The issue of prosperity and wealth is one that draws fire from all doctrinal positions among believers, and has in many cases polarized sections of the church. That happens when we choose to make it a doctrinal issue. However, as a church leader, I deal with people who spend most of their waking time either looking for money or worrying about it; either working for money or trying to get money to work for them.
So, anyone who says we shouldn’t be thinking of how to create wealth or even talk about it needs to broaden their thinking on the matter. In fact, I find that purveyors of this way of thinking are people who have never experienced the effects of poverty; usually friends from countries where governments have a safety net for those who have hit hard times, and their blind followers.
Poverty dehumanizes people and gets them to lose their dignity and sense of worth. We must break the poverty mentality in Africa, and we can’t do it by continuing to beg or with erroneous, pious religion. We need a wholesome understanding of prosperity and wealth creation. We Africans are blessed to inhabit the richest continent as far as natural resources are concerned, but housing the poorest people. What has created this gap? It is unacceptable that we continue living in the shackles of poverty with so much resource around and in us.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has the world’s largest reserves of cobalt and significant quantities of the world’s diamonds, gold and copper. This makes the DRC potentially the richest country in the world. But this central African country has been ranked among the poorest and most underdeveloped countries on this planet and this is because of poor governance, public debt, budget deficits and corruption. Civilians, including large numbers of children, have been regularly forced into labour. Rebel and militia groups commit widespread human rights abuses, including rape, enslavement, torture, disappearances and killing of civilians. All this paramilitary activity is supported by external forces from the so-called rich countries, as they jostle to access these minerals at very low prices. Is the DRC really poor?
Nature abhors a vacuum. When there was no wholesome Biblical teaching on prosperity and wealth, the counterfeits took over. People have suffered untold damage under the counterfeit prosperity message which essentially is designed to benefit those that teach it at the expense of their listeners and followers. People have lost houses, cars, marriages, health, and their very livelihoods in pursuit of “the blessing.” Apparently, no one told them we are already blessed, and we operate from a blessed position; we don’t seek to be. As Andrew Wommack says, other people have interpreted this message to mean, “Get all you can, can all you get and sit on the can!”
There is now a wealth of great teachers and practitioners of prosperity, which is not a message but a lifestyle, a way of living. Some well-meaning Christians and teachers are against the “prosperity gospel” even to blindness. Obviously, they are talking about the counterfeit version, otherwise the Gospel of our Lord itself would be incomplete without true prosperity.
Trevor Waldock said that the root word for prosperity actually means “toward hope.” Now think about that! Toward hope! Since the shackles of poverty have not led us toward hope, maybe prosperity isn’t such a bad word after all.
In the scriptures and elsewhere, every time God moved in, there was flourishing and order, and every time the devil moved in, there was scarcity and chaos. Think about the Garden of Eden; that was pure prosperity until the serpent came. Everything was good, they had all that they needed, and there was no lack. That was until someone suggested they could have that which didn’t belong to them! The same happened to Abraham and his children and their children.
Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;
Abraham was just an ordinary guy from Ur of the Chaldeans until God moved in. He blessed him and he became very prosperous. This prosperity was so effective it affected his children and grandchildren. Of Isaac his son, it is written that he sowed seed in a time of famine and reaped a hundred fold. Even Jacob, who was seemingly outwitted by his uncle Laban, prospered under adverse circumstances.
Think about the children of Israel leaving Egypt. After four hundred years in slavery, they had nothing. No dignity, no alliances, no property, no money, no food, no rights, nothing! Then God moved. Overnight, they had silver and gold, clothing and shoes, and enough supplies to last them many years as they journeyed in the wilderness.
Then we see it with the Kingdom of Israel. When they walked in right relationship with God, letting Him move in their midst, they prospered. When they turned to idols and ignored God, they got into trouble. When they neglected community, and abandoned the command to take care of the weak among them and resorted to “every man for himself and God for us all,” things didn’t go so well. During David and especially Solomon’s reign, the nation was so prosperous that Solomon made silver and gold to be as common in Jerusalem as stones.
Then we have Jesus. He and those around Him never had a need that could not be met; be it tangible or intangible. There is no instance in the Bible where, when Jesus arrived on the scene, there was scarcity of anything. He seemed to carry abundance around with Him: abundance of joy, abundance of peace, abundance of power, abundance of healing and yes, abundance of resources. When the Church was born in the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit’s move resulted into an interesting scenario. No one among them lacked anything! They fully understood what it means to prosper, to have none among them in need. It was about community.
Wealth is not a figure in a bank account, neither is poverty; it’s all a state of mind. You are not rich because you have money; you have money because you are rich.
Excerpt from Straight Forward Financial Growth by Moses Mukisa
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