For the love of money Balaam desired to curse Israel in return for a handsome payment from Balak. But when God refused both for Balaam to curse Israel and therefore earn the treasure, Balaam later devised a deceptive plan to get Israel to disobey God and worship idols so that he could still earn his payment from Balak (Revelations 2:14; Numbers 22-23; 2 Peter 2:15-16).
For the love of money Elisha’s servant Gehazi lied and secretly obtained the payment which Elisha himself refused from Naaman after Naaman had been cured of his leprosy (2 Kings 5:1-27).
For the love of money Judas would not only occasionally steal from the treasury of Jesus’ ministry, but he also betrayed Christ because of money which was paid to him by the chief priests and elders (Matthew 26:47-50; Matthew 27:3-8).
So we notice just from these few examples that the love of money can cause people to do many strange and wicked things.
For example, in our present day, people around the world have been known to sell their souls to the devil in order to obtain fame and money. Some will sexually sell or prostitute their bodies – all for the love of money. Even to this day, many people are sold as modern-day slaves – all for the love of money.
People will kill for it. Some will die for it. Others will betray friends and family because of it.
Ironically, in many societies and economies, man-made poverty exists among many people because of the love of money. How? When the rich and powerful exploit the poor and the desperate in order to gain more material wealth. In the end the rich get richer and poor become poorer.
Furthermore, many cults and false teachers exist because of the love of money and therefore millions of people over many years have been deceived or spiritually abused because of it.
1 Timothy 6:10 says “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs”. [Emphasis Added]
In 2 Timothy 3:2 it says that in the last days people will be “lovers of money”.
The love of money breeds dishonesty, corruption, greed and a lack of integrity within the human heart. The love of money according to 1 Timothy 6:10 can create a craving that eventually leads to wickedness, deception and self-destruction.
In Psalms 37:16 it says “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked”.
What Did Jesus Teach About Money?
Throughout the ministry of Jesus Christ, it is certain that Jesus had a very consistent message and view when it came to the issue of money.
1. Jesus did not encourage the love nor the craving pursuit of money. For example Jesus said that we cannot love God and money (Matthew 6:24).
2. Jesus viewed money and earthly treasure as temporary and not a priority that is to be sought after. For example Jesus told us not to seek after treasure on earth where moth and rust destroy but rather to seek after heavenly pursuits (Matthew 6:19-21).
3. Jesus understood that money was a false god to many people. For example, the rich young man who claimed to follow all the commandments of God exposed himself as being idolatrous. He loved money more than Christ because he refused to let go of his wealth in order to follow Jesus (Matthew 19:16-22).
4. Jesus taught that life does not consist in the abundance of things or possessions (Luke 12:15).
5. Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Matthew 19:23-24).
Therefore we will notice that even Jesus’ views and teachings on the issue of money strongly differs with the false prosperity gospel doctrines or teachings of many false teachers.
According to 1 Timothy 6:10 the love of money has caused many people to wander from the true faith or from true, sound Biblical doctrine.
For example, the love of money within the church alone, has created many false gospels / doctrines such as the prosperity gospel, seed faith teachings and word of faith teachings which have led many people astray.
It is because of such wickedness and many more that Scripture tells us that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
How Can We Measure or Discern The Love of Money
Money itself is not evil. However according to 1 Timothy 6:10 it is the love or craving of it that opens doors to all kinds of evil. The love of money is measured by what we are willing to do for it. For example:
a) Are we willing to cheat, deceive or forsake godly and Biblical principles in pursuit of it?
b) Are we willing to sacrifice our integrity and relationships to obtain it?
c) Are we content with what we have or have we fallen into the trap of consistently craving for it?
d) Are we motivated by a spirit of greed and do we insatiably desire it even when it is not really necessary?
e) Do we feel self-confident and secure when we have it, as opposed to when we don’t have money?
f) Do I consistently compare my material and financial situation with others? And am I motivated by jealousy or covetousness to pursue money?
Money itself should only function as a worldly tool that is meant to serve us. We need it in order to transact for goods and services. However we should be careful to avoid falling into the trap or snare where we become slaves to it and we live in order to pursue it rather than to pursue the things of God. We must also not fall into the trap of believing the accumulation of money will satisfy our every human need and desire. Ecclesiastes 5:10 (ESV) says “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity”
Hebrews 13:5-6 (ESV) says that “we should keep ourselves away from the love of money because God will never leave us or forsake us”.
Ultimately it is God whom we must trust to provide for our needs. Philippians 4:19 says that God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Our true satisfaction in life is found in Jesus Christ through having a relationship with Him. Christ alone is our satisfaction and our true Source of all that is good for life.
No matter our current financial situation, we must look to God as our true and only Source for all that we need so that we may avoid the love of money.
What is the seed faith doctrine? The seed-faith teaching is part of the false prosperity gospel doctrine whereby followers are taught to “sow” or “seed” money to a prosperity preacher and then expect a “harvest” from God.
For example, the concept of the seed faith teaching is that if you “seed” $10 then you must trust God to give you back $100. Or if you “sow” $1000 then you must trust or expect God to give you a car, a new job or a “harvest” of money that is more than the amount you initially “seeded” to the ministry.
Therefore believers of the seed faith doctrine are taught that the more money you “seed” or give to a seed-faith preacher or his ministry – the more money or “blessings” that God will give you in return.
The seed faith teaching is widely taught around the world mostly within the charismatic movement or within prosperity gospel churches. This teaching has not only destroyed the spiritual lives of many people who have believed in this false doctrine – but this teaching has been one of the primary get-rich formulas and methods that has enriched many prosperity preachers around the world. The late Oral Roberts is one of the main people who was known to be one of the “fathers” and influential promoters of the seed-faith teaching.
Preachers of the seed-faith doctrine have twisted scriptures such as the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20) to support this false teaching.
