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Does God Want You to Be Rich?

2006 September 21
by Mike

I hope you got a chance to read the excellent, balanced cover story in Time Magazine entitled “Does God Want You to Be Rich?” The cover description says: “Yes, say some megachurches. Others call it heresy. The debate over the new gospel of wealth.”

Seriously — how did the Evangelical church get here?

The basic movement of the gospel is clear (Phil. 2:5ff): self-denial and self-sacrifice rather than self-fulfillment. We follow one who had no place to lay his head, who warned us that life does not consist in the abundance of things, who told a wealthy man to sell all and give to the poor, who insisted that we cannot have two masters (God and $$). Followers of Christ in other cultures have often lost all as a result of their faithfulness to him.

But walk into Christian bookstores and there is a different gospel. The gospel of Joel Osteen.

And does it sell! Your Best Life Now has sold over 4 million copies. It finds a welcome audience in the consumerism of America.

The authors of the article write:

“What remains is a materialism framed in a kind of Tony Robbins positivism. No one exemplifies this better than Osteen, who ran his father’s television-production department until John died in 1999. ‘Joel has learned from his dad, but he has toned it back and tapped into basic, everday folks’ ways of talking,’ says Ben Phillips, a theology professor at the Soutwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. That language is reflected in Your Best Life Now, an extraordinarily accessible exhortation to this-world empowerment through God. ‘To live your best life now,’ it opens, to see ‘your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams come to pass . . .’ you must ‘start looking through the eyes of faith.’ Jesus is front and center but not his Crucifixion, Resurrection or Atonement.”

Does that tell us something?

The book is full of “illustrations of how the Prosperity doctrine has produced personal gain, most memorably, perhaps, for the Osteen family: how Victoria’s ‘speaking words of faith and victory’ eventually brought the couple their dream house; how Joel discerned God’s favor in being bumped from economy to business class.”

Insightfully, the authors go on to talk about the basic for criticism of this Prosperity Lite movement: “Most unnerving for Osteen’s critics is the suspicion that they are fighting not just one idiosyncratic misreading of the gospel but something more daunting: the latest lurch in Protestantism’s ongoing descent into full-blown American materialism.”

Rick Warren, who by his words and life is becoming an incredible leader in the worldwide church, said: “This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy? Baloney. It’s creating a false idol. You don’t measure your self-worthy by your net worth.”

Ron Sider, author of Rich Christians in a Hungry World: “They have neglected the texts about the danger of riches. Prosperity Gospel Lite is one of the most powerful forms of neglect of the poor.”

And Ben Witherington, an incredible Evangelical New Testament scholar at Asbury Seminary: “We need to renounce the false gospel of wealth and health — it is a disease of our American culture: it is not a solution or answer to life’s problems.”

The “internet monk” (Michael Spencer) has written:

“He’s being sold to us by people who want to make money off his success, and they are counting on us to be sheep, ‘baaing’ quietly, but going along to the slaughter. Any analysis of Joel Osteen’s theology is going to have a hard time saying he is proclaiming the Christian message. The most popular preacher in Christianity is proclaiming a theology that is neither Christian, nor Jewish, nor Muslim, but is pragmatically pagan. Pagan in the sense of finding ways to gain the favor of god so he will do good things for you. Manipulating the deity to give you blessings. This is the ultimate example of Luther’s ‘theology of glory’ chosen over the ‘theology of the cross.’ I would rather a non-Christian hear John Shelby Spong a hundred times than hear this. Spong denies it all- outright. Osteen is presented as a Christian, but his message isn’t going to bring you to Christ, the Kingdom or heaven. It’s spiritual cyanide disguised as candy. If there is a hell, Osteen’s message won’t stop you or the people you love from going there, because the savior in his messages is YOU and the salvation he offers is a NEW ATTITUDE, and some resulting real estate. The question becomes, will evangelicals do anything? Will they say anything? Will they register their objections to Osteen’s reshaping of the Reformation gospel into a positive thinking message that makes Robert Schuller look like John Calvin in comparison?”

Yesterday I listened to Dan McVey talk about the advancement of Islam in North America. It is the fastest-growing religion in North America. (On a global scale, protestant Christianity is by far the fastest growing religion, however. It outpaces Islam in growth by 3-1, I believe Dan said.) In this culture of ease and consumerism, Islam offers a faith of discipline and serious devotion. Of course, Christianity does too (along with a framework of grace and a God who has come near in Christ) — just not in the versions that have become so popular in “Christian” bookstores.

132 Responses leave one →
  1. Leland permalink
    September 21, 2006

    So if God doesn’t want me to be rich, why doesn’t Highland have an elder which struggles below the poverty line, works two jobs and can’t read?

    Living in a $4 million glass church, throwing stones does more damage than good.

  2. Jimmy Shaw permalink
    September 21, 2006

    Yikes, Leland. I’m not sure that’s helpful. Yes, Highland is quite large and arguably wealthy in much the same way many of us Americans and our churches are. But that does not by itself serve as a suitable indictment of either the church or Mike.

    I do think a more helpful question might be how a church like Highland gives voice to this struggle? In what ways can our large churches with abundant resources handle the high (often selfish) expectations placed on them AND bear witness to the gospel promise of justice and generosity and simplicity and service to the poor? In churches where men and women like Mike — elders, preachers, pastoral staff and church leaders — find themselves deeply convicted about our these things, what struggles do they face in trying to make this come alive for those they shepherd and teach? What can leaders do to better embody the likeness of Jesus who had “no place to lay his head” and lead others in the way of sacrifice Jesus has called us to?

    I, for one, hope that we can all find ways to learn these lessons, whether they are spoken by the poorest of the poor or grappled with by those leaders who every day wake to find themselves trying to “thread the needle.”

  3. Carrie D permalink
    September 22, 2006

    yep yep — needed the balance on this perspective!

    And for the record, I do believe that God is a micro-manager… I believe that He cares about every aspect of my life. I have to believe this, because sometimes I’m so depressed that finding a close parking spot in the shade (in Arizona in the summer), or all the signals green when I’m running late for work and not speeding — these things for me are definitely blessings from God, a little glimmer of hope in my often sad heart. And these moments cause me to say little prayers of thankfulness, and anything I think on and pray and praise God — well, that just is good. And dwelling on the good stuff brings me out of the darkness. 🙂

  4. September 22, 2006

    Maybe the question should be Does God Care if You are Rich?

  5. Leland permalink
    September 22, 2006


    Not an indictment of Mike. I like Mike and the way he articultaes the gospel. I have’nt heard anyone better.

    I am miffed because we say the poor are important but yet we do not value them enough to lead us. Why? It’s simply because they have no monetary value.

    I am pretty sure there are some wise people out there who are poor for some other reason other than lack of leadership ability.

    Maybe if we stopped looking down at them and started looking across at them we could really help.

  6. September 22, 2006

    A brief update to the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. This from Forbes today….

    “A nine-figure fortune won’t get you much mention these days, at least not on these pages. This year, for the first time, everyone on The Forbes 400 has at least $1 billion. The collective net worth of the nation’s wealthiest climbed $120 billion, to $1.25 trillion.

    Surging real estate, oil and other asset prices paved the way for 28 new members. Developer John P. Manning used political savvy to build a $1.1 billion fortune, in part by brokering low-income housing projects. ”

    Tell me again when minimum wage was last increased….Facts is facts. And, yes, there are plenty of American adults making minimum wage.

  7. September 22, 2006


    As a city employee who often recruits commissioners to advise city council on things, I am always looking for someone from the “poor” or low-income segment of the population to represent their perspective re: my city’s human services and/or affordable housing policies. Why? Because I firmly believe in what you said in your last statement.

    However, the closest we have gotten was an application from a diabled single mom, who when push came to shove, didn’t make it to her interview.

    Today, I read a study about barriers which prevent persons on TANF (aka, welfare) from finding employment. In CO, these persons are more educated and job-skilled than in the 6 other states that were involved in this study, however, they faced barriers such as physical health, mental health problems, special needs children/family members, and lack of transportation, jsut to name a few. If poor people are unable to find and retain employment to meet their basic needs because of these things, then it stands to reason, they aren’t going to be apt or able to pursue other time-consuming activities like church leadership, kwim?

    It stinks…b/c I truly think they have a unique perspective to offer in leadership. The best we can strive for is to have persons who used to be in a poor situation but has attained some balance in the stride to self-sufficiency represent in leadership.

  8. September 22, 2006

    WTG Kent!!

    I KNEW someone would come up with recent, relevant fact!

    Thanks for continuing to shine light on the truth.


  9. abileneblues permalink
    September 22, 2006

    I have come to hate the words charity and welfare. Whenever these conversations come up, the words seem to have the taint of somebody getting something to which they have no right. Somehow that taint doesn’t sit well with “give him your cloak, also.”

    When it comes down to it, I have no right to a job that earns me enough for a nice house, cars for everybody in the family. Regardless of the degrees on my wall and how hard I work, I have earned none of this. I was born in an affluent country to parents with an incredible work ethic and the willingness to make sacrifices so that I could attend college. All of that put me in a place where I would have had to try to not succeed, if somebody wants to call my life/career a success.

    I think it is irresponsible to preach that God wants me to have money. If we, in our limited wisdom, would not give our children everything they ask for, would our Father, the source of wisdom, do that to us? I’ve struggled at many times in my life wondering why God didn’t give me more so I could give more, never realizing that I was the man with one talent, burying it in my own selfish greed.

  10. September 22, 2006

    I’m a little concerned about the blanket demonization of “the Evangelical Church.” To say that all Evangelicals are materialistic is nearly as bad as saying that all Catholics are going to hell for praying to statues. Only God knows the heart, and only He knows who does His work and who does not. I’m copying the post from my blog, because I agree with the basic concept of the original post, but let’s not get into a Christian infight here with a lot of name-calling and blame-letting. I’ve known born-again brothers and sisters from all walks, and, living in the Houston area, have met more than my share of people who’ve been blessed by Lakewood’s ministry and came to Christ through it’s discipleship. Believe me, the message there is overwhelmingly Christ and Him crucified, even if the tag may sound otherwise.

    Here’s the original post from my blog:


    “Does God Want You To Be Rich?” read the cover title of the September 18, 2006 edition of Time magazine. An interesting question, no? As the article portrays, many in today’s Christian church have bought into the gospel of greed, picking apart small verses of scripture and reinterpreting them as directives for prosperity. I went a few years ago to see Evangelist Jessie Duplantis, who’s message was right in line with this new interpretation. Mr. Duplantis even wrote a book covering the topic entitled “God is not enought; He’s too much!” As I remember the message, Jesse quoted Matthew 13: 1-9

    “1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9He who has ears, let him hear.”

    Now, in Jesse’s interpretation, the seed of the parable represents NOT the Word of God, but the offerings of the faithful. Jesse contended that offerings given to God for purposeful ministry would return to the person giving offering by as much as 100 times! One dollar becomes One Hundred dollars; 10 becomes 1,000; 100 becomes 10,000, etc. Frankly, I was appalled!

    I was appalled for several reasons. First, the scripture manipulated refers not to monetary “seeding,” but to the spread of the gospel of Christ! Jesus told us as much in the verses following!:

    Matthew 13: 18-23 – 18″Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. 22The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. 23But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

    How can anyone misinterpret such a plain message? The words “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart” have plain meaning, do they not? The seed is clearly the “message about the Kingodom” and anyone who does not understand it will have it snatched away by the evil one. So how does satan invade the church and snatch away the very words of promise that have given life to so many? Why, the promise of financial gain, of course!

    Not only is this “gospel of greed” a misinterpretation of plain scripture, it’s also in contravention with the plain Word of Christ as expressed elsewhere. Did Jesus not plainly state that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God? (Matthew 19:24) Did He not say that no man can serve two masters, both God and money? (Matthew 6:24) Did He not direct a wealthy young man to give away his wealth in order to “be perfect?”(Matthew 19:21). I tell you, this new interpretation is nothing more than another attempt of that master of equivocation to steal away the souls of those who would hear the Word but allow the thorns of that evil one to choke it from them.

    God cares little about the worldly condition of His creation; His concern is that we join Him in Paradise eternally. His primary concern is for our souls, the very divine spirit that He breathed into us at the beginning. He wishes that all would be saved, but He knows that He cannot allow freewill and have it come to pass.

  11. Leland permalink
    September 22, 2006

    “God cares little about the worldly condition of His creation;”

    This statement is why Christianity fast becoming irrelevant.

  12. September 22, 2006

    Listen to your Heart, where your spirit lives, the same spirit that is within all of creation, which is the spirit that you emanated from.

    Book: The Titus Concept Money For My Best and Highest Good
    Seminar: SOAR 2006 The Titus Concept Live
    or just google Al Diaz

  13. September 23, 2006


    The statement quoted is exactly why Christianity is more relevant now than ever! If we are nothing more than biological units surviving from birth till death, there is no purpose! The greater purpose is to live eternally in the presence of God, which is what He gives us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ! Why are we here? The question rings through the eons! The answer – to share the good news of the Gospel, so that all might know that we are NOT merely biological units wandering from birth to death but spiritual beings who were meant to live eternally in the presence of God! What did Jesus say when questioned by Nicodemus? (John 3:3-21)

    “In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

    We are spiritual beings from birth, but without the atonement of Christ, our spirits are not accetable to that of God. Only by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus can we become one with the Spirit of God. This is the rebirth that Jesus referred to, and it is exactly why Christianity is more “relevant” today than ever!

  14. Leland permalink
    September 23, 2006

    No its not. Christianity is less concerned about its neighbor than getting into heaven.

    “We are spiritual beings from birth, but without the atonement of Christ, our spirits are not accetable to that of God.”

    The substitutionary view of atonement is athe biggest load of bullshit to hit the pasture since Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox roamed the earth.

    Jesus died showing me how to live.

  15. Joy L. Martin permalink
    September 25, 2006

    WOW, I feel so much better. Hoping I had not become judgmental after hearing the heresy and diverted, perverted gospel I KNEW I was hearing coming out of so many of todays so called “teachers” of the Word of God.
    Well, I will tell you that NO ONE who has been born again is poor, God provides and I don’t have one penny in my pocket. My pastor gave us a 60.00 blessing last night on the sly…just because God lives in his heart and he knows we have 4 kids and my husband was hurt on the job in Feb. and hasn’t worked since. The body of Christ is so real.
    And if we were to listen and be drawn in our hearts to the “pop” theology being taught by so many, we would all be led away from the simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. Don’t worry about whether anyone would be led TO Christ with these teachings.It would be easy to see why “the world” or even “carnal” Christians would be so easily led INTO it though. The Bible is clear about “itching ears”. The immature and selfish or carnal Christians will have to learn their lessons. God loves them so much, that He is willing to “give them over” to the LUSTS of their own hearts. ie. “IDOLS”. Well, glory hallelujah! Whoever belongs to God in Christ, He will pursue and spank them. Joel Osteen is one of them. I KNOW his dad would weep daily at the feet of Jesus to know what has become of his legacy….and we should weep at the feet of Jesus for all those who teach anything like it.
    Joel Osteen is even a much more “hearable” version of this pop theology than,…let’s say….Creflo Dollar (he REALLY lives and teaches up to his last name!!!!) or let’s say…..JUST ABOUT EVERY TBN SHOWBOAT. Of course, I’m not throwing out the baby with the bath water, I know that not EVERY one who appears on tbn is greedy for gain of money, but that’s why I say “just about”.
    My heart has broken many times as people have asked me about my opinion of Joel Osteen. His dad was very special to me and he’ll never know just how much until eternity. But if I become someone’s enemy for telling them the truth, I could only hope it not be so.
    God’s word says that an “open rebuke is better than hidden love”. Because God lives in me and I am not above my Master, Who, “learned obedience through the things He suffered”, I embrace the rebukes, although I do appreciate and receive the love. I know that because I am God’s daughter, He loves me enough to chastise me and correct me and restore my soul.
    Joel and all those who have been lulled to sleep spiritually by this deceptive teaching are not going to go uncorrected or not be chastised, not if they truly belong to Him, in truth. And one of the surest ways to know this is by looking at it according to God’s word.
    He says that He would allow them to have what they were truly seeking and would allow them to have it in abundance, but the leanness would be sent to their soul.
    (Ps. 106:15). The reason for God giving them their request is that they “lusted exceedingly” in the wilderness and tempted God in the desert.
    So, we can be in prayer for them and encouraged in the fact that God will begin judgment in His house. WE ARE HIS HOUSE. God is Love and they will in no wise go unpunished for spiritual prostitution. No one who belongs to Him will. Ps. 106:39 says that “Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went awhoring with their own inventions.”
    And when those who belong to Him will begin to cry out in their affliction He will answer their cry, because He is merciful.
    It says that He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.
    So, yes, they are to be pitied. They are deceived and their foolish hearts are being darkened by the root of all evil…”the LOVE of money.” The whore of materialism makes her bed of fine linen and aloe’s too and all that would appear to be the “blessings of God”.
    Clearly God speaks, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” amen? Those who watch over their hearts with all diligence will keep and be kept by the Truth. So many will be pierced through with many sorrows….
    I know that my, and all of your hearts are grieving over this and have been for some time in all the “pop” theology that has been so dominant in todays tv and many churches among God’s people.
    Let us pray for the eyes of the understanding to be enlightened and pray for God to send someone to them to rebuke them in love to be restored and for them to be a testimony of God’s grace and may they “humble themselves under the mighty hand of God” and repent of such foolishness.
    For, “if we ‘SUFFER’ with Him, we will also reign with Him”…and…Herein in my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”….and…”all that believed were together, and had all things in common; And SOLD their possessions and goods and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”…..and…”For we are labourers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building (home 🙂 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let EVERY MAN TAKE HEED HOW HE BUILDETH THEREUPON. For another foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is JESUS CHRIST. Now if any man build upon this foundation GOLD, SILVER, PRECIOUS STONES, WOOD, HAY STUBBLE; Every man’s work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”
    Well, I hope I haven’t bored anyone, but I certainly am glad to have this topic “open and bare to all” so to speak.
    Not for the sake of someone to agree with me, but because hopefully it is a path of discussion that will lead to many a door of these teachers hearts and not only will they be turned around, but then will many, many who have been led astray after the way of Balaam with them.
    God Bless everyone who is bold enough to give their thoughts on this and pray that God will send someone to these men. It might even be you, or even this web site…….even so, come quickly Lord Jesus, to us, to them, to Your Bride, now and forever, amen.
    In His great and eternal love with you all, joy martin, grapeland texas.

  16. October 11, 2006

    My take is that God may not really care if you are rich or not…..but he does want you to be free. And being and living in freedom means you have every reason to pursue “Your best life now.” I’m not really sure what Joel is teaching and all, but if he’s trying to release us to live fuller lives in Christ then I’m all for him. To many Christians dwell on the “self sacrificing” attitude “punishing themselves with devoutness” thinking they are bringing themselves closer to God. In the process, they restrict their own God given talents and abilities all the while believing they are being “true servants”. It’s refreshing to me to see someone remind us of the great freedoms we have both as citizens of the U.S. and of God’s kingdom. The church has done a great job of shooting down anyone who sticks their neck out to pursue anything of importance or significance and succeeds. I’ve heard many “mature” Christians talk down about a ministry for trying (and succeeding) too hard to meet peoples needs and not hard enough in actually sharing the gospel….or for emphasizing fun over the message. Why do so many churches encourage the Eeyore attitude (woe is me)….are we so lowly that everything is impossible? I guess its just Christian tradition.

    We recently had a similar discussion in a small group. We were trying to reconcile being a servant with having great faith. How do we take Christ’s words?

    “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

    ” I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

    Why do we doubt so much? To me it’s because so many Christian leaders deal in the currency of fear and doubt. It would be interesting to see how many church going people suffer from depression….too bad the church can’t bring them out of that funk. In the end, I’m advocating attitude and perspective. Living with a positive attitude and an optimistic perspective may not make you rich, but most successful people (in life) can’t live without them. And it sure beats living with the alternative.


  17. October 28, 2006


  18. Shelley permalink
    January 10, 2007

    Being rich,having a lot of money speaks of worldly values. It is what we think of as being successful here on earth. But God says not to be of this earth, instead we are to be like Christ. Jesus was never rich,He never used money as a way to measure success. He showed us this by example. He never owned a home, He never became rich,He gave all that He had,including His life to all of us.

