Gospel of prosperity short-sighted, selfish
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It is focused on this life, and promotes the lie that "life consists of possessions" (Luke 12:15).
Jesus taught, however, that those who believe such a lie are fools (Luke 12:20). They, to use Jesus' words, "lay up treasures for themselves, but are not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21).
Jesus commands us to lay up our treasures in heaven because there they will never perish.
Those who obey Him in that regard are "rich toward God" (Luke 12:21) and will forever enjoy "true riches" (Luke 16:11) according to His promise.
When you think about it, Jesus was actually the greatest prosperity preacher of all time, but He defined wealth much differently than do most modern prosperity preachers.
I believe that Jesus will keep His Luke 6:38 promise for anyone who applies it, as He meant in context).
Take a look at the promises of blessing below. As you do, take note that the majority clearly apply only to those who give to the poor, to the chagrin of prosperity preachers and pastors who so often twist these scriptures as they are about to receive offerings for themselves.
If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks . . . You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. (Deut.15:7-8,10)
When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. (Deut.24:19)
How blessed is he who considers the helpless; the Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble. The Lord will protect him and keep him alive, and he shall be called blessed upon the earth; and do not give him over to the desire of his enemies. The Lord will sustain him upon his sick bed; in his illness, You restore him to health. (Ps.41:1-3)
And in reference to that last promise, how does one "Honour the Lord from one's wealth"? Proverbs 14:31 tells us:
He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honours Him. (Prov. 41:31)
There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered. (Prov.11:24-25).
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed. (Prov.19:17).
He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor (Prov.22:9)
He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses (Prov.28:27)
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry . . . And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, "Here I am".
And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, and you like a spring of water whose waters do not fail . (Ish 58:7-11).
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My House, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows" (Mal. 3:10)
In reference to that last promise, and contrary to what many pastors want their congregations to know, under the old covenant, tithes were not only given to the priests and
Levites, but also to aliens, orphans and widows. (Deut.14:28-29, 26:12-13).
And incidentally, the priests and Levites did not live at a higher standard than all the rest of people of Israel. When God spoke through Malachi in the above-quoted verses, it is likely that the priests and Levites were living at a lower standard than the average Israelite, putting them in the category of the poor, since the whole nation was withholding tithes. (Mal.3:8-9).
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully (2. Cor 9:6)
This final promise is also found in the context of two chapters that are all about giving to the poor.
In light of all these promises that for the most part apply only to those who give to the poor, it is incredible that rich preachers and pastors regularly receive offerings, of which no portion makes it to the poor, while promising God's blessing upon those who give. This common phenomenon is even more incredible when we consider the fact that the
Bible promises God's curse upon those who give to the rich and warns that no greedy person will enter God's kingdom. (1Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:5) Is there any greater example of the blind leading the blind?
Muparidzi Wilson Tika writes in his personal capacity. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org. Faith Talk is an interactive column where we encourage believers of different faiths, including church leaders and traditionalists, to contribute.
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