When read and interpreted in its proper context, the Parable of the Sower does not refer to seed as being money – but the seed is actually the word of God (Mark 4:14) and NOT a “harvest” of money.
The different types of soil mentioned in the Parable of the Sower are the hearts of men and the harvest mentioned in the parable are the souls of people who have responded to God’s word and NOT money.
Therefore when prosperity preachers use the Parable of the Sower to support their seed-faith doctrine they are actually twisting the scriptures in order to manipulate and coerce people for their personal monetary gain.
Prosperity preachers have also twisted Matthew 17:20 where Jesus compares faith to a grain of mustard seed and that one’s faith can move mountains.
Again, when Matthew 17:20 is read in context, Jesus does not speak in relation to giving so-called “seed faith offerings” nor is Christ teaching that people will acquire a multiplied return of their money if they “seed” their money to a prosperity preacher.
Problems With The Seed-Faith Doctrine
2 Corinthians 11:4 ESV For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
The seed faith doctrine creates a false concept of God. The seed faith theology is a false teaching that twists the true meaning and context of scriptures so that it proclaims a different Jesus and a different gospel. This false teaching also manipulates people to give or “seed” money under the influence of a different spirit or an impure motivation.
Through this doctrine, God is falsely seen as one who can be bribed or manipulated by money. God is also falsely seen as one who is only motivated to act when He sees the “sacrifice” of “seed money”.
In fact, the god of the seed faith teaching is NOT the TRUE God of the Bible – but instead, the god of the seed faith doctrine is a different god – it is the god of mammon (money).
Matthew 6:24 NKJV “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
• The seed faith doctrine makes the prosperity preacher richer whilst making his followers poorer, desperate for wealth or anticipating the arrival of a false promise. 2 Peter 2:3 KJV says that false teachers will exploit you with false words because of greed and that “through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you”
• Preachers of the seed faith doctrine have gone as far as promising salvation and deliverance from curses and problems if followers “seed” their money to them or their ministries. The Bible however is clear that salvation or deliverance cannot be paid for by money. Salvation and deliverance is only through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross alone. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
• The seed faith theology encourages its followers to give so that they can get. Therefore the giving is motivated by selfish gain or a “what’s in it for me” attitude. The giving is done from an impure motive of personal covetousness and personal monetary gain.
• The seed faith doctrine manipulates and uses coercive techniques. Therefore followers are coerced into giving out of guilt and out of a spirit of legalism. Followers are made to feel guilty that their lack of “seeding” enough money is the reason for their problems in life. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”.
So according to 2 Corinthians 9:7 the teaching and attitude concerning Christian giving is that one should give cheerfully as each person has decided in his/her own heart and not under coercive or manipulative techniques.
• The seed-faith theology creates a false god who lacks sovereignty and who can be controlled based on the amount of money that you “sow”. The false god of the seed-faith doctrine is transactional and this god is motivated to act only through money that is “seeded”. Therefore without the “sacrifice” of money – the god of the seed-faith doctrine will not “bless” the giver.
• The seed faith doctrine energizes the flesh of man and undermines the dangers and warnings of desiring riches. 1 Timothy 6:8-10 says: “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 says that the love or craving of money causes people to “wander away from the faith” and that it pierces people with many pangs. The untold reality is that the seed-faith doctrine has destroyed many people’s lives around the world and it has negatively affected their faith in God entirely.
What Would Jesus Say About the Seed-Faith Doctrine?
Jesus did not ever ask for so-called “seed-offering” money from any person who needed His help. Unlike the seed-faith preachers, Jesus did not teach that God will materialistically or financially reward those who “seed” money into the pockets of prosperity preachers. Jesus did not ever teach that “seeding” money is a pre-requisite for experiencing God’s answer to prayer or God’s deliverance and salvation as many seed-faith preachers preach.
Jesus taught His disciples when He sent them to minister into various towns to not request payment from those they had helped. Jesus did not teach His disciples any seed-faith doctrine or that God responds depending on how much or how little we give money to a seed-faith preacher. Matthew 10:8,9 ESV – (Jesus speaking) “ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts,”
Acts 3:6-7 ESV – But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong”.
Often during Jesus’ ministry and as He taught His disciples, the people who had need of God’s help were often poor, broke, desperate, sick, helpless and hopeless.
Jesus did not also teach that if anyone has a physical or spiritual need, then one must give “seed” money or give a “seed offering” in order to activate God’s hand. God is not activated by money and nor does God choose “seed” money as being a means by which He makes decisions. God acts and responds out of His own sovereign will and NOT out of the will of man (Luke 22:42 and Matthew 6:10).
The seed-faith doctrine has misguided many people and given people a false perception of the true nature of God. Imagine if your young child told you that he wanted to “seed” to you $10 because she wants you to give her $1000 in the future. Surely, it would be a strange, manipulative parent-child relationship.
God does not require money in order to bless anyone. God is sovereign and He does and chooses to do whatever He desires within His perfect will. God cannot be bribed by “seed” money or by the manipulative techniques of the seed-faith doctrine. God cannot be controlled. The only “god” that can be bribed or controlled with money is a false god – the mammon god.
How To Give Correctly & Wisely
In the New Testament dispensation we are not under the ceremonial or sacrificial laws of the Old Testament but we are under grace. The death of Christ on the Cross and His resurrection ensures that we are not subjected to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament in relation to the types of offerings and sacrifices because Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice once and for all (Hebrews 10:1-18).
Therefore all giving of any kind must be done prayerfully and cheerfully and not under compulsion or guilt (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Our Christian giving must genuinely glorify God and be beneficial to the work of God without the expectation of a return but out of love and humility.
All giving must be done with God’s wisdom, discernment and understanding in order to avoid being conned, manipulated or coerced by false teachings and false teachers.
All giving must be done out of a pure and righteous motive.