    If i have a lot of money,a lot of valuable things, then that takes a lot of my time and energy to “keep them shiny and like new, and in good repair” this takes time that i could have away from what is the most important, and that is God. God tells us to live simple lives, this is so we can keep our focus on Him. He made us to worship Him, and to tell others about Him. He did not make us to worship our fancy Cars and Castles.

    Where ever our minds are,there you will find our Hearts also.That is where our worship is…..

  19. January 16, 2007

    Google is the best search engine

  20. Joe permalink
    May 14, 2007

    If we still wonder why Jesus lived in poverty, didn’t have any earthly possession of his own, didn’t have a place to lay his head on – the Bible gives the perfect answer

    “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

    2 Co. 8:9

    While it’s true that someone could be poor and devout at the same time, poverty of man is certainly not the will of God, and Jesus certainly didn’t become poor so that you can suffer poverty.

    I’ve discussed with a few brothers and sisters that believe otherwise. Each time I quote the the above scripture, they would say that the Bible really doesn’t say what it means or mean what it says. Therefore “that ye through his poverty might be rich” actually means that “ye through his poverty might be SPIRITUALLY rich”, according to them.

    Afterwards I showed them another scripture:

    “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”

    Pro. 10:22

    Again they said the Bible doesn’t mean what it says and doesn’t say what it means. Thus “the blessing of the Lord maketh rich” actually means “the blessing of the Lord maketh SPIRITUALLY rich”.


    What about John 10:10?

    “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

    They said, Jesus really didn’t mean “have it more abundantly “, he meant “SPIRITUALLY more abundantly”.

    What about 2 Peter 1:3?

    “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue”

    They said, it actually means “given unto us all SPIRITAUL things”. Things pertaining unto godliness, of course, are spiritual in nature. Why are “things pertaining to life” also spiritual? Why would the Bible distinguish between things “pertaining unto life” and those “pertaining
    to godliness” if both are spiritual?

    To add emphasis, they said.


    It seems that everytime the words “riches”, “abundance”, “wealth”, appear in the Bible, the word “spiritual” is automatically missing. By contrast, “poverty” and “lack” literally mean “poverty” and “lack”. If the Bible was written that way, how would a simple minded person understand its true intent? How would a guy without a college degree grasp its real meaning? Jesus said little children are the best candidates for the kingdom of God. How could they come up with a complicated, tortuous way to interpret the Bible?


    What about Deut. 8:1-6?

    “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.”

    What is a spiritual cattle? What is a spiritual sheep? What are spritual stores and baskets?

    That’s irrelevant, they say. You are quote the Old Testament, which doesn’t apply any more. Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant.

    But the Bible says (Gal. 13:13-14)

    “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

    The Bible says Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law (which are poverty, sickess and spiritual death, according to Deut chapter 28). It didn’t say Jesus deprived us from the blessing of the law. In fact, it says the blessing of Abraham has come to the come on the gentiles through Jesus Christ.

    The blessing of Abraham is both spiritual and material. The prosperity of Abraham was both spiritual and material. The abundance of Abraham was both spiritual and materials. We can see in Deu 8:18

    “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he swore unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”

    As we see in Deu 28, here the Bible is not talking about “giveth thee power to get SPIRITUAL wealth”.

    Moreover, as Christians, we have inherited Abrahams blessings and promises – Gal 3:29

    “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”


    I think the interpretation of the Scripture should be balanced. Not everything should be spiritualized. Certainly God needs to be loved above anyone and anything else. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who believe God want them to be poor, and there’s no scriptural basis for that.


    What about the “camel go through the eye of a needel passage”?

    Both Matthew (19:16-30) and Mark (10:17-31) give an account to the same incident, the latter account is detailed.

    Mar 10:23 “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”

    I have heard a lot of (often conflicting) interpretations of this passage. Instead of trying to figure out the meaning by ourselves, what don’t we hear who Jesus explain himself in the next verse?

    Mar 10:24 “And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!”

    The young man couldn’t enter into the Kingdom, not because he was rich, but because he “trust in riches”.

