Job of The Pastor.
The Forgotten Triumph of Jesus

Why God Wants Us Rich!

 This is part 1 of a longer series of posts about prosperity.
Part 1, Why God Wants Us Rich
Part 2, God Gives Power To Get Wealth 
Part 3, The Blessing of The LORD Maketh Rich 
Part 4, The Covenant of Prosperity

You can’t serve God and mammon.

Here's a scripture which, when I first read it, seemed to say that God was against us having money:

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.Matthew 6:24, KJV. (The modern translations translate mammon, apparently an Aramaic word, as, money, wealth, riches.)

Most people take this verse to mean that you have to choose between God and money, you can have God or you can have money, but you can’t have both. They think it means that God and money are opposed to each other. But that interpretation has more to do with Christian traditions about money than anything Jesus is saying. If you study it out you’ll see that what he's saying lies in the opposite direction.

Who’s your master God or The Man?

Let’s say your boss wants you to work on Sundays but you’re a Christian and you believe God wants you to be in church on Sundays, or Fridays or Saturdays or whatever. What do you do? That’s the problem Jesus is dealing with. Jesus isn’t talking about money being bad, he’s talking about who calls the shots in your life. Who’s the ultimate authority in your life, God or your paycheck, God or your job, God or the man? 

Take an easier example. Imagine your boss asks you to lie about something, or do something dishonest or crooked. What do you do? As a Christian you don’t want to lie but you’re depending on that paycheck. You need that paycheck to buy food for the kids, pay the rent, buy clothes, gas for your car. Who are you going to please? That’s what Jesus is talking about. Who’s calling the shots in your life?

Here’s a harder one. Imagine your employer wants to move you to a new city. You’re going to leave the church you’re a part of, the pastor who has helped you and go to this other city because your employer tells you to. Does it even occur to most Christians to ask God what they should do, or do they just do whatever the boss says?

That’s the problem Jesus is focusing on.

Mammon Is Lord! 

Who do most Christians serve? Sure they say, “Jesus is Lord.” They may even have the bumper sticker and the T-shirt. But when decision time comes most Christians do what Mammon says. It never even occurs to them to try and figure out what Jesus wants them to do. 

Why? Because when it comes to serving a master we pick the one who’s going to take the best care of us. We need money. We need food and drink and clothing. Traditional Christianity has told us that those things aren’t important to God. Religion tells us that they shouldn’t be important to us either. Religious experts have led us to think that the only help we can expect from God is over there, on the other side, in heaven, bye and bye.

On one side Mammon proudly proclaims, “Serve me and I’ll take care of you.

On the other side religion proclaims, “Serve God, and do without!

So most Christians choose to serve…?

The solution.

Jesus is dealing with that temptation, the temptation to put the pursuit of our material needs before the pursuit of God. His solution isn’t the absurd notion that material things aren’t important, that there are more important things in life than our material needs. He knows we have need of these things. His solution is to explain that we don't have to be worried about our material needs.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:24, NIV 

Don’t worry…

Jesus begins by telling us not to worry, not to be anxious, not to be concerned about our material needs. (The KJV has, “take no thought” but the word translated “thought” means anxious thoughts, worries, cares.

Why shouldn’t we worry?

The traditional Christian approach seems to be that we shouldn’t be worried about these things because they’re not important. Great! I’ll tell that to the landlord when I can’t pay the rent, to the grocer when I can’t pay for my groceries, to Ford Motor Credit when I can’t pay for my car… Thank God Jesus isn’t that spiritual.

Jesus tells us why we don't have to worry at the end of the verse and continues on that theme for the next several verses:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:24, NIV

Is not life more what than food?

Is not the body more what than clothes?  

Tradition tries to get us to slip in the word “important,” but the rest of the chapter makes it pretty clear that’s not what he’s saying.  And, it turns out, the Greek word translated “more” here, according to Thayer’s Lexicon means:

Thayer: 1) greater in quantity 1a) the more part, very many 2) greater in quality, superior, more excellent

Jesus isn’t saying that there are more important things in life than food or clothing. He’s saying we can be certain God will provide our material needs because He's already given us so much. We can be sure he will provide for our needs, because he's already given us much more excellent things than food and clothing, he's given us life and our physical bodies. If he's given us the the more excellent, greater in quality, more valuable, more clostly things, he'll certainly give us the less valuable things.  

A few translators get it right and see the phrase as illustrating why we don’t have to be anxious for our material needs. Here’s a good example from John Wesley’s Notes:

6:25 And if you serve God, you need be careful for nothing. Therefore take not thought - That is, be not anxiously careful. Beware of worldly cares; for these are as inconsistent with the true service of God as worldly desires. Is not the life more than meat? - And if God give the greater gift, will he deny the smaller?

And Albert Barnes’ Notes:

In the beginning of the verse he charged his disciples to take "no thought" - that is, not to be "anxious" about the supply of their wants. In illustration of this he says that God has given "life," a far greater blessing than "meat;" that he has created the body, of far more consequence than raiment. Shall not he who has conferred the "greater" blessing be willing to confer the "less?" Shall not he who has formed the body so curiously, and made in its formation such a display of power and goodness, see that it is properly protected and clothed? He who has displayed "so great" goodness as to form the body, and breathe into it the breath of life, will surely "follow up" the blessing, and confer the "smaller" favor of providing that that body shall be clothed, and that life preserved.

If God feeds the birds…

Jesus continues illustrating the certainty of God's supply of our material needs in the next verses.

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:26-27, NIV

If God clothes the flowers…

28 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Matthew 6:28-30, NIV

God will certainly take care of you.

