Material prosperity is proof of God’s blessing in your life.

Like most folks just starting out in life, my wife and I struggled. Car troubles, not enough food on the table, and so forth. Some older Christians in the church suggested that some sin in our lives was forcing God to withhold His blessings. A church elder told me after services one morning, “Anyone struggling financially or doesn’t have a job is proof they don’t have God’s blessings.”

The Gospel of Prosperity, or the Health-and-Wealth gospel is a teaching embraced by cults and Christians alike, and contradicts what the Holy Spirit has to say:

I was envious of the arrogant, as I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no pains in their death, and their body is fat. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like mankind. (Psa 73:3-5)

Quite the opposite of what my church elder claimed, the bible says, God “will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy He will save.” (Psa 72:13) In fact, anyone “who mocks the poor taunts his Maker.” (Prov 17:5) This doesn’t sound like God is on the side of the prosperous. Those who pooh-pooh the Old Testament would do well to remember a New Testament verse:

Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (James 2:5)

What a person owns is not proof that God is blessing them. He may be blessing them, but it's not proof. Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a person's life does not consist in the abundance of their possessions.” (Luke 12:15) The square footage of your home and number of cars in the garage is no proof of the good hand of God in your life. Conversely, if you have nothing, it’s doesn't mean that you’ve somehow displeased Him, and He is therefore punishing you by keeping you poor.

There is nothing wrong with riches but there is plenty wrong with the love of wealth. (1 Tim 6:10) Like good health, material goods are indeed a blessing from God, but they are not an indicator of those blessings.

The Prosperity Gospel is held dear primarily by individuals who have big homes, lots of toys, and healthy bank accounts. They are walking by sight, not by faith, and this teaching is embraced by them to help ease their conscience as they drive their Mercedes to church.

Now that I'm old, I drive a new car, have a nice retirement check every month, and enjoy a modicum of material prosperity. None of it fell out of the sky as a reward for being a good boy in God's sight. It all belongs to Him anyway; He's just letting me borrow it.