Thursday, April 24, 2008

Prosperous thinking

I'm going to take a break from what has become my regularly scheduled programming about Democratic elections, moronic Presidents, racial discussions, and the like. Instead, God has put something on my heart that I have to get out. Bear with me.

Lately, I've noticed somewhat of a deluge of -- what I would consider -- bad teachings and off-doctrine regarding the idea of being prosperous. From Leroy Thompson's "Money cometh to me now" proclamation to Crefalo Dollar (how appropriate of a name is that?), the message that seems to persist is that what you've gained materially is somehow indicative of your walk with God. Your faith, obedience, and willingness to sacrifice for God (i.e. contribute to a multi-million dollar life center before you pay your own light bill) gets translated into material as a reward for your efforts. At least that's what being taught. But I submit to you that God is not a vending machine, where you pop in some money, hit a few buttons, and watch every little thing you've ever wanted crank out (frankly, I'm glad God isn't a vending machine. Have you seen some of crap that comes out of those things?). To me, understanding God is understanding that God is not a machine. He is not programmed to respond to our stewardship. If vending machines don't give us what we paid for, we can get our money back. But God is not required to give us a single thing. He does it because of His love for us; not because of what we put into it.

I was reading a piece about prosperity where Old Testament Joseph was used in the discussion. Before I get to crux of it, let me give you the Reader's Digest version of Joseph's life:

Joseph was sort of a "daddy's boy" who received favor above all of his brothers. It didn't help his case much when he started having dreams about ruling over his already pissed brothers. In their jealousy, they sale Joseph to a merchant named Potiphar. Potiphar then grants Joseph authority over his house when he's away on business. Things are well with Joseph for a while until Potiphar's wife tries to get her groove on with him. When he resists, she frames him. He's subsequently arrested and jailed. Once in jail, he's placed in charge of the other prisoners and -- after being able to translate enigmatic dreams haunting the Pharaoh -- is rewarded with royal favor.

This fascinating story aside, what struck most to me is that Joseph -- like the rest of us -- didn't need to be in high positions in order to receive favor of prosperity. Joseph was just as prosperous as a slave and as a prisoner as he was in being one of the Pharaoh's chief officers. Location, material, and social positioning are NOT what makes us prosperous.

Prosperity is not calculated by what we have or where we are in our lives. While I jokingly suggest that money is the root of my happiness (to some extent, I'm serious about that though), my approach to living prosperously isn't dictated to by bank accounts. We can have the nicest homes, drive the flashiest cars, and wear the most stylish clothes and still be out sync with God's standards of living. The accumulation of stuff is an inconsequential definition of prosperity when you compare it to being in God's will and being as close to Him as possible through our daily walk. For me, the most definitive aspect of prosperity is not what I drive, spend, wear, or cash out. It's knowing that the people I see, the places I go, and the things I do were blessed by God's hand being in the mix. When I become a better person because of the God that is in me, my life has increased; regardless to what my monthly bank statements may say.

- ACL

5 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Joslyn said...

Hey Andre, good post.

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:9-11"

God didn't specify a monetary blessing in this scripture. Some of the blessings that I've received have more to do with:

* Moving to Atlanta with nothing but an acceptance letter and having an amaxing matriculation at a prestigous University

* Having some of the most amaxing friends and relationships

* Having amazing happiness and joy from the moment I wake in the morning

* Being in a position to help others

*Getting through the death of a parent and learning and leaning on God succesfully

Some of the blessing money JUST CAN'T BUY. These are blessings that I wouldn't trade for the world. I agree, blessings don't just come in dollars and cents.

:)

Joanne said...

Andre/Joslyn,

Wonderful words from the both of you. It's always a powerful thing when God allows us to use illustrations from our daily lives to reveal something. Equally refreshing is that you are both well grounded in the Word even at your young ages. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

To address your points: you're absolutely right! As we continue to walk with God, our focus needs to be less on the unsteadiness that comes with material (here one day, gone the next) and more on the steadiness of living in God's word. Money and possession can be good, especially when it comes to blessing others. But it's not the most important thing. Not by a long shot.

Cynthia said...

Great post Dre. The only sure fire way for our souls to prosper is by walking in the truth; that truth only found in God. Those ministers who preach otherwise scare me. The people who follow their twisted doctrine are even worse.

Greeneyes said...

Andre` My Greeneyed Handsome Man ,

Great post , interesting view .

I have always learned that you do

not do good things just trying to get to

heaven or closer to GOD,there is

not check list ,or money donated

amount,or good deed that elevates

one over another .It is the way

one choses to live their

life ,and their choices in life

that balance it out .

We are to be the best /God Like/do

the right thing / Love:help one

another ,etc and follow the the

path he has chosen for us ,in

doing this, the decisions come easy.


Greeneyes

Kenya said...

Preach Andre! Just to show you how prosperous preaching the truth is, I'm gonna start passing the collection plate. :)