Recently a local prosperity preacher posted the following on Face Book:
Poverty is not next to Godliness. In scripture it's most often associated with sin, disobedience or ignorance of the Word. I wonder why it's so strongly defended in so many pulpits?
I posted the response: I'd be surprised if poverty is "defended" in any pulpit as much as the presumption or demand of wealth is being advanced as if it is "next to godliness" or is some indicator of holiness or faith. Let's face it, He who was rich became poor... Thanks be to God!
The following comment was posted by a man from Texas:
It's amazing that just about all the Godly men of the Bible were also men who God blessed with great wealth! It's also amazing that when Jesus asked his disciples about feeding the multitude.. they said they only had about 200 pennyworth of money on them.. Mark 6:37
In that day a penny was a days wages, that's 200 days wages Jesus ministry had... depending on what you set the national average... Jesus would of had. So in today's wages the average worker in America gets 16 and some change an hour times 8 hours equals 168 times 200 = 33,600.00
That's a lot of money for a ministry to carry around with them... I sure wish I had that much money in my billfold!!! So don't tell me Jesus was poor... That phrase has nothing to do with money... Just saying... ;>D
Then the original poster submitted the following:
He became poor that we might be made rich. Prosperity is no sin, nor is it achieