Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time - Does God want you to be Rich?

The cover of the latest Time Magazine garnered my attention last night. The question on the cover was, "Does God Want You to be Rich?" My initial thought was if he did, I wouldn't have forgotten to log a $170 check in my checkbook last week. But since I was on break I decided to sit down and give it a read.

Not suprisingly the article focused on what the author referred to as "propsperity light" preachers. You may have seen these guys on tv if you can stomach it for more than a few minutes. People like Joel Osteen. This guy is an interesting character. Joel's church congregation meets in a former basketball arena. It's that large. How embarassing must it be if you hit snooze a few times and park your Caddy towards the back of the lot and need to sit in the nosebleeds for church? If politics and backbiting sometimes happen at smaller churches, I wonder if this church seems like an episode of Laguna Beach, only less attractive. I kid around, a bit, because that is not my kind of church at all. Then again, I would have never guessed my congeregation of 50-75 people would be the kind of church that I would be in or consider my home.

The cover is a bit misleading to the story within. The question itself is a loaded question. Does God want us to be rich? I don't think it's the case that God would not want us to be rich. There can be the arguments made that money is a false idol. That when money is around, in abundance one finds less reason to depend on God for whatever reason. These are valid and coherent arguments. They can be made more coherently by someone who isn't blowing 20 minutes on his lunch break like myself.

But, when I see the mention of God "wanting us to live life and live it more abundantly" I don't see monetary capital being the abundance he was talking about. It's Sunday school speak I am getting into right now just without the felt board and felt puppets, but to me it always seemed to be emotional and spirtual capital that Jesus was centering on. In the way he lived his life, in the people he travelled and ate with, and in those he chose as his disciples.

I do not consider myself a class warrior by any means. I wish I was rich. I don't hold wealth against people. Sometimes, maybe shamefully, I am more aggrivated by the panhandler than the guy in the limo. Were my job to be more lucrative I certainly wouldn't turn down the extra money for some pious reason.

More often than not I do think that God shares a desire with his people, whether it be love, prosperity, job advancement, or an Eagles Super Bowl victory. I do also think that there are times when we do not get what we want, that should not be attributed to God's will. I do think that he cries along with us in these times. Jesus did weep. God does not always get what he wants. I think it's naive and a bit fatalistic to assume because there are wars in the world this is God's will, or because there is extensive poverty, sometimes especially amongst Catholics, Christians in South America that this is God's will. I just don't see a loving God thinking "Yeah, that's okay because their dependance on me is now greater." Sometimes their is injustice. This is planet earth in 2006.

Whether or not God wants you to be rich, whether or not prosperity light teaching is heretical, whether or not mega churches or house churches really are sidetracks from the main question. How can we best show love to our neighbor?

8 comments:

Arthur said...

Well said, for a 20 minute lunch break. Funny how we question what God wants and try to fit it to what we want. But you hit the nail on the head there at the end. That's the real question at hand.

Jim said...

Great post, Scot. I especially like what you had to say about "God's will." It really bugs me when people throw that term around, particularly when people say that bad things happen because of God's will. And what you said in your last paragraph is what really should be the focus of everyone's lives.

scot said...

Thanks Arthur and Jim. I have seen a lot of hard things happen to a lot of good people in my life. And far too often I have seen the "it's God's will" phrase thrown around to make 'em feel better, and it only makes things worse. It only makes them further question situations and inflicts even more hurt upon them when they wonder what they have done to make God's will so hard upon them.

So yeah. I'll get off my soapbox now and proofread my much less interesting post talking bout Project Runway.

Jim said...

I finally read this article, and I now really want to go kick Joel Osteen in the nuts.

scot said...

yeah, joel osteen.

not exactly my favorite person.

beatrice quarells said...

They are all fasle apostles. they are not teaching what JESUS taught.They want you to read John 10:10, The whole chapter is about the shepherd and his flock.JOHN 10:1-2(reads)I tell you the truth,the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate,but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. they did'nt understand what he was telling them.(John 10:7-10)I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers.(false shepherds,like the pharisees and chief prists and these we are talking about today,not the true OT prophets.BE and do what JESUS taught, you wil be saved.read Hebrew 8:10-13,Jeremiah 31:33-34,GOD IS MY GOD ,I am a rock in Gods church.Open up your heart and invite him in.Right now he's knocking at the door of your heart, let him in.He's not concerned about worldly wealth,nor should you. what we should be concerned about, is recieving his spiritual blessings,which may not come as money,fine cars, homes and the luxuries of this world.If you are worldly you seek worldly blessings,If you grow spiritually you seek spiritual blessings,not of this world.Trust and have faith in god he will give you what you need in this life,not every thing you want.(he didn't promise you everything in this world).He promised you eternity with him in his....Accept Jesus as your savior and God as our father..God Bless....

Cialis Online said...

I like how it all resembles fractals, nature, life and the universe is all about fractals, once that we understand this concept, we can understand the laws of all.

Anonymous said...

If i am not mistaking he said we shall be rich on earth and in heaven. Every pastor that is rich or have money is not a crook. Its always funny how the ones that say this are the ones that have not fully lived by or even stayed in church long enough to see if God is truly blessing people like the pastors say he is. We want a quick fix and if it doesnt happen then one says it not true. Giving tithes,blessing that guy or woman on the streets,feeding the homeless,praying at nite for others and not our own needs,studying the word. Putting in the time to get close to God for yourself. Kicking a guy in the private for no reason makes no sense at all. The man has not done wrong to anyone of you personally. But you can see why one is not blessed like he is just by the thinking alone.