Does God want you to be rich? Before reading any further, post a comment to this article answering that question. I’ll wait . . . . Ok. I imagine the answers to this question will range from “Yes, He does” to “No, She doesn’t” to “God? There is no God.” Some will take this question very seriously, while others will view it as downright silly. Yet this question is asked (and answered) in churches throughout the U.S.
T.V. evangelists discuss this topic and authors publish books about it. In a Sunday School class at my church a couple of months ago, the teacher asked the class this question. His answer: Yes (it’s silly to think that God doesn’t want us to be rich, right?). And furthermore, the Sunday School teacher added that one will prosper by tithing to the church and then giving even more (the even more is called an offering). Now, my church doesn’t teach this. This was the Sunday School teacher’s view. Fine. But here’s what really bothers me about this question–it’s so American. Only in the U.S. do we have the time and affluence to sit around asking such shallow questions.
Last Sunday, I wrote about mega-churches in the U.S., comparing one such church to a mega-church in Nigeria. And I wonder, does the congregation in this Nigerian church ask whether God wants them to be rich? Given the starvation and civil unrest in Nigeria, I’m guessing they’re more likely to ask, “Does God want us to survive, today?” And even if they did contemplate whether God wanted them to be rich, their idea of wealth would probably look far different than our idea of wealth here in America.
I recognize that some verses can be plucked from the Bible to support the prosperity doctrine, as it is called. But when it comes to money, isn’t the message of the Bible to avoid the trappings of wealth (note, the trappings, not wealth itself), and to be content with what we have?
Not a sermon, just a blog.
Published or updated May 23, 2011.