Recently I was told of a church in Maseru where a visiting preacher said that God would bless and prosper anyone who contributed M1,000, so many people did.The next day the Pastor appealed for a special offering for church funds because the guest preacher had been given all the previous day’s collections.
Sometime later a colleague of the guest preacher came to preach, and told them that God would make them rich if they would bring him M2,000 in an envelope, and many people did.
As yet nobody has become prosperous, apart from the guest preachers, of course. I wonder about the wisdom of the Pastor in letting his trusting people be fleeced by such people, but many American TV evangelists say just the same sort of thing. Maybe he had been brainwashed by watching too many American videos broadcast by our local Christian TV station which constantly tell people to send them money, or could it be that he was offered a cut – perish the thought?!
So many preachers and churches in Africa preach a Prosperity Gospel, telling people that if they become Christians God will make them rich. It’s a new version of the way in which a century or two ago people became “rice Christians” because they knew they would get free rations of rice if they said they wanted to become Christians.
Yet, in Isaiah 55:1, the Lord says, “Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat! Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost,” and Jesus says, “Store up for yourselves treasures….”
True Prosperity. What is it?
Jesus made quite clear what it is NOT. Earthly treasure, material possessions, can become moth eaten, and rusty. Thieves could so easily break through the mud walls of houses and steal the family cash box.
In Old Testament days, God’s blessing was in terms of material wealth, with each man sitting under his vine and fig tree, (1 Kings 4:25; 2 Kings 18:31; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10) but in the New Testament God’s blessing is in terms of spiritual riches and heavenly treasure, for Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” (Matthew 6:20) “treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” (Luke 12:33)
So Jesus appealed to man’s desire to become rich and prosperous, but spoke of another kind of treasure.
Here’s a rhyme I saw on a Christian tract over forty years ago, and quoted on Joy radio last September:
Did you ever think as the hearse goes by
That one day both you and I
Will take a ride in that great black hack
And will never remember coming back?
Rake, scrape, borrow or save,
You lose it all when you go to the grave,
For money, a dead man’s hand can’t hold,
Nor can life be purchased with silver and gold
For if life were a thing that money could buy,
Why, the rich would live and the poor would die.
To be continued……………………………….
by Pastor Bryan Pinches
Ventnor, Isle of Wight