Nov. 26Money IssuesComments Off on How to Survive A Bad Economy
When faced with a bad economy, we can be tempted to feel insecure and we can become unsure of what the future holds for us.
In a bad economy our job security; our lifestyle and our ability to save & invest are threatened.
Therefore here are a few ways in which Christians can respond when the economy is less than ideal
1. Spend Less Than You Earn
Do not over-spend and do not spend more money than you actually earn. Proverbs 21:20 – There is desirable treasure, And oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man squanders it.
2. Avoid Getting Into Debt
When the economy is bad, it’s a bad time to borrow a lot of money. However, if you feel that you must borrow – then borrow money that you know you can easily return. Proverbs 22:7 – The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender.
3. Don’t Be Lazy
If you’re struggling to find a job – then start a business. Turn your talents, your gifts & your skills into a project or a business that can earn you some income. Proverbs 18:16 – A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men. Proverbs 12:27 – The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession.
4. Save Some Money
Whether in a good economy or in a bad economy, it’s always important to save some money. Whilst it might be hard to save in an already difficult environment – saving is still an important discipline because your savings may help you when you most need them. Proverbs 6:6-8 – Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.
5. Trust in the Lord
Through any situation that we go in life, it’s important to walk by faith and not by sight. It’s therefore important to trust God and believe that in spite of the difficult environment, God still has plans to prosper us and not to harm us and that God will supply all our needs according to His riches. Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Jun. 06Money IssuesComments Off on How Can I Be Rich Toward God?
Luke 12:15-21 NKJV And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Most of the time we focus so much on how we can be rich for ourselves, that we do not stop and think about how we can be rich towards the Lord.
In Luke 12:15-21, Jesus tells us the parable of the Rich Fool who planned to build bigger barns and to store more crops for himself. However, God responds by ending the Rich Fool’s life because this man was not “rich toward God”.
How can a person be rich toward God? What does the phrase “rich toward God” mean?
The Rich Fool’s Problem
He already had enough wealth (vs 16), but he was motivated by greed (vs 18)
He thought that his security was in his accomplishments & in his wealth instead of God (vs 19)
He planned to be unproductive for the rest of his life by gratifying his fleshly desires (vs 19)
He did not realize that what he owned was only temporary wealth and of no use to him when he dies (vs 20)
He laid up treasure for himself and was not rich toward God (vs 21)
Should I Be Rich Toward Myself?
In life many motivational books exist in the book stores that teach us to think and grow rich; or to live our best life now; or how to be a millionaire. However, most of these type of motivational books focus on self-achievement rather than on achieving the perfect individual will of God for a person. Such books do not help a person to seek God but they encourage covetousness and greed and to presume that obtaining worldly wealth is a reflection of one’s spiritual maturity.
The world systems persuade us to live our lives by living towards the goal of enriching ourselves. Therefore the world wants us to lay up treasures for ourselves and be rich towards ourselves. However Romans 12:2 tells us that we should not be conformed to the standards or teachings of this world.
Luke 12:15 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
There is more to life than the pursuit of worldly wealth & possessions. Jesus tells us that our status in life or the quality of our life cannot be measured by our wealth or possessions. Our quality of life instead is measured only by God and how God Himself sees us.
How Can I Be Rich Toward God?
We are rich towards God when we do the opposite of what the Rich Fool was thinking
We are rich toward God when give our income / finance into the things of God such as giving our church offerings or donating our funds to God-centred ministries. We can also be rich towards God when we generally have an attitude of generosity towards the poor, friends or even loved ones. The Rich Fool planned to invest his money only on himself and he had no spiritual plans for his money.
We are rich toward God when we invest our time & energy into doing the work and will of God for our lives and for the edification of others. The Rich Fool only planned to retire and to spend the rest of his life eating, drinking and gratifying his fleshly desires instead of growing his relationship with God.
We are rich toward God when we use earthly riches to show how much we value God. God was not included in the Rich Man’s plans. The word “I” is mentioned 6 times by the Rich Fool to emphasize that the Rich Fool was conceited and that he only thought of himself.
We are rich toward God when we realize that our security is in God and that God Himself is our treasure and He is our riches. The Rich Fool thought that his security for the rest of his years would be found in his business investment. He was wrong. Only God is our security and without God we are not rich.
In your personal life, what are you seeking? Are you seeking the gift instead of the Giver? Are you seeking to be rich toward yourself or are you seeking to be rich toward God?
What does the prosperity gospel teach? This popular but false doctrine survives & grows by taking advantage of the financially desperate, the self-ambitious, the greedy, and the spiritually deceived with the promise that those who obey its subtle but twisted doctrines will one day amass material riches, material wealth and self-fulfilment in life.
However, even the scripture is clear that money does not satisfy and fulfillment cannot be found by the pursuit of money or wealth. (Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV – He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity) Another important note is that: just because the prosperity doctrine has been made popular by charismatic and influential prosperity preachers it does not mean that this doctrine is true and sound. The Bible is clear that many people will be deceived by many false prophets and that many people will not endure sound teaching. (Matthew 24:11 NKJV – Then MANY false prophets will rise up and deceive MANY.)
Matthew 6:24 (Jesus speaking) “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Since the prosperity preachers encourage that the pursuit of worldly wealth and riches on this earth is a good thing for every Christian to do – then why did the devil use the prospect of acquiring the same wealth & the same riches to tempt the Lord Jesus to worship him? The reason is even the devil knows that a man cannot serve both God and money and even the devil knows that the pursuit of money leads to all kinds of evil.
In 1 Timothy 6:5,9-11 Paul warned Timothy about such men like prosperity gospel preachers. Paul said that these men who were of “corrupt mind” supposed godliness was a means of (material) gain and their desire for riches was a trap that brought them “into ruin and destruction” (vs 9).
2 Timothy 4:3 ESV For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
The problem with the prosperity gospel is not only that it is heretic – but that this false gospel is so dangerous to the point that it can send deceived people straight to the fires of hell. What’s worse also is that prosperity preachers have twisted scriptures in the Bible to justify covetousness, greed, self ambition and the desire to pursue worldly riches instead of pursuing eternal blessings and eternal rewards.
Jesus said the following: Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:23-24 NKJV
The most important issues to learn about the prosperity gospel are the following: a) What is the prosperity gospel and what does the prosperity gospel really teach? b) Does the fact that the prosperity gospel is popular among millions of people and is preached by well-known charismatic & articulate preachers mean that the prosperity gospel is true? c) What are the dangers of believing and following the prosperity gospel? d) Who benefits from the prosperity gospel?
WHAT DOES THE FALSE PROSPERITY GOSPEL TEACH?
1) God Wants You To Be Rich Are you aware, that whenever Jesus brought up the issue of earthly money & riches, Jesus always spoke AGAINST the idea of people pursuing material wealth & earthly riches? He was against it so much that He warned His followers by saying “it is HARD for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23,24)
So does God want you to be rich? Does God desire that you seek after money & things? As you live on this earth, is God’s desire for you to seek after the expensive cars; to wear the best looking clothes and to live in an expensive posh house? Does having such type of material possessions and wealth reflect that God’s blessings are truly on you and that you have a RIGHT relationship with God?
The answer to the above questions is found in 1 Timothy 6:6-10 andPhilippians 4:11,12.
Philippians 4:11,12 ESV – Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
If God doesn’t want you to be rich, then does He want you to be poor? The truth is God wants you to be CONTENT in whatever situation you are in. 1 Timothy 6:6 says “godliness with CONTENTMENT is GREAT gain”. Therefore life is not about whether you are rich or whether you’re poor; or whether you have or whether you don’t have – “life does not consist in the abundance of things”(Luke 12:15)
What does God say about people who want to be rich? Here are a few out of MANY Bible verses where God speaks against people having a desire to pursue material riches.
Luke 12:15 NKJV – And He (Jesus) said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
Matthew 6:19-21 ESV – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
1 Timothy 6:6-10 NKJV – Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV – He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
From the scriptures above (and there are many other similar scriptures), it is clear that God does not promote the pursuit of material wealth or riches. God desires CONTENTMENT in whatever situation. Most of all, God desires that you seek His kingdom & His righteousness FIRST (Matthew 6:33). God knows the temptations and distractions that come with pursuing after material riches. He therefore discourages it because the pursuit of riches actually prevents us from pursuing God, and the more riches we have, the greedy we become because money does not satisfy.
2) “Seeding” Your Money Will Compel God to Reward You The popular term that prosperity preachers use whenever they want people’s money is the word “seed” or “seeding” / “sowing”. Therefore when a prosperity preacher asks you to “seed” or “sow”, he is really asking you to give either him or to give his church some money with a promise that the “seed money” will “harvest” a double blessing or a “reward” from God.
Matthew 7:7-11 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
Imagine you have a son. And your son told you that he was going to “seed” $10 to you as his father, because he wants you to one day buy him a car. Or imagine you have a daughter, and your daughter told you that she is “seeding” $20 to you because she will be expecting you to buy her a house. What kind of child-father relationship would this be? Is it not somehow a manipulative and strange relationship? Would you really want your own child to “seed” money to you so that you can do good things for your child? Would such a relationship be a GENUINE relationship?
Jesus did not teach any formulas for getting God to do something for us. Jesus did not teach that there is a get-rich formula for life. Jesus taught that if you wanted something from God, you should simply ASK – pray, believe and let God do the rest. Matthew 7:11 says how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ASK Him.
The problem is not with the concept of giving, but the problem is that we think God should respond because we “seeded” money.
The prosperity gospel has indoctrinated its followers that God responds to our giving of money to the church or to the preacher. For example, one might expect that if he “seeds” $100, he must expect God to give him a double portion of $200 or a possession he desires. Therefore should the concept of giving become a tool to force God to grant somebody personal prosperity? Would such motives be pure and good?
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 ESV – Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Whenever you read the gospels and study the ministry of Jesus & His apostles you will discover something very interesting about Jesus’ ministry and the ministry of His apostles that is very different from what you see from the prosperity churches and the prosperity preachers.
Jesus did not ever ask for so-called “seed” money from any person who needed His help. Unlike the false prosperity preachers, Jesus did not teach that God will materialistically reward those who “seed” money into the church or into the pockets of preachers. Jesus did not ever teach that “seeding” money is a pre-requisite for experiencing God’s answer to prayer or God’s deliverance.
Jesus even told His disciples when He sent them to minister into various towns to not request payment from those they had helped. Therefore the idea that “seed money” must be paid or given to get God to respond was never anything that Jesus taught. Matthew 10:8,9 ESV – (Jesus speaking) “ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts,”
Acts 3:6-7 ESV – But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong”.
Jesus did not also teach that if anyone has a physical or spiritual need, then one must give “seed” money in order to activate God’s hand. God is not activated by money. God acts and responds out of His own sovereign will and NOT out of the will of man (Luke 22:42 and Matthew 6:10).
Often during Jesus’ ministry and even His apostles, the people who had need of God’s help were often poor, broke, desperate, sick, helpless and hopeless. Yet Jesus never requested for their money as a “seed” that He might deliver them. Neither did Jesus ever teach his disciples that God would respond to people’s “seed” money for them to receive their breakthrough or their deliverance or more wealth.
3) Jesus Was Rich or Wealthy Was Jesus rich? Did He look rich and wear expensive clothes? The prosperity preachers would falsely like to have people believe that Jesus was wealthy whilst on earth. However, the truth is Jesus was not rich and wealthy during His earthly ministry as the prosperity preachers teach.
It was one of the reasons why such skeptics as the Pharisees were not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah. The reason is because even to the Pharisees, Jesus didn’t dress like a King; or move around with servants and an army like a king. Jesus was not the kind of King or Messiah that the materialistic Pharisees expected. On the outside, Jesus looked like any ordinary person.
Jesus told an interested follower that “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” (Luke 9:58).
Jesus and His disciples often relied on the hospitality of others during their ministry.
Jesus in humility took the form and life of a servant and not of a rich man when He came to earth (Philippians 2:6-8 ESV – Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross).
Mark 10:45 ESV – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus also encouraged His disciples to become like servants (Mark 10:43-44 ESV – But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.)
The life of a servant or slave of God is NOT to pursue after riches. The life of a servant of God is to serve and obey his Master.
Jesus did not go around the earth preaching a prosperity gospel or giving His disciples a get-rich formula for life. Jesus preached repentance and the need for man to have a right relationship with God (Matthew 4:17). Jesus came as a living example of how we should serve God and live a life that is pleasing to Him. Jesus also came that we may pursue the prize of eternal life through Him and not the temporary monetary riches of this earth.
4) The Bible or Jesus Spoke More About Money Than Any Other Topic Does the Bible speak more about money than any other topic? Several prosperity teachers have heretically claimed that God or Jesus or the Bible speaks more about money than any other topic. This claim is untrue and totally deceptive. The main message of God’s word is not about the accumulation of wealth and possessions. Material prosperity has never been at the heart of God’s concern in relation to man’s relationship with Him.
Therefore if material wealth & health is not at the top of God’s heart, then what has been God’s great desire concerning His creation?
2 Peter 3:9-10 ESV – The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Matthew 4:17 ESV – From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
John 5:39 ESV – (Jesus speaking) You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me,
John 3:16 ESV – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Matthew 28:19-20 ESV – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Contrary to the false teachings of prosperity teachers, the Bible was not inspired by God in order to supply man with a get-rich formula for life. God’s word exists because the entire Bible speaks & witnesses about Jesus (both in the Old & New Testament – John 5:39). The Bible also exists because it is necessary for every person to repent from sin and realize that salvation can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ whom God sent out of His love for the world.
It’s interesting to note, that when you study the life and teachings of Jesus, whenever the issue of money or possessions came up as a subject during His ministry – Jesus NEVER ENCOURAGED or MOTIVATED his followers to seek after MATERIAL or WORLDLY or TEMPORARY wealth and riches. In fact, Jesus ALWAYS encouraged His followers to seek after heavenly things and godliness rather than to seek after material or temporary wealth.
There are MANY scriptures in the Bible and in Jesus’ teachings where Jesus told His followers that the pursuit and the love of money and material wealth posed a great danger to their relationship with God and to their faith.
The kind of preaching about acquiring wealth or riches that is preached today – or the “prosperity gospel” as it is sometimes called – where the pursuit of material wealth is emphasized over the pursuit of true godliness is very flawed and at most unbiblical whenever the prosperity gospel teachings are put under the correct scrutiny of God’s word and teachings.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The word of God warns us that the desire to be rich or the love and pursuit of material wealth can lead to many snares and temptations which may end up leading people astray and away from true faith in God.
It is important to understand that money in itself is not evil, but the love of money and the love of material possessions can lead to all kinds of evil.
Below are various Biblical reasons as to what the dangers and snares are, when a person pursues after riches:
THE DANGERS OF LOVING MONEY & DESIRING RICHES
(1) THE LOVE OF MONEY LEADS TO ALL KINDS OF EVIL – (1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil …)
The love of money can be so powerful that people will practice witchcraft & voodoo in order to obtain wealth; some will kill for money; some will marry for money; some will sell their bodies sexually for money; some will sell their souls for money; some will exploit the weak and the desperate for money; some will even deny Christ and speak heresy for money;
Judas betrayed Jesus and was rewarded for his betrayal with money.
According to scripture, there are no limits to the kind of evil that people can do if the love of money is present because “the love of money a root of ALL kinds of evil”. Therefore money is not something that a person should love or lust for. The reason is that when we love money, we open ourselves to ALL kinds of temptations and wickedness.
(2) THE PURSUIT OF RICHES LEADS TO GREED – (1 Timothy 6:6-10 – Now godliness with contentment is great gain… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness …)
Problems can always arise when we do not live in contentment. When we are not content with what God has given us at a particular time, we then become governed by our flesh. And when we are governed by the flesh and not by God, we then succumb to fleshly characteristics such as greed, where we want more than we actually need. Greediness becomes the motivating factor by which we pursue after material wealth and riches and greed is an ungodly and forbidden characteristic. (Read: Biblical Prosperity (Part 2) – The Rich Fool) to learn more about the dangers of greed.
(3) RICHES CAN PREVENT YOU FROM LIVING GENUINELY FOR GOD – (Matthew 19:21-24 – Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”)
Do you own your possessions? Or do your possessions own you? Would you put God FIRST in all areas of your life and follow Christ as your NUMBER ONE priority instead of pursuing after material wealth and riches? In Matthew 6:33 Jesus is very clear about what we should seek FIRST in our lives (Matthew 6:33 – But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you). Therefore above every personal desire and need, God wants us to FIRST seek His kingdom AND His RIGHTEOUSNESS. The problem with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-23 is that this rich man valued his personal wealth and possessions as being of more importance than following Jesus. The rich man may have initially claimed to have followed God’s commandments and he may have had knowledge of the scriptures, but the TRUE nature of his heart was revealed when Jesus told him to sell his possessions and follow Him. The rich man’s heart was with his possessions and not with God. He loved his possessions and wealth more than he loved God. As a result his riches prevented him from GENUINELY following the Lord.
(4) THE LOVE OF MONEY IS IDOLATRY – (Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.)
