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EARTHLY PROSPERITY AND CHRISTIANITY

Tolu Idowu April 21, 2020


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I want to be a Billionaire, Billionaire yeah! We all love, want and need money. Money makes the world go round. Money is the wheel of evangelization. Money this, money that. I work to feed, clothe and house myself and family. I also work to earn enough money to buy a good laptop, pay internet bill, children’s school fees and several other bills, buy a good car and get all the good things of life in general. But then, one fact is sure, the “good things of life” tend to be unending.  Economists say it is insatiable. God is a God of prosperity. I can prove this to you from  the scriptures where God showed a lot of care for people, humans like you and I, on their path to prosperity. Abraham (Gen 12:1–3; 17:1–8), Jacob (30:25–43), King Solomon (1 Kings 3:1–15), and Job (Job 42:10–17).

 

GOD IS NOT AGAINST PROSPERITY

 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not in any way against earthly prosperity and neither should Christians. We should also notice the fact that God did not put prosperity at the forefront of human salvation. The book of Deuteronomy is filled with God’s promise of an abundance of food and security  if His people will live according to His laws. The book of Deuteronomy Chapter 28 Verse 12 – 14 says:

“The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands…if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them”.

 

IS EARTHLY PROSPERITY FOR CHRISTIANS?

Please try and get me right. Christians and non-Christians alike are meant to enjoy the prosperities of the earth. The earth is the Lord’s and everything therein and if we belong to the Lord, then the earth belongs to us. We should, however, take great care in how we handle earthly prosperity. Christianity did not start in the Old Testament but in the new, we only needed the Old Testament to know about God the Father and His plan of salvation. The Jews during the time of Jesus made a lot of mistakes that Jesus had to correct in every way he could while on earth. The Jews have always believed that poor people are suffering for a sin, either those they committed or the sins of their forefathers. In other words, if you are rich and wealthy, you are enjoying the grace and blessings of God. This can, in turn, be interpreted into the fact that poor people are sinful while the rich are the saints. Jesus saw this in the Jews when on earth and he tried his best correcting  them. Having lots of material possession is not evil, but then when you have lots of these possessions, Jesus is saying, something is wrong with your Christian life. I will be frank and direct about this. There is a story of Jesus and a rich young man in the Bible, specifically in Gospel of Matthew 19:16–30, the Gospel of Mark 10:17–31 and the Gospel of Luke 18:18–30, where Jesus was asked by the young man, “Master, what must I do to be saved?”. The answer Jesus meted to the question was simple, “Keep the commandments” he said. But the rich young man persisted asking what commandments? Are they not the same that he had kept since his childhood and Jesus said yes? Then he asked again what else is required of him to enter eternal life and Jesus dropped the bombshell, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” The bible concluded the short story by saying “when the young man heard this, he went away sad because he was VERY RICH”

I may be wrong and you are free to correct me in the comments below but I think Jesus was only saying the rich young man need not be rich if he wants to be perfect. Take for instance again, the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-9) Jesus visited Zacchaeus and this was a man that everyone sees as a great sinner because he collects tax for Rome. A short man who wants to see Jesus by all means and had to climb a tree so he could be higher than the crowd. Jesus noticed him and dined with him and friends in his house. Zacchaeus was filled with joy and although Jesus had visited him and must have talked a lot, the words of Jesus in Verse 9 of that Gospel passage did not come out of Jesus’ mouth until Zacchaeus said the words he said in verse 8 of the same passage. Zacchaeus, in joy, promised Jesus and everyone present that he would give away HALF of everything he owns to the poor and that if he has cheated anyone, he will pay him back FOUR times. Zacchaeus’ words that day can be reframed as Zacchaeus saying “I will give out everything I have to the poor.” This is because Zacchaeus was a tax collector and he must have cheated so many people, especially the poor. Paying them back in four folds out of the half of his properties left (After giving half to the poor already) means he will most likely be left with little or nothing. Then Jesus calls that SALVATION?

Jesus Christ has shown us; throughout the gospels that the true riches Christians need to chase after are the eternal riches, the divine prosperity. The rich fool Luke 12:16–21, the rich man and Lazarus Luke 16:19-31, the Pharisee and the tax collector’s prayer Luke 18:10, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven Matthew 19:23-26, Mark 10:23-27, how riches kill God’s word in us Mark 4:18-19, Luke 8:14, He has sent the rich away empty Luke 1:53, Do not store up treasure where moth can eat it Matthew 6:19-21, Stop worrying about what you eat and drink Luke 12:29-31, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness Luke 11:41.

From other parts of the New Testament, several quotations tell Christians to be careful in dealing with earthly prosperity and riches. Check the likes of 1 Timothy 6:17, 1 Timothy 6:7, James 1:10-11, James 5:1-4, James 2:6, James 5:5-6 and several others.

 

There are people in our world of today, who have gathered Millions and Billions of dollars through hard work and they decided to give it all away, yes I mean ALL. I am not talking about Zuckerberg or Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, I am talking about real givers who have no strings attached and who gave and gave until they have given ALL they have. The likes of:

 

  1. Frano Selak from Croatia who escaped death seven times and later won $1million in a raffle draw. He gave everything he had away and falls back to his home town, Petrinja, to live with his wife with peace of mind.
  2. Jon Pedley, a UK millionaire who found God after an accident left him in comatose for some time. He emulated his Ugandan philanthropist friend and gave away everything he had. In 2010, He sold all of his farmhouses and mansions and moved to Uganda to live in a mud house.
  3. Percy Ross, who gave out $30million in 1999, which happens to be all of his money before he died in 2001. He started a column where poor people write to him and he sends them money until he gave all.
  4. Yu Pangolin, a Chinese real estate man who gave away everything that is remaining of his wealth, totaling $470 million in 2010 to his charity foundation. He decided that none of his money will be left for his children and or family.
  5. Chuck Feeney who has given away $7.5 Billion since 2016 and everything he has will close down in 2020.
  6. Yevgeny Plushenko who left all he had and walked to Jerusalem on foot and after 3 years, he completed his journey from Russia. He has retired to a monastery in Greece and he is now a monk.

 

The list can go on and on. Who do you think Jesus will tell “Salvation has entered your house today?” Is it these people that gave up everything or those who have Billions stored up in their houses and come to church every day shouting “ thank you Jesus, I love you, Jesus”?

Truth be told, you can live in abject poverty and tattered penury and still ride Ferrari into the deepest parts of hell, yes! Poverty is not a criteria on the list of heaven’s visa requirements. Living on earth can never give you the opportunity as a christian to amass earthly riches, except your Christianity is so low on its gasoline, spirituality. How can you not see people who are in need? How can you have an excess of 10 million (of whatever currency) lying in your home or bank doing nothing? If your spirituality has outgrown your religious life, you will always remember that “you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

Lastly I will say live, enjoy life, kill chicken, cook fried rice, zip wine, attend parties, buy nice cars, but never ever let any money lie around in your home or bank account without giving it out! When you have such, you are a RICH FOOL.

 

 


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