Friday, July 11, 2008

Apostolic Health & Wealth?!

I don't know about you, but growing up in church, it was a common thought that believers who subscribed to a "prosperity gospel" were in left field. As if Jesus' preference was that His followers be poor and sickly. But if that be the case, it's interesting what the apostle John writes to his friend Gaius in his third letter. He said, "I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers." (3 John 2 - and that's in the NASB in case you were wondering) Notice that John the apostle, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit I might add, said "in ALL respects" I pray that you would prosper (and where I'm from "all" usually means "all"). It's like he says, "My friend, I know your soul is prospering and I'm pumped about that. But let's not stop there. Let's go for the whole shebang! I'm praying that God would bless your socks off in all ways." To which many of us would say, "How dare you John! Since when have you become one of those health and wealth preachers?!"

Don't get me wrong. It's not as if I'll be stopping by the Hummer lot this afternoon or be sporting a Rolex on Sunday, but I'm done with the lie that the only thing Jesus cares about and desires to prosper is my soul. God is renewing my mind and I couldn't be happier. In the name of Jesus I'll gladly receive prosperity in every form and immediately turn it to praise and thanksgiving!

As for you, I pray that in ALL respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers!

3 comments:

Junior Waterbury said...

I don't believe that "Jesus'
preference was that His followers be poor and sickly." The "prosperity gospel" teaches that more faithful you are to God the more "stuff" God will give you and the better your health will be.

Paul's was known to have some sort of health problem (the thorn in his side) that God did not take away from him...Does that mean he wasn't doing enough to earn the fix? I don't believe that.

I do believe God blesses us, and I pray for Him to "bless our (the church) socks off" too, but I don't think that He is sitting up there counting off "works" points to see who deserves more "stuff."

Mike said...

I think it's great that we can all prosper, but I also would hope those who prosper so much they are considered wealthy realize what a gift it is to use that wealth to help others prosper as well. We see too much "me, me, me!" and not I am doing well, what can I do for someone else - in my opinion.

Angelique said...

I don't believe there's a single thing wrong with prosperity, nor do I believe God wants any of His people to be "poor or sickly" But from listening to many "prosperity gospel" messages they seem to relate prosperity to something WE do, therefore seeming to say if WE just work hard enough, believe hard enough, we'll be healthly and wealthy, "victors not victims" Sometimes all the prayer in the world makes one neither wealthy (monotary) nor heals their sickness, leaving believers questioning God, in my opionion.
Maybe we aren't talking about the same "prosperity gospel" but the sermons I've heard on the subject leave me feeling like if I'm not blessed with prosperity(health/wealth)"I" didn't "work" hard enough. In that case poor, homeless, victimized, murdered Jesus would be a terrible example to follow.
Hopefully the "prosperity gospel" you are describing is one of humbling accepting God's blessing no matter it's size, or magnatude, understanding it came from not "work" on our part but a faithful devotion to Christ.