We don’t hear the words “Prosperity Gospel” much anymore, but the idea is still with us.
You might have heard the story of the pastor in Kansas City, who recently berated his congregation because they didn’t buy him an expensive watch. He asked in November, and he still didn’t have the watch by the following summer.
One of his statements was like, “So I’m not worth your McDonald’s money?”
He specifically asked for a Movado watch.
I don’t operate at that economic level, and I had to read more to get the picture. A Movado is a very expensive watch. As a minister of the Gospel, the pastor believed he was entitled to some bling.
Prosperity is a good thing, for God’s people.
These days, there is always a person with a camera that can record videos. That’s not even a luxury anymore. The pastor’s lecture was recorded, and it went viral on the internet. He also apologized, a few days later. This is a lesson for us all; we can’t get away with anything:
This story will generate ‘straw man’ criticism.
In history, a straw man, a kind of scarecrow, was made to represent people and ideas that were not popular. The straw dummy was abused and maybe burned, instead of the real people. This was a way of saying ‘Oh they’re all like that!’ instead of talking to some actual people and criticizing them fairly.
We all know what this is like.
I am a Christian, and I am waiting for critics to laugh at me, and say ‘Oh you’re all like that.’ That is coming, even though the pastor has apologized. He probably didn’t get the watch, either.
So, when the critics start beating the straw man, how correct will they be?
Do we believe that the church, and God, will make us rich?
Can we claim our inheritance?
A Movado watch is off target, but yes, prosperity is normal for Christians.
We have these words:
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6: 31 to 33)
We are also told not to work for our employers, really: “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Ephesians 6: 7). That attitude will translate into greater respect for our human bosses.
Imagine a group of honest people who work hard, for God. Also, imagine that they believe God will give them everything they need. And what if that happens? What if the resources were already built into this world before they were born?
It’s called the “Puritan Work Ethic” and sociologists know it will create prosperity. If you want to know more, search for information about sociologists like Max Weber, and for the “Puritan” or “Protestant Work Ethic.”
We know where prosperity comes from.
Resources are available, in this world that God made for us. Birds, that diligently hunt for food for their babies in the nest, will find what they require. Those baby birds will grow up and fly away, someday.
Poor people can prosper; some prosperity is built into this world.
So, do you get a Movado if you follow Jesus?
If it’s important, budget for it.
For sincere Christians, prosperity will come, but it might take several generations to arrive. Our success today is built on the hard work, and honesty, of older generations. It is easy to find places where a healthy economy was never constructed. People in those places have to catch up to the rest of the world.
There are some Christian leaders who want to rescue the Prosperity in the Gospel, desperate poverty is not a permanent condition for good people: