There is a dangerous trend throughout modern Western Christianity that seeks to transform the Gospel into a “get rich quick” guidebook. The emphasis on getting more “blessings” today that are “reserved for you” and “yours to name and claim” emphasizes a doctrine that says one can eliminate the pain and suffering of a fallen world through material gains. Churches conduct entire services focused on worship and prayer (and sometimes fasting) to obtain blessings, by which they mean new cars, new jobs, new spouses, new homes and so on. The focus is on getting the blessing NOW! Making this world more comfortable NOW! Having more wealth NOW!
In reality this world and all that is in it is fallen and will never be elevated above its purpose as a playground for sin and a hospital for suffering. There is a reason that Christ told us to come out of the world to follow Him. He did not say fix up this world and make it a paradise for Christians; men, even faith leaders, are fallen, selfish and broken and cannot possible clean up what Satan and we (as his willing assistants) have irretrievably broken. It takes all of our effort, with prayer and fixed purpose, to save ourselves, let alone try to create a paradise of riches on earth. Yet millions pray for a Mercedes, and a mansion while heaven awaits us with true paradise. Sadly many preachers and pastors live a life of material wealth that rivals Solomon, calling into question their own focus on Godliness and true worship.
If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23
Christianity is not a “before and after” story where one accepts Christ and then opens his or her wallet and the cash starts rolling in. Praying harder, believing stronger, fasting for days will not of themselves bring us riches. Christians will and do suffer…some of the most fervent believers (who ironically live outside the wealth of the West in places like Asia and Africa) endure enormous persecution and suffering despite their faith. There is no luxury car waiting in their driveway when they return from their underground church service. Yet they remain committed to Christ! There is no collection plate yet the power of the Holy Spirit reverberates through their services because they have a strength of faith that transcends materialism.
Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants. Isaiah 5:9
I will tear down the winter house along with the summer-house; the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed and the mansions will be demolished,” declares the Lord. Amos 3:15
Yes Christ wants the best for us and has promised to care for our needs…yet He told us not to worry or even think about them, that each would receive what he needs in this life.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26
The promise of abundance is in the next life. Why? So we do not lose focus on Him, we do not start believing that we can create more “things” through works, that we accept unconditionally what God has for us recognizing that we are all equal in His eyes but each receive according to the purpose and plan that is unique to us. When we think being a Christian means abundance, and that abundance does not flow as we expect our faith dissipates because it was built on a false foundation. I know men and women who have exhibited signs of great faith and then in the face of a tragedy have cursed God or asked “where is God?” This is a direct result of the false teachings that Christianity brings an immediate blessed life filled with earthly rewards.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20
Yes Christ can and will bless his children for their faith. But the immediate blessings are not material, they are forgiveness of signs, mercy and grace and a promised heavenly salvation filled with eternal peace and joy. Compared to a new Mercedes…which would you rather live for?
Have a blessed day!