    Can a rich man enter heaven if he doesn’t trust in riches? Certainly he can – that’s what Jesus says in the next verse:

    Mar 10:26 “And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

    Is a poor man better off in this regard? I don’t think so! A poor man who trusts in riches would still be unable to enter the Kingdom. Without God, it’s still impossible for a poor man to enter the Kingdom.

    Finally, did Jesus want the young man to be poor? Absolutely not! Jesus wanted him to give his possessions to the poor and follow him. Jesus didn’t say the young man ought to be poor. Wouldn’t he become poor if he gives everything he has to the poor? Instead of speculation, what don’t we seek the answer in Jesus’ own word? Just look at the next verse:

    Mar 10:28 “Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.”

    “And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”

    Apparently, if that rich young man had obeyed Jesus and given away all he had, he would have received 100 times what he gave!

    Again, you can receive spiritual brethren, sisters, mothers, fathers, children. But there’s no such thing as spiritual “houses” and “lands”. Moreover, had he given everything he owned, he wouldn’t have lived the rest of his life in poverty and received his reward in heaven. Why?
    Because Jesus said

    “But he shall receive a hundredfold now in THIS TIME, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”

  21. Deb permalink
    May 18, 2007

    I am glad to see that someone agrees with my take on “The Prayer of Jabez” I was in a ladies class and several women raved on how that book made a difference in their lives and it was great, and on and on. I bought the book and was very disappointed. I even commented to my husband how I thought the book promoted materialism and self-ishness. I never heard anything negative about the book, so I thought it was me who was being negative.

  22. Brian permalink
    September 29, 2007

    Has anyone cared to looked about what Lakewood Church believes in. So what if Joel Osteen is positive. I guess most of you people like watching the news and hearing about murders and rape and violence.

  23. October 27, 2008

    Excellent article on your blog post!. I just digged and stumble up as you will get more interested readers and high traffic to your blog post ! 🙂 .

    PS: Can you please on exchange buy a keyword for a friend that will lose his house on January 2009 or before…? if you he will appreciate it a lot , here is the link to PAY A KEYWORD , as he lost his job and can not find anything actually as he is over billing… 🙁 and can not pay his mortgage and will lose the house forever before 2009 …. Thanks in advance !

    Cheers ,

    Mike Freije

  24. Mark permalink
    November 4, 2008

    Please Pray for Us,
    Hello Prayer Worriers,

    My name is Mark, with my wife Esther,
    Where to start, How to start. Well, my wife was working for an aluminum plant for 14 years, I was a Wal-mart Associate for 10 years. At the end of Oct 2005 I was led by faith, a prayer, hopefully answered, to purchase a small gas and convenient store. So we did, At the time we owned our home with a 20K improvement loan attached. So we remortgaged our 90K home to buy the ‘Harp Pit Stop’ 15K, the name of our store. Not knowing what the past of the store was. We stepped in with faith. My wife
    stayed at her job till Feb 2007. I became Pop of a “Mom and Pop” store, It was more like both. My wife and I thought there would be some grants. We also thought we would get more help from lenders, Faith only
    covers so much. “I hope I am giving enough info”. The store gas sales are about $120K and the inside sales are about $105K. Not bad after finding out what this store has not done in the last 10 years. I suppose your
    probably wondering why am I writing to you, I wondering too. I’m looking for help, I suppose.. . .
    I am a Christian, This store is in a dry county, Thank God, gas dose not make any money. For example: If we
    buy gas at $2.63 a gallon we are selling it at $2.72 a gallon. Some say wow, a 9 cent/gal; No So, it cost 3 cent/gal on electric, 2 cent/gal on tank checks and about 2 cent/gal processing. So you now your 9 cents
    is now 2 cents so on gas for 120K you may have made 24K, Oh goody. Let me continue, Don’t give up on me please. See, We need gas to get them
    in, ” They will come…” But you can see my problem. 600 gallons of gas @ $2.63 cost $1578 with no cash flow, no gas flow, no customers, no grocery store. We need Help, Where do I find grants, where do find financial help with cash flow. Our credit is maxed because we were buying
    inventory that we thought would sell, What I’m learning, I hope not to late, Is that I must get them in the store first. That takes gas. Now 2 years later about 25K in inventory, 1K a month interest payments “that’s where the cash is, in the pockets of the bankers”. “They got there
    money”. Now it seems like there just waiting for me to fail or fall, I don’t know. I suppose I am asking for help from you or from God in this long letter, or who ever listens. I really don’t want to fail. It seems to
    be working, slowly, I know it is tight everywhere, But I am looking for a help; from someone who cares, there’s got be be someway where big companies help very small ones. Is there? Are we alone in this. Is there no hope for a “Mom and Pop” store any more. Any way, Now that I gave you some of my prayer request and real
    need, If you can help, or just support, Or any advice, If there is any to give. I do ask that you would pray. I also ask please write back, evan to tell me that there is no hope, except from GOD.
    We are at the end of our rope.
    Please Pray for us
    Thank you
    in tears,