Mammon is personified as a false god of riches & money. Mammon as a false god attempts to substitute God’s role of provision in a person’s life. Therefore instead of man looking to God for his provisions, man looks to mammon for provisions. This is why Jesus clearly has a problem with people’s love for money. If our love and loyalty is to the pursuit of money, then it means that our relationship with God is automatically compromised. However, if our loyalty and love is with God then the issue of money no longer becomes important in our lives. According to Jesus, we CANNOT serve BOTH money and God at the same time. God equates the love of money and our loyalty to money to be equal to loving and serving a false god.
(5) THE PURSUIT OF RICHES TAKES YOUR FOCUS OFF THE REAL PRIZE – (Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”).
Jesus emphasizes that the pursuit of heavenly treasures is more important than the pursuit of temporary wealth and riches. In 1 Timothy 6:7 we are reminded that when we were born we brought nothing into this world. Therefore when we die we will not take any material possession or money with us. The love of money can deceive us into believing that we will keep our material possessions and money forever. However the true treasure and rewards we must seek after are the treasures in heaven. These treasures that Jesus mentions await us when we have a genuine personal relationship with God and when we live a life of genuine service and obedience to God and His word.
(6) THE LOVE OF POSSESSIONS & MONEY LEAD TO SELF-DECEPTION & COVETOUSNESS – (Luke 12:15 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”)
Another danger concerning the love of money is that it can deceive people into believing that their success in life is measured by how much money they make. However Jesus teaches that our success or life is not measured by the abundance of our money or possessions. Even our spiritual maturity or relationship with God can never be measured by the size of our bank accounts or by the amount of possessions that we own. For example, in the Bible, Joseph was a slave of his Egyptian master, but even though Joseph was a slave, the word of God referred to Joseph as being a successful or prosperous man (Genesis 39:2,3 – And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand). Read also Biblical Prosperity (Part 1) – The Study of Joseph
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Money is a mere tool. God wants us to pursue Him above ALL things – including money. God wants us to put Him FIRST and He wants us to rely on Him to provide for our EVERY need. Money does not satisfy (Ecclesiastes 5:10). However God only can satisfy us. Therefore, whatever provisions we need, we must rely on the Lord to supply according to HIS riches and not according to yours.
Aug. 06Money IssuesComments Off on Biblical Prosperity (Part 2) – The Rich Fool
Our culture and society has trained us to want more, to strive for more and to have more. To the world, your success and prosperity is measured by the quantity of what you have; Therefore worldly thinking measures you and your prosperity by the quantity of your possessions, the quantity of your salary and perks, the quantity of your clothes, the quantity of your degrees and the like. In our culture and society – the more you have, the more respect you will get, the more you move up the ladder in terms of your social status, the more influence or power you have and the more you can supposedly accomplish in life.
Therefore a person has got to work for more money, have more cars, have more houses, have more clothes and the like. At times people will try to achieve more of these things at the cost of disadvantaging others in the process.
However, can having money, riches, possessions and power be enough to satisfy a person? Does material wealth and financial riches bring personal satisfaction and do they give a person a true feeling of accomplishment – or do they continue to motivate a person to have an insatiable desire for more and more of these things.
Luke 12:15-21 NKJV And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
7 MISTAKES OF THE RICH FOOL
The Rich Fool who built a bigger barn in Jesus’ parable made a lot of mistakes. The Rich Fools mistakes are very common and very relevant in today’s culture and society where the desire for more riches, more power, more possessions lead people to sin against the Lord because of greed.
The Rich Fool was blinded not only by his riches, but he was also blinded by his greed or his desire to have more.
The Rich Fool’s mistake was that (1) He measured his success by the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15 – And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”) (2) He was overtaken by greed. He already had plentiful but he wanted more. (Luke 12:16-18 – Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully…) (3) He was not content with what he had. He had more than enough and yet he wanted even more, therefore he built a bigger barn (Luke 12:17-18 – And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.) (4) He was boastful in himself, in his achievements and about what he owned. He trusted that his possessions would give him security for the rest of his life.( Luke 12:19 – And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”) (5) He wanted to satisfy his flesh. The fact that he was so rich and had built a bigger barn, he thought that this gave him the opportunity to no longer work but instead spend the rest of his life on indulging his fleshly pleasures .( Luke 12:19 – And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”) (6) He did not realize that all the possessions he owned were just temporary assets. He forgot that he could die at any time and not have a chance to enjoy his possessions and wealth. (Luke 12:20 – But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’) (7) He was self-serving and self-centred. He was not rich towards God and he did not focus on doing deeds that would earn him heavenly rewards. (Luke 12:21 – “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” )
Ecclesiastes 5:10 ESV He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
(According to www.vocabulary.com) – Greed is an overwhelming urge to have more of something, usually more than you really need. Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves. Greed is often connected with money, a desire to acquire as much of it as possible, but it can refer to that kind of urge toward anything, like food or material possessions. When you see greed, it’s an ugly thing, whether you’re observing a greedy person or the greed of a huge company that treats its workers badly in order to make more money. Greed comes from the Old English grædig, or “voracious”, which means “always hungry for more.”
The truth is money, riches, possessions do not satisfy. Only God is able to satisfy. The Rich Fool was motivated by greed or a lust for more.
In today’s society we want more than enough. The world is not content with having enough.
1 Timothy 6:6-10 NKJV Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Whenever we are tempted with greed, let us remember that the very possessions we work so hard to achieve can disappear within seconds. We can leave this earth at any time and leave the very possessions that we coveted.
It is better for us to put more effort in doing the will of the Lord and focusing on being rich towards God through obeying Him and serving Him. When we do this, we will acquire treasures in Heaven.
Greed is an overwhelming urge to have more of something, usually more than you really need.
Greed is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves. Greed is often connected with money, a desire to acquire as much of it as possible, but it can refer to that kind of urge toward anything, like food or material possessions.
Below are some bible verses on greed.
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ ”
A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
1 Corinthians 6:10
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Peter 5:2
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
2 Peter 2:3
In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
2 Peter 2:14
With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed-an accursed brood!
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways.
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,
Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
1 Corinthians 5:10
not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies;
By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.
My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.
How do you measure success? Does God view prosperity in the same way in which the world defines prosperity? Should the church or Christians define prosperity in the same way that non-Christians define prosperity?
Should prosperity or success be defined according to the assets you have, your social status, the size of your bank account or even the power you have? For example, can a person who owns a vehicle and a house be defined as being more prosperous than a person who doesn’t own these things? Even within the church setting – can a person who owns more possessions and has more money be defined as being more spiritual and more Christ-like than a person who owns less possessions and money?
Genesis 39:2-3 KJV And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
The New King James Version translates the word prosperous as “successful.”
When we look at part of the life of Joseph, we get a picture of what Biblical prosperity is like – because the word of God identifies Joseph as being a prosperous man and that all that he did prospered.
Yet from a natural or worldly view point – Joseph could hardly have been classified as being successful, but yet God’s word clearly says that he was a “prosperous man”.
Joseph in the natural or worldly viewpoint was the following: (A). A slave of a powerful, influential and wealthy man by the name of Potiphar. Therefore if Joseph being the slave and Potiphar being Joseph’s wealthy master – how could Joseph the slave be the prosperous man and not Potiphar? Why isn’t Potiphar, being the one with all the assets and wealth classified by the word of God as being prosperous? (B). As a slave, Joseph did not own any assets or material possessions. He owned nothing to his name. As a slave, not only did Joseph not own assets, but it is most certain that he was not entitled to any sort of pay or remuneration for any work that he did. However, it is interesting that at this particular time in his life, God called Joseph a “successful” or “prosperous man”. Why? (C). Joseph was purchased by Potiphar as if he were an animal or an object. Therefore in the eyes of society and the world, Joseph was insignificant and had no social status because he was a slave. Society obviously had no regard for his human dignity or human rights – yet even with such a low social status, God STILL called Joseph a “prosperous man” or “successful man”. (D). Joseph’s own brothers had attempted to kill him but then later decided to sell him to the Ishmaelites (Genesis 37:12-36). Therefore most of his immediate family members did not like him and did not want anything to do with him. Yet after going through such a traumatic experience, and being sold into slavery by his brothers, at some point in his life Joseph was seen as being a successful or prosperous man.
What is Biblical Prosperity?
The answer to why Joseph was successful and prosperous is found in the first 5 words of Genesis 39:2 “And the Lord was with Joseph…”
(1)BIBLICAL PROSPERITY IS NOT MEASURED BY THE ACCUMULATION OF ASSETS – (Luke 12:15 – And Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
In our natural or worldly thinking we equate being prosperous with the measure of assets that we own, eg. Cars, houses, furniture, clothes, land and the like. Therefore worldly philosophy & thinking teaches us that our possessions define us and who we are. However, Christ-like / Biblical thinking shows that our possessions should not define us nor should our possessions define the quality of our life.
Joseph didn’t own assets, but the reason God’s word says that he was prosperous or successful, is because God was with him, and God guided his every direction even as a slave. Therefore God Himself defined Joseph’s prosperity and not the ownership of assets. Joseph clearly lived an obedient life towards God and he enjoyed a close fellowship with the Lord. Joseph did not allow his slavery to define him, but rather it was his close relationship and obedience to the Lord that defined him. Joseph also did not allow the fact that he did not own any assets to define him, but rather it was his close relationship with God that defined him.
In Luke 12:15, Jesus advises us that the quality of our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions. The thing about possessions, is that they come-and-go. Possessions are temporary. When we die, we will leave our cars, our houses, our clothes and the like. But the things of God are everlasting. And God’s judgment will not be based upon what we owned on earth, but His judgment will be based on whether we were obedient and faithful to Him and His word. (Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.)
(2) BIBLICAL PROSPERITY IS NOT MEASURED BY YOUR SOCIAL STATUS / POSITION – (Genesis 39:5 – So it was, from the time that he (Potiphar) had made him (Joseph) overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field.)
Joseph may have been the slave that owned nothing – but God blessed Potiphar’s house because of Joseph’s presence in that house. Joseph above all, was a faithful servant of the God Most High and whatever Joseph did, it pleased God. Therefore Joseph’s social status as a slave did not bring influence & blessing in Potiphar’s house – but it was Joseph’s close relationship with God that brought influence and prosperity to Potiphar’s house. So without Joseph, God would not have blessed Potiphar’s house.
In contrast, Potiphar could not draw to his home the blessing of God even though he was a powerful and influential person. Potiphar obviously did not have a relationship with God but God was not attracted to Potiphar’s social position so that He might bless him. Potiphar may have had assets; he may have had the adoration of society and he may have had influence and be revered by men – however, he did not have the blessings of God on him. (Mark 8:36-37 – For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?)
(3) BIBLICAL PROSPERITY IS NOT MEASURED BY YOUR MONEY & RICHES – (Matthew 19:21-22 – Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions).
The Bible says that the young rich man had “great possessions”. So from a worldly viewpoint this rich man was successful or prosperous; From a worldly viewpoint this rich man was invested for life because it is most likely that his “great possessions” would take care of him so that he probably wouldn’t have to work another day in his life; From a worldly viewpoint the rich man’s “great possessions” gave him security. The rich young man was also a religious person who knew and claimed to follow various scriptures (Matthew 29:20). However, when it came to choosing between following Jesus and remaining with his great possessions, the young rich man preferred to remain with his possessions than to be with the Lord. Without his great possessions, the rich man felt insecure and probably thought that he would have more to lose if he sold his possessions and followed Jesus than if he kept his great possessions. The problem with the rich man was not that he had great possessions – but the problem with the rich man was that his great possessions were a hindrance from him having close fellowship with the Lord. He was unwilling to give up his possessions because he thought his possessions to be of more value than for him to follow and have fellowship with God. His possessions owned him.
