The Prosperity Gospel

March 27, 2023
The Prosperity Gospel

“Then someone called from the crowd, ‘Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.’ Jesus replied, ‘Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?’ Then He said, ‘Beward! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.’ Then He told them a story: ‘A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, ‘My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ ‘Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.’” (Luke 12:13-21)

DAILY DEVOTION

To live a contented life, we must understand that our contentment doesn’t come to us from our riches, but from the Lord. This understanding is sometimes lost on some people, however, because they have embraced teachings that are based in the pursuit of money instead of in the pursuit of the Lord. Unfortunately, there are even false teachings about money in “Christian” circles. One of those false teachings is called the Prosperity Gospel. This is the philosophy that “we give so we can get rich” and that “we shouldn’t be content until we become rich.”

First, the prosperity gospel goes against our main scripture for today. The Apostle Paul writes that “True godliness with contentment is great wealth.” (1 Timothy 6:6) In this verse, Paul is focusing on godliness partnered with contentment. He states that it is equivalent to great wealth, not that it brings great wealth.

Second, there is a serious dichotomy between the teachings of the prosperity gospel and the fact that Jesus wasn’t wealthy. When He walked as a man, Jesus said, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.” (Luke 9:58) We read in Mark that “Jesus said, ‘This is how you should pray: Father, may Your name be kept holy. May Your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need…’” (Mark 11:2-3) In fact, this is one of the things that endears Jesus to people - He gave up His home in eternal heaven to come and live among us as one who was virtually homeless. If the prosperity gospel were true, Jesus would have lived in luxury throughout His life.

Finally, the prosperity gospel is based on selfishness, Matt Chandler writes that when we fall prey to selfishness that “we carry an insidious prosperity gospel around in our dark, little, entitled hearts. We come to the throne and say, ‘I’ll do this, and you’ll do that. And if I do this for you, then you’ll do that for me.’” Jesus once said, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” (Matthew 6:24)

In the end, it’s always better to choose a strong relationship with the Lord instead of riches. If you are able to do this, you are very close to finding contentment.

FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY

Take time to analyze your prayer life. Do you spend more time praying for yourself or praying for others? How much of what you pray for is connected to you receiving some type of financial blessing from the Lord? How much time do you spend thanking God for all He has done for you? As you pray today, plan to spend more time focusing on the Lord, on His will or glory and on the needs of others rather than your own personal desires. If you’re leading your family through this devotion time, have a discussion with them about the true nature of their prayers. Are they more self focused, others focused, or God focused?

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, thank You for loving me. Thank You for giving me all that I need. Help me to be more focused on You than on the blessings I hope to receive from You. In the name of Jesus, Amen. 

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