Monday, July 18, 2011

The Gospel of Health and Wealth

Have you noticed how many big-name religious people are preaching a "health and wealth" gospel?  They make it seem that if you are a Christian, you will automatically be freed from the plagues of sickness and poverty.  If you do happen to be sick or poor, you are obviously doing something wrong.  You must not be praying enough, or sending your money to the right place, or maybe you don't have enough faith.

I just wonder what the very first Christians would think of this.  One of the best arguments for the bodily resurrection of Christ is that the disciples preached it, even though they were under horrible persecution.  Think about it.  If they were trying to prove a hoax, and they had really stolen Jesus' body to make it look like he rose from the dead, would they have all stuck to their story after being punished for it?  What would their motive have been?

The early Christians were imprisoned, beheaded, stoned, hanged, shipwrecked, and fed to the lions.  They hid in the sewers.  They sold all of their land so that they could share with others.  This doesn't sound like "health and wealth" to me.  Preachers like Paul gave up every chance at having a comfortable life in order to tell as many people as possible about the good news of Jesus Christ.

Somehow, I think we're missing the boat.  While we're worried about "enlarging our land" or "having our best life now," we're ignoring our true purpose.  When we get to Heaven, we're not going to bring our land or our house or our SUV, or even our well-toned, healthy bodies.  We're going to bring those people who came to Christ because of us.  While we run after the things of this world, we have to realize that we are running away from God.  Yes, He could choose to give us these things.  Or, maybe he won't.

We have been teaching the Sunday School kids about the Ten Commandments.  The first one is that we should not worship any other gods, and the second is that we should not make any idols.  Focusing on money and possessions, and maybe even our health, is actually worshiping idols.  Jesus said we shouldn't worry about what we will eat, or what we will wear, because the Father knows we need these things. So instead of spending time praying for all the things I want, I need to pray for all those people who need to hear, and pray that I will be used to tell them.  Instead of trying to save my life, I need to spend it for the gospel of Christ.  Come, Lord Jesus!

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