Are you successful because you studied long hours for a marketable degree, are devoted to your job and have advanced yourself based on quantifiable achievements? Or, do you believe that success is God’s Will? And, Does God care if you are rich or poor?
Apparently God does care. Recently, I watched a television ad inviting guests to an upcoming wealth seminar to learn “How God manages money”. I had never really given much thought to God’s monetary wealth, what financial instruments he uses, how much debt he carries, how he’s planning for retirement etc. Can’t God just make more money?
It seems that people around us,in your neighborhood and mine, are more and more, everyday, looking to God to to develop their financial plans and make them wealthy. They wholehearted believe that there is a direct correlation to financial and physical well-being and God. Success will happen because they are faithful, speak positively and give to their church. All will be good according to the Success Gospel dogma. There is a new spin on the Jesus Saves slogan.
Oh Lord, if were only that easy.
Andrew Carnegie espoused a gospel of wealth, where those with excess wealth had an obligation to give back to the poor. Carnegie did this in many ways. He built many libraries and community centers in an around Pittsburgh and throughout the world. He encouraged literacy and upward mobility for the next generations. One might say it was the least he could do, and it was. To his credit though, he encouraged other Robber Barons to do the same. In some little way, the rising tide he created raised all the boats.
Now we have a Gospel of Success dogma that implies that poverty is a sin. That physical illness maybe caused by not praying hard enough or giving enough. I am not particularly religious but didn’t Jesus cast the money lenders out of God’s House. Didn’t he say that blessed are the poor, for their’s is the kingdom of God? And finally, ” And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person into the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23–24). Why then the focus on wealth? Who is better because of it.
I ask you then, if you sit in a mega-church auditorium on Sunday, with it’s basketball court, gym and cafeteria, with it’s adjoining charter school campus, and the well dressed, well coiffed, finely manicured, surgically sculpted preacher whispers in her strapped on microphone how it’s God will that you should work harder and make more money, ask yourself is it for you or for her.