This is part of the continuing series about the misconceptions of Christianity by Stephen Mattson.
Christianity Causes Prosperity
Some treat Christianity as a cash cow, a way to become “blessed,” “rich” and “successful.” But this was never Jesus’ intention.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t guarantee financial, relational, physical, intellectual, emotional or professional gain.
Many have used the allure of “being blessed” and “getting rich” as a way to manipulate and motivate people into following Christ, but in reality faithfully loving God demands giving of yourself—and your possessions.
If you’re looking for peace, prosperity, success, fame, fortune and personal glory—Christianity isn’t for you.
I must admit that the “Prosperity Gospel” totally turns me off. It is a gross misrepresentation of what it means to be a Christian. Joel Osteen just has it wrong as far as I am concerned. But of course in some ways he is right in that his version of being a Christian has made him exceedingly wealthy at least in monetary term.
We must look at the early Christians to see the purest forms of being a follower of Jesus meant. Whether we Americans want to admit it or not the early Christians, that is those before Constantine hijacked Christianity in order to shore up his kingdom, were much more communistic than capitalistic. When they joined a group of followers of Jesus they typically gave all their wealth to the leaders of the group to be used for everyone.
Now I am not denying that being a follower of Jesus has its rewards, but they are more emotional and spiritual than anything to do with monetary gain. I kind of disagree with Stephan’s last sentence in that I have found great peace in being a follower; that is a big reward to me. But I do agree with the rest of the items on his list. Personal glory is a very entrancing thing for all of us. We want others to know what we do, at least the good parts, and to give us our share of glory. Christ tells us that seeking glory is not a Christian trait.
Being a follower of Jesus means to love God and to love each other. He made it very clear that those are the primary structures for our faith. Everything else is very secondary at best and much of what we seem to deem important in Christianity today did not even show up on Jesus’ radar. Joel Osteen’s wealth is certainly toward the top of that very unimportant list.