We can all agree that Jesus was humble, loving, patient, and charitable with those he met as described in the bible. But what values did he want us to have?
We can sum it up in Luke 10:27
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
These are fairly straight forward commands, but let’s try to apply it to some of the current “ministries” out there that advocate receiving gifts rather than giving them.
I will take the next few weeks to go over the various “ministries” that I have run across and impart my opinion with some biblical references.
Part 1: The Prosperity Gospel
This philosophy says that we as Christians are meant to be rich and wealthy while here on earth. All we need to do is believe that it is so and give money “seed” to our prosperity preachers so that we can receive our 10, 100, 1000 fold return.
What did Jesus say about this idea?
In Matthew 19:16-22, Jesus counsels a rich young ruler about how to receive eternal life. The man says that he has kept all of the commandments all of his life. Jesus then instructs him to go and sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor. Then come and follow him. The man goes away in sorrow because he cannot bring himself to do this.
What do you think the lesson of this story is? Is it that we should have no possessions as Christians? No, this is about having something that comes before God in your life. God gives us our possessions and also takes them away. We are to be faithful and praise him whichever way our life goes.
So how do you think that Jesus would address the prosperity gospel preachers? Would he praise them for raising so much money and increasing their comfort and living conditions? Or would he chastise them for stealing money from the poor and misleading them away from the good news he brought to us?