As a pastor, I would hope that you find other voices outside of Tri-State Fellowship to speak into your life. By that I mean I hope you find other pastors, writers, etc. who are able to communicate God’s Word clearly and meaningfully.
But man, I hope none of them are on TBN.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then I envy you. Technology has only further enabled a whole host of TV “preachers,” bloggers, and writers get famous by feeding you garbage. The very worst of it has been given a label: the so-called “prosperity gospel.” The message is simple: be good, and God will reward you with direct, financial blessing. In some cases, you might be asked to give a small offering to the preacher (after all, private jets aren’t free) and in return, you can wait for God to reward you.
Part of the reason this is so terrible is that it spreads overseas. “Obey God,” missionaries might say, “and your crops will grow.” But of course, American prosperity-pushers rarely hint at such a fallout, safe as they are behind their Colgate smiles and pressed suits.
Sadly, we’ve wallowed so much in an Oprah-fied American dream version of Christianity that we probably aren’t even aware of it. We fall victim to this same bad teaching when we see someone get married, get a new job, have a new baby and say: “Well, they really deserve it.” And of course, we might say the same thing when someone we dislike has their life fall apart.
Do you think that way? Do you see God as handing out rewards and punishments? Where does this belief come from?
Following his parable, Jesus tells his disciples this:
10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Luke 16:10-13)
Earlier we’d dealt with the unhealthy ways of viewing and handling money. But what about the flip side? Jesus says that not being faithful means no one “will entrust to you the true riches.” So…does that mean if I am faithful, God will trust me with greater wealth?
And, like many things, we’re asking the question all wrong. We’ve been thinking solely in terms of reward, when Jesus is really speaking of stewardship. So really, it’s not about what God rewards us with—it’s what he chooses to entrust us with. “So,” you might ask, “even if God gives me more, it’s still not really mine?” Exactly. But it would be foolish to think that this makes it any less of a blessing. No; the joy comes from the Person who entrusts you with the blessing, never the blessing itself.
Therefore, each of us who has received a blessing—whether financial, relational, or otherwise—can find joy not only in receiving this gift, but using this gift for the benefit of God’s kingdom.