By Mallory Schlabach, Editor in Chief
Face the Facts
It seems I am missing a section of my Bible. You know, it’s the part where God says, ‘If you take up your checkbook and follow me, I will make you richer than you ever imagined.’ Or maybe it’s the verse, ‘If you don’t have what you want in life, ask God for it because he won’t deny you life’s perks if he loves you.’
After searching all afternoon Sunday, I couldn’t seem to find these verses that pastors at megachurches across the country are preaching to their congregations of 30,000 or more.
I’m talking about the idea of prosperity theology that leaders like Joel Osteen of Lakewood in Houston or T.D. Jakes of Potter’s House in Dallas preach Sunday mornings.
This idea of giving God money in order to be in his favor contradicts my view of God. I find this theology a distortion of the Gospel and an undermining approach to the life of Christ.
Growing up in church, I was taught the characteristics of God: that he is faithful, loving, merciful, just and compassionate. I was also taught God answers prayers, performs miracles, works through and in our lives and blesses the lives of his followers. No one ever told me God was Santa Claus’ brother, or that heaven had an ATM machine with the pin number: IWANT.
But unlike my childhood teachings of God, many are being told that all you have do is tell God you want something and he’ll give it to you.
In this week’s edition of TIME magazine, the featured article poses a question: ‘Does God want us to be rich?’
The two writers reflect on some of Osteen’s teachings that have led people from across the country to quit their jobs and move to Houston, simply because they believe Osteen will help them find their fortune.
Did I miss something? Osteen isn’t in charge of Texas’ lottery now, is he? How can he promise thousands of people that God will grant them every heart’s desire?
Don’t be caught up in our materialistic society to believe that God’s dream for us as humans is to have everything we want. Acquiring money beyond my wildest dreams would not make me any happier than I am today, saving pennies so I can buy groceries this month. I can promise wealth won’t make you any happier either.
In 1 Tim. 6, it says: ‘But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out if it. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires.”
Sure, having money might make life easier, offer you a comfortable life and even be a way to bless others. But don’t get caught up in the idea that money determines your own worth. You are a child of God and worth so much more than any dollar can bring.