In contrast Joseph did not own any possessions as a slave, but yet Joseph was an obedient
servant of God who was viewed by God as being both successful and prosperous (Genesis 39:2-3 KJV). Therefore we see that having riches and great possessions are not always a sign of Biblical prosperity because Biblical prosperity is not defined by material wealth alone, but it is mainly defined by whether or not a person has a genuine & obedient relationship with the Lord. Our security in life is not determined by the material possessions that we accumulate – but our security in life is determined by our relationship with God and who we are in Christ Jesus. Even though the rich man was told by Jesus to sell his material possessions, Jesus assured him that he would not be left with nothing. Jesus assured the rich man that by following Him, he would “have treasure in Heaven” (Matthew 29:22)
(4) BIBLICAL PROSPERITY IS WHEN YOU HAVE FAVOUR WITH GOD AND MAN – (Genesis 39:3-4 – And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority).
Like Joseph, it is possible to be prosperous and successful simply because God’s favour is upon you in everything that you do. It is not always about what material and monetary possessions you acquire. It is the Lord who makes people to prosper and it is the Lord who makes the little and the big deeds that we do to prosper. If the Lord is a participant in whatever we do and if we yield to God’s direction, then prosperity and success is certain. Joseph’s work and service did not acquire him material possessions and wealth, but rather whatever Joseph did, it acquired the favour of God and whatever Joseph did and experienced, it was all being orchestrated by the hand of God. Joseph’s work and service even made a heathen like Potiphar to notice something very special about Joseph. Potiphar noticed that God was with Joseph and Joseph even found favour in the eyes of Potiphar. Therefore according to Genesis 39:3, God made ALL that Joseph did to prosper in his hand. Therefore, Joseph may have owned nothing, but it did not stop him from prospering even though he did not own any material possessions. Joseph’s prosperity and success was driven by God’s favour. Jesus Himself was not concerned with acquiring material wealth and possessions whilst on earth, because His prosperity and success was not defined according to worldly standards, but according to the work and favour of God (Luke 2:52 – And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men).
(5) BIBLICAL PROSPERITY IS WHEN YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST & THE PRIVILEDGES THAT COME WITH BEING A CHILD OF GOD – (Philippians 3:20 – For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ)
The reason why Jesus tells us to store our treasures in Heaven where moth and rust do not destroy (Matthew 6:19-21) is because as children of God, we are ultimately citizens of Heaven. Therefore, while we are on earth, it makes more sense to do deeds that will store for us treasure in Heaven rather than earth. We are on the earth temporarily, and as Christians we are not of this world even though we (temporarily) live in it. It therefore does not make sense for us to simply focus most of our earthly lives trying to accumulate temporary possessions when we should be focusing on accumulating treasure in Heaven where we will be for eternal life.
It is therefore really important that we understand who we are in Christ and what it means. To know more about who you are in Christ click here : Bible Verses on Who You Are In Christ Jesus
(6) BIBLICAL PROSPERITY IS BEING CONTENT WITH WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU AT A GIVEN TIME – (1 Timothy 6:6-10 – Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows).
CONCLUSION OF BIBLICAL PROSPERITY – PART 1
Should we then say that people should not desire to look for better work salaries; or desire to live in a better house; or desire to buy a beautiful car? Of course not. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a better life. However, what we should ensure is that the desire for riches and possessions do not hinder our relationship with God because the moment we desire riches and possessions more than God, we end up becoming like the rich young ruler who chose his great possessions over following Jesus. Our role as Christians is not about living so that we can accumulate possessions, but our role as Christians is to make disciples of all nations and to give glory to God.
God’s plans for our lives are never of poverty – but he has great plans for us that are meant to glorify Him.
Exodus 16:4 NKJV Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
Do you trust God to provide your needs? Do you doubt that God will do for you what He has promised in His word? Do you wonder why it is that you just don’t seem to have an abundance of possessions?
We live in economic uncertainty. Unemployment is high, salaries are low, you can’t even save some money, it’s difficult to budget and you can’t purchase what you want, whenever you want it.
In Exodus 16, we learn that the Israelites became hungry in the wilderness and they began to complain to Moses for food. God decided to meet their need for food in the wilderness. However God decided to test their obedience to His word. God wanted to see if the children of Israel would trust Him enough to obey His instructions and God did so by instructing the Israelites to gather a quota of the food He would provide daily. They were not to gather more than they needed for the day nor to keep some for the following morning or else the food would become bad and inedible.
However some of the Israelites did not trust God’s word that He will supply them daily with bread from Heaven and so they would try to gather more than what they needed. Exodus 16:19-20 – And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.
Some of the Israelites did not trust that God would provide as He had promised. They felt that God might come short on His promise and therefore they felt that they had to disobey Him and take matters into their own hands. The problem with taking matters into your own hands is that things can go horribly bad and fail.
God wants you to trust Him and to trust Him that He will provide for your needs.
If you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck and being unable to have an abundance of money and possessions, my advice is – don’t worry – keep on trusting God – the Lord might be testing you just like He tested the children of Israel in Exodus 16:4.
God could have supplied the Israelites with a whole years’ supply of food in a single moment. But God preferred to supply them with food on a daily basis.
With God, it’s more about testing and developing your character. God wanted the Israelites to know Him and know that God is their Provider. God wanted the Israelites to learn to love and trust Him for all their needs rather than complaining and relying on their own strength and understanding. God wanted them to learn to obey Him.
God will supply your need. Just trust, obey and learn from Him.
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Bible Verse of the Day
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.