How many of you know that one of the biggest things destroying our Christian witness today is greed? With so many teaching on prosperity and making us ‘I or Me’ focused the Church seems pretty much blinded by the truth, and yet the truth is there is a serious spirit of greed not only amongst God’s people, but even more so amongst those we would consider to be Well known Leaders in the body of Christ today.
Although I will not be sharing any names of Ministers or Ministries/Churches in this article I do believe that many of you already know in your own hearts that something is not right in your financial situation. Countless men and women that we have exalted ministry and often respect highly live so far above the rest of us that it almost appears that they are blessed and we are not. That God loves some and doesn’t care about others. This is not true dear ones. What has happened is that some have taken the scriptures on prosperity and turned them into their right to be and live like the world.
Does God say He will prosper us? Yes, He does and there are countless scriptures to prove it which certainly cannot be denied, but His desire to prosper us is not to make us selfish or self seeking, in fact quite the opposite. His first desire is that our souls would prosper and as our souls prosper we are given the heart of a true Leader. The same heart that the Church and its Leaders walked in thousands of years ago is His desire to this day. That Godly desire was in Jesus. He walked and lived amongst all of the people never exalting Himself. It was also present in the New Testament Church. The Book of Acts reveals much about God’s heart for the body of Christ and it filtered through Leaders like Paul and Barnabas and I am still to this day amazed at how few really live this example today.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I Don’t Need 9 Bathrooms…
Many years ago I knew a man who used a specific quote all the time. He would say; “He who dies with the most toys wins.” I still to this day shake my head when I think of him not only saying that, but really believing it as well. What a way to live your life. If your friend buys a boat you have to buy a bigger boat. If your friend buys a new car you should run out and buy not only a new car, but a Jet Ski as well. There are sadly far too many people who live their lives believing that what they have is more important than ‘Who has them’. When we finally come to the end of our days here on earth God is not going to be impressed by how many bathrooms or garages we had. In fact dear ones, His heart is that we would grow and mature into the image of His dear son who lived sacrificially on a daily basis and less like the world who lives for self.
This morning in my time with the Lord I was given this scripture, and I believe I am to share it with you.
11 Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they lean upon the LORD and say,
"Is not the LORD among us?
No disaster will come upon us."
12 Therefore because of you,
Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
What does this say about the Church today that in many cases is building up and sowing into the very Leaders who are teaching for a price and prophesying to receive money? Many use the scripture that says; A workman is worthy of his hire, to say that in order to receive a prophetic word from them you must pay, give, or sow into their ministry. How is it possible to say you are being Spirit led when you only speak if money is involved? That isn’t Spirit led, but money led and Jesus did not minister like that in any fashion.
Jesus Never Asked…
Jesus NEVER asked for money. He preached, prophesied, healed and delivered and yet He daily trusted His Father for all that He and His Ministry would need. As people began to see the anointing on Him and the fruit of His ministry they started to follow Him and became givers out of His example of giving selflessly. I don’t believe that Jesus ever went without (unless He was fasting), but we must remember that the example that He gave us was that it is by faith and through prayer that we are to walk daily.
I have used this scripture in previous articles, but I believe it fits well into this one as well.
2 Corinthians 2:17
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
Are We Fallowing Peddlers Rather Than True Ministers?
The bible distinctly tells us not to peddle the word of God for profit, but how many of you know that we have Christian celebrities today who are making (from your donations) from $200,000 to over $400,000 a year? In fact while you are listening to any given Ministry asking you for money over the air waves and making it seem that they are so in need, some of those same Ministers are living on a whopping $3,000 dollars a day.
Are our Christian celebrities really any different than those in the world? Let’s look at what the word peddle means in the Webster’s Dictionary.
Peddle\ ped-l\ vb ped-dled; ped-dling: to sell or offer for sale from place to place – ped-dler also pedlar\ped-ler\ n
Haven’t you ever wondered why the rich didn’t follow Jesus? It’s not as if it wasn’t offered to them just as it was to the poor, yet when the rich young man in Matthew 19:16 came to Jesus and he asked what he must do to get eternal life, the Lord’s answer was far more difficult than the young man could have even imagined.
I Rebuke You In The Name Of Prosperity…
One of the biggest problems still to this day is that man has used his own mind (which the bible tells us is at enmity with God) to interpret the Word. Have you ever wondered if your favorite television preacher could really do what Jesus answers in Matthew 19:21--sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. There may still be a few, but I have to admit that when I hear of $300,000 dollar a year salaries and see some of the boasting that Ministers do about the new airplane the Lord just gave them I find myself wondering if they could possibly hear God if He really did speak to them on the subject of their finances. Some are so grounded in the prosperity doctrine that they might literally rebuke God if He told them to sell everything.
Do You Give Much, But Receive Little?
Please ask yourself this question. Am I in debt and under constant financial oppression? Did you notice I didn’t say occasional financial oppression, but constant? Certainly we all struggle occasionally either with our health, finances, or many other things, but if the prosperity teachings are correct why is it that the only one prospering is the one teaching about prosperity? If the scriptures that Preachers beat into us about tithing are true why doesn’t it seem the windows of heaven have ever opened up over your life after all the years that you have shown faithfulness to the Lord?
Friends, I do realize that the subjects that I believe the Holy Spirit asks me to write about aren’t always well received, but it all boils down to finding balance in the truth of God’s Word.
I believe Door #1 is found in Proverbs 19:17 which says;
17 He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and that which he has given He will repay to him.
This tells us that if we give to those we know are in need we are literally giving to God and He will repay us.
I believe Door #2 is found in Proverbs 22:16 and it says;
16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.
This should be an eye opener for us not to continue giving to people that we already know to be rich. Are you pushing your own bills by the wayside to sow into big name Ministries and rich Ministers? You might feel that you are making a great sacrifice, but the scripture says; he who gives gifts to the rich comes to poverty.
I wonder why it is that not one of the Ministers or Ministries that often beg for money ever share Proverbs 22:16 Hmmmm… Is it possible that if we really knew how wealthy they already were we would sow to those in great need (maybe even our own family or friends) instead of giving to them? I personally like what I see behind door #1.
Stop Swaying Between Two Opinions…
Finally dear ones if there is anything I want you to get from my article’s or teachings it is that our greatest desire should be to come to such a place of maturity that we truly are not moved by every wind of doctrine.
What do I mean? When most people think of doctrine I believe they think of denominational teachings. Therefore when we read the scripture that says we should not be moved by every wind of doctrine we automatically ignore it because we may not be in a denomination or we consider ourselves to be non religious. However, being moved by every wind of doctrine can also mean you are very easily swayed by two different teachings on the same subject.
Let me give you an example. A person sits down to watch Christian television and sits through two ½ hour programs. Both just happened to teach on the same subject (quite often on finances). Do you come away from both programs confused and struggling to know what you really believe or are you able to stand on what you know to be true no matter what either says? In fact you might read this article and feel you actually agree with it, but than later today you hear another teaching on prosperity and all of a sudden you are discounting this article.
The truth is you must be grounded in the Word of God for yourself dear ones. It is not important what I say or what someone else might say because they may very well differ. What is important is that you know and are grounded in the Word of God. Your favorite preacher’s words will pass away. In fact mine will too, but even if Heaven and earth pass away the truth is God’s Word never will.
Heaven and earth will perish and pass away, but My words will not perish or pass away.
Sheryl L. York