Prosperity Gospel

"I [Jesus] have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble [tribulation]. But take heart! I have overcome the world."1

A Daily Encounter reader from a much poorer country than North America asks, "Can you please write a message on prosperity teachings. [Some American preachers]...say it is a sin to be poor and when you are prosperous (have money) you are blessed."

Amazing isn't it?

If God has gifted me to be a good businessman and to make money, and I can do that honestly, then I'd say it would be my responsibility to make money ... not for personal indulgences but so I would be able to give generously in supporting the Lord's work on earth.

I for one, however, don't have that gift or that calling. Neither am I a gifted fundraiser, so financing God's work for me has always been a challenge and probably will be until the day I retire or die ... whichever comes first!

However, to some degree I have been gifted with an ability to communicate. Thus it is my responsibility to be trained in this area and communicate God's truth and the gospel to the best of my ability. Not to do so would be a sin for me as the Bible says, "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."2

To claim that everybody is gifted to make money or to communicate effectively is not true—and, if claiming this to be true, could lead many to doubt God's blessing on their life. The same goes for those who are led to believe that it is God's will for every Christian to be financially prosperous.

Think of Jesus, for example. Was he prosperous? Not at all. Were the twelve disciples prosperous? Matthew, the tax collector, may have been at one time but through questionable methods. Peter and the other fishermen and disciples probably made just enough to make ends meet. True, Moses came from a well-to-do background, having grown up in Pharaoh's household, but he gave it all up to serve God and lead the people of Israel.

If, however, prosperity is God's will for everyone, then let's take this message to the poverty-stricken parts of the world where untold thousands of people are dying of malnutrition.

For the rest of us less prosperous ordinary folks, let's do the best we can with the gifts God has given to us to help make our world a better place in which to live.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please grant that I will always be a messenger of truth and never be misled by false promises from false prophets who claim to be speaking in the name of the Lord. If ever I teach a false message, please reveal that to me so it can be corrected immediately. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name. Amen."

1. John 16:33 (NIV).
2. James 4:17 (NIV).