Jesus’ solution to the dilemma of serving God or Mammon, isn’t to get us to believe that material things aren't important. His solution is to assure us that if we serve God, if we put God and his agenda first, God in turn will abundantly provide for our material needs. 

31 So do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34, NIV

God pays better than Mammon.

Jesus' answer is that God pays better than Mammon. Christians should serve God rather than Mammon because God will take better care of them than mammon. That’s what Jesus is saying.

Why I teach prosperity.

 There are a lot of reasons why God wants us to prosper but, for me, the most important is so that we can be free from dependence on the world system.

God promises us prosperity so that we can be free to serve Him.

God promises abundance to free us from bondage to The Man. 

I teach prosperity because most Christians are serving Mammon not God. The vast majority of Christians owe ultimate allegiance, have sworn undying fealty to Mammon without even giving it a second thought. 

Christians need groceries, clothes for their kids, rent money, gas for their cars, and Mammon promises them all these things.  And Mammon is a faithful god.

In contrast historic, traditional, mainstream, Christianity has taught us, that God’s not interested in those things, that God’s doesn’t care about those things, that God’s against us having nice things. 

I teach that it’s God’s will for us to prosper because I want to free Christians from serving Mammon.

I teach prosperity so that Christians will be free to serve God.

Standing alone with God in the world.

I love the boldness with which George Müller puts the case. 

Müller, the famous founder of orphanages in Victorian, England, tells,  that he would find children of God fearful of having to live in the poorhouse in old age. This was mid Eighteenth Century, Dickensian, England, so ending up in the poorhouse was not something lightly anticipated. Here’s Müller explaining why he developed the plan for opening the orphanages relying only on prayer to God for their material, financial support:

"Sometimes I found children of God tried in mind by the prospect of old age, when they might be unable to work any longer, and therefore were harassed by the fear of having to go into the poor-house. 

If in such a case I pointed out to them, how their Heavenly Father has always helped those who put their trust in Him, they might not, perhaps, always say, that times have changed; but yet it was evident enough, that God was not looked upon by them as the Living God. My spirit was ofttimes bowed down by this, and I longed to set something before the children of God, whereby they might see, that He does not forsake, even in our day, those who rely upon Him.

"Another class of persons were brethren in business, who suffered in their souls, and brought guilt on their consciences, by carrying on their business, almost in the same way as unconverted persons do. The competition in trade, the bad times, the over-​peopled country, were given as reasons why, if the business were carried on simply according to the word of God, it could not be expected to do well. 

Such a brother, perhaps, would express the wish, that he might be differently situated; but very rarely did I see that there was a stand made for God, that there was the holy determination to trust in the living God, and to depend on Him, in order that a good conscience might be maintained. To this class likewise I desired to show, by a visible proof, that God is unchangeably the same.

“Then there was another class of persons, individuals who were in professions in which they could not continue with a good conscience, or persons who were in an unscriptural position with reference to spiritual things; but both classes feared, on account of the consequences, to give up the profession in which they could not abide with God, or to leave their position, lest they should be thrown out of employment. My spirit longed to be instrumental in strengthening their faith, by giving them not only instances from the word of God, of His willingness and ability to help all those who rely upon Him, but to show them by proofs, that He is the same in our day.

 "I well knew that the Word of God ought to be enough, and it was, by grace, enough, to me; but still, I considered that I ought to lend a helping hand to my brethren, if by any means, by this visible proof to the unchangeable faithfulness of the Lord, I might strengthen their hands in God; for I remembered what a great blessing my own soul had received through the Lord's dealings with His servant A. H. Franke, who in dependence upon the living God alone, established an immense Orphan-​House, which I had seen many times with my own eyes.

"I, therefore, judged myself bound to be the servant of the Church of God, in the particular point on which I had obtained mercy: namely, in being able to take God by His word and to rely upon it. All these exercises of my soul, which resulted from the fact that so many believers, with whom I became acquainted, were harassed and distressed in mind, or brought guilt on their consciences, on account of not trusting in the Lord; were used by God to awaken in my heart the desire of setting before the church at large, and before the world, a proof that He has not in the least changed; and this seemed to me best done, by the establishing of an Orphan-​House. It needed to be something which could be seen, even by the natural eye.

"Now, if I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-​House, there would be something which, with the Lord's blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God, besides being a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted, of the reality of the things of God. This, then, was the primary reason for establishing the Orphan-​House. …but still, the first and primary object of the work was (and still is:) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith without anyone being asked by me or my fellow-​laborers whereby it may be seen, that God is FAITHFUL STILL, and HEARS PRAYER STILL…” From Answers to Prayer From George Müller's Narratives, Edited by A.E.C. Brooks

Müller opened the orphanage to prove to Christians that God would provide for their material needs. To prove to them that even while the world system, common sense, and reason screamed at them that, living for God would result in their doing without, God would take care of them. Their needs would be provided even when there was no apparent source of hope for them in the material world. Their needs would be abundantly provided even when there was no apparent, real-world, avenue through which those needs could possibly be supplied. He aimed to prove to Christians that God would provide for their needs through prayer alone. Imagine the boldness. Here’s a real prosperity preacher. 

Müller sums it up in one of my favorite quotes:

“How precious to have learned in any measure to stand with God alone in the world, and yet to be happy, and to know that surely no good thing shall be withheld from us whilst we walk uprightly!”

God promises us prosperity so that we can be free to live as he desires us to live, completely un-dependent on the world system.

I teach prosperity to liberate people from the bondage of Mammon, to free them from a life of servitude to the world system, so they can be free to serve the living God.

Next I want to begin to show you God's promises of prosperity in the Bible…

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