Lessons regarding wealth and prosperity are popular today, and they teach it is God’s will for every Christian to be materially wealthy and that they will never have to experience any type of sickness.
This doctrine will always have it’s appeal, but is it a teaching consistent throughout the Bible. You can come up with any doctrine if you take a few verses out of context. But the question is, as you match up scripture with scripture, does it match up?
My contention is that it fails the test.
All that we have to do is to look at some key figures in the Bible who were considered blameless and righteous in their time.
Let’s first look at Noah, the man who built the ark. When the waters came and destroyed the earth, Noah lost almost everything he owned. When he and his family got off the ark, he had to start all over again, planting new crops and waiting for the few edible animals to reproduce. This doesn’t sound like a wealthy, prosperous family – at least at this time of their life.
Then look at Job, who lost all of his possessions and developed major health issues all because Satan was allowed to attack God’s poster child of faith.
Then there were the prophets of the Old Testament who were many times destitute and imprisoned for their faith. Hebrews 11 says it best when speaking of those who made it into the “hall of faith.”
Starting in verse 37 it reads, “They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith.”
In the New Testament, we can look at the life of Jesus himself and then look at his disciples. We don’t get the picture of being prosperous except in the spiritual sense.
Then read about the early church with its many financial struggles and its members’ bodies constantly abused.
Then read about the Christians throughout the centuries all the way to present and see if you find lives dominated by health, wealth and prosperity.
Can the Lord choose to financially bless some more than others? Of course. Can the Lord heal those who he chooses to heal? Of course he can. But God is God, and we are not – and we need to remember that he chooses to act as he will.
So you may ask, what is promised to those who follow Christ in our time? Even though the Bible doesn’t teach financial prosperity it does teach us that if we put Christ first in our lives, our needs will be met.
It also teaches us this life is so short compared to eternity and in eternity we will be given new perfect bodies. It teaches us that there is no comparison between this life and what God has in store for believers in heaven.
The Bible teaches us that true prosperity is falling in love and building a relationship with our heavenly Father, and then he meets our deepest needs.