famous, is it logical to believe that His favorite thing to hear us say is, “Show me the money!”?
Right now, there are 1226 billionaires in the world (according to Forbes). The man at the #2 spot, Bill Gates, was quoted as saying, “The specific elements of Christianity are not something I’m a huge believer in,” in an interview in 1995. The #3 guy, Warren Buffett, has publicly said that he’s agnostic. This leads to a couple of questions —
- If God wants us all to be uber rich, why then, with a current world population of 7,038,697,823, are there less than 1500 billionaires? Are there only 1226 people pleasing God enough to get the goodies with the other 7,038,696,597 of us being “bad kids?”
- If material wealth is a gift that God wants us, His children, to have, doesn’t that mean that we have to become His adopted children through Jesus first? (see 2 Corinthians 6:18 and Ephesians 1:5) If Gates isn’t a “huge believer” in Christianity, Buffet is agnostic, the #9 guy, Li Ka-shing, is Buddhist and George Soros (#22) is atheist, how does that fit with the adopted children of God line of thinking?
I’m a parent. I love my children. But you know what? Even if I had billions, I wouldn’t give any of them a cool mill or so just because I could because none of them NEED that much cash! My youngest daughter would spend it on everything her 12-year-old heart desires (clothes, electronics, etc.). My oldest son would be smarter – college fund for his daughter, pay off his mortgage – but he would have plenty left over for “stuff.” Stuff is temporary. It breaks, rusts, get lost, gets stolen and goes out of style. Stuff won’t get you into Heaven. Stuff doesn’t go with you when you die. Stuff may make life nicer, but it doesn’t matter to God.
By now, you’ve probably guessed that I’m not a believer in the “God wants us all rollin’ in cash” Gospel. So you will completely understand why this image, which was the “Today’s Verse Illustrated” picture that came with my Bible Verse of the Day, went all over me as well as why the video (at the bottom of the post) got a thumbs up from me. I do not believe that “enriched in every way” is a promise, or even a hint, that we will have stacks of Benjamins laying around. I believe that being generous doesn’t always equate to writing a check. I don’t believe that, as ministry workers, we should give people that idea that God will bribe us in order to get us to accept the gift of eternal life that He gave us through His Son. “Oh yeah – God gave HIS ONLY SON a trip to the cross, but you are a different story. He wants to give YOU a winning lottery ticket!”