    If there is any way you can help Please Help.
    God be with us all.
    15036 Hwy #9
    Malvern, AR 72104

  25. Jeanie G permalink
    December 15, 2008

    I read most of things written here. I came to this site because my church has been preaching alot about personal gain in finances and have excellent things because god wants us to be excellent. My gut and what i read in scripture contridicts theses things. Paul said i have been rich and i have been poor and it doesnt matter i am content in either. The more i read from the scripture the more i am convinced god doesnt want us to be even concerned about any finances. keeping our eyes on christ and in the word is important. Giving to others is important both in love and finance. My pastor makes me feel bad about not wanting a better house and car because its not the best. I have felt content and blessed with what i had. I think its time to find a new church.

  26. November 25, 2010

    Hi! my name is Africa Allen i get laungh at about my name all the time and people never wants to help me is because of my name i dont no why i am 34 year of age with fore kids A15 years old A 14 years old 12 yeasr old and A little 7 years old and i take care of my cousin kids too so in my house we have to share every thing even if its down to nougthing we have it hard every years sence there mommy die i have been takeing care of them and my with a little of nougthing at all it hard to shear food shoes sock t-shrit covers jackest the hole 9 yard so we did not have any thing for thankgiveings but were here so now chistmas is comeing up now im getting to the ponit where i should tell my cousin to live but then who will take care of them so i cant just do that because there mommy is my mommy sister and she die and my mommy is getting new blood every day anto thy fine out here worry so i have no help but we ate top rumens for dinnerwith no meat i cant afford meat in our house it cost to much because its too many of use in a 4 bedrooms little house but like i said i am trying for all of use please help use out we all could use bed covers shirt pants shoes sock can good all kind of meat because i cant afford no meat at all but can some one help me and give me some cash or a check for my soup kitchen for my city i can cook and pass out warm meals too who ever need food or meat for there familey dinner like mine familey i cook for about 18 person every day thats my job! and i love it and will do it for more people with kids if i had it so can some one make my dreams come true for me and my cousins and other people too any thing can help just send to this Address 8131 B Haether ave california city ca. 93505 you can send cash or a check for what ever you can help with my familey my soup kitchen thank and god bless us all! africa Allen

  27. November 25, 2010

    i need help with sock 2,000 pairs white and some T-shrits please it dont matter what kind they are becaues i want to help All school kids out with shirt and sock please send some if have any please send them too this Address 8131B haether ave california city ca, 93505 when sending put on the box Africa Allen Sock and T-shrit thanks if not white then any colors will do

  28. November 25, 2010

    Hi! if you would like too send Africa Allen 10 dollars every day to her mail box 8131B Haether california city ca. 93505 thank its for a soup kitchen

  29. November 25, 2010

    can some one send me 50,000, i will be gald you did well i am been real god said if ask and you should recives i can use this to open my soup kitchen for all teen panrents and more like soon ass school start i can pass out warm meals to all the children and when school is out i can do the same pass out warm meals and panrent too for free so i will need this 50,000 in my mail box if this is so true man i dont no what to think after this my name is Africa and i will love too help out familey in my citry and if more my courty too can some one help me to help other your just my familey that fine to 500 dollars will be fine for every day gift in the mail box 8131B haether ave california city ca,93505 make check out to Africa lee Allen or you can send me cash to

  30. November 28, 2012

    Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find
    a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  31. December 1, 2012

    God will tell you when it will be your time to win the lottery, buy a new house or drive a car.
    I won ten bucks last month I used it to buy something nice.

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