This weekend my college went on a three day trip to St.Louis to experience various forms of Christianity and other religious institutions. It was full of new experiences and painfully uncomfortable moments. But nothing felt more foreign to me than one specific church who preached what I would like to call: The Prosperity Gospel.
Which honestly, is no real Gospel at all.
In essence, the Prosperity Gospel would say something similar to the following, ” Following Jesus and tithing my 10% will make me rich.” This is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard.
To put it bluntly, they are pimping out God.
“Give to God and he will bless you with a surplus.” Surplus does not necessarily mean money! By giving we are blessed, but that doesn’t always mean in a financial way. Could it be financially, sure. But it is entirely dangerous to give primarily with the motivation of the hopes that God will give you more for yourself. See, in my eyes, the surplus is not money or any material possession. The surplus is God himself!!
God always gives God.
And He is always the greatest gift.
No, Jesus doesn’t make you materially rich. But He makes you spiritually rich. He doesn’t promise you possessions, He promises to make you clean. He doesn’t promise you a huge house, but he does promise you huge love. He does not promise a new BMW but he will promise you his presence. He does not promise you an easy life, but one guaranteed ot have trouble.
As I sat in the chairs at this well lit, extravagant, production-show church, all I could think about is how Jesus would be flipping some tables!! I wanted to flip some tables! This church created a “project” to raise 1.2 million dollars, yet never once said what the money was for. It utterly baffled me how they could be proclaiming with their mouths “Do not want God for what he can give you.” and in the very same breath say, “If you give to God he will make you wealthy.”
What about giving to the poor? What about your neighbor who has no heat this winter? What about the thousands who will go to bed hungry tonight? I am no way claiming that I perfectly take care of my brothers and sisters, nor am I faultless in wanting God only for what he can give me. However, as a Christian, what I witnessed today was absolute heresy. It broke my heart to sit there and to know that the people preaching prosperity are the priests passing by on the other side of the road. One comment that really struck me, even though it was presented as a joke went along these lines, “man, you are some good looking people. The greeters must have only let the good looking people in here today.” Two things strike me about this statement. 1) If someone was not good looking, or wealthy, they would be unwelcome. 2) sounds to me like they were trying to butter the congregation up before preaching to them about tithing. Sounds a lot to me like a scam. God is not out looking for ways to increase your wealth I can guarantee you that.
Mark 11 says ” When they arrived back in Jersusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of money changers and the stalls of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from bringing in merchandise. ‘ My temple will be called a place of prayer for all nations.’ But you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
So church, if you have been fed and believe this lie, this false version of the Gospel, please hear me. God is so much greater than your money. God’s favor in your life in not based upon how much tithe you give to the church. If it was, what would happen if you lost everything? Would you still believe Jesus loves you and is for you? Or would you jump ship the moment he took your precious possessions out of your hands?
He is looking at your heart, not your wallet.