Preaching Prosperity? Or Pimping the Pulpit?

Today, I read this interesting post by Sarah Gilbert about so-called “prosperity gospel” over on God says: You’re not rich (yet). She was commenting on this story in the New York Times about Kenneth Copeland’s Ministry. Good stuff to read.

As for me, I think the most important part of this is to expand our definition of what prosperity is. Of course, most people identify the concept with money and lots of it. I once heard a minister say: “If you don’t like people with money, you’ll never be one of them.” Soon as I write that, I realize it sounds like she’s about to pass the plate around. But within the context of that message, what I got out of it was: it’s incongruent to have a negative attitude about money (or anything you want) and expect to attract it into your life. Her lesson to us that day was to pay attention to our thoughts.

Back to the broader definition of prosperity. My definition is this: Simply to have enough of what you need when you need it. Not too much. Not too little. Enough.

Think of a plant. It needs both sunlight and water to grow — to prosper. Too much or too little sunlight or water, it withers and dies. Now, as it grows, its needs change — it will certainly need more water than it once did. But there is a balance it must strike in order to PROSPER. This is above “right” or “wrong” — this is Natural Law. It’s God in action.

So by the same token, there are a variety of things we need to prosper — clean air and water; shelter, nutritious food. Love. Family and friends. Other things that you and The Author agree upon for this part of your spiritual journey. And as Jesus taught us: As you sow, so shall you reap. So in prospering others, we are prospering ourselves. That’s Natural Law. It’s God in Action.

Like Sarah wrote in the above-linked posting, I don’t care for grifters who masquerade as preachers. Conversely, I do think a pastor can set a powerful example by living humbly and channelling large sums of cash into uplifting a community. That’s a ministry I could believe in. And they’re out there. Let’s face it: Churches (and their pastors) need money to survive, just like the rest of us. But as for my soul’s development, my job is to be a giver, and trust that God’s resources get to where they are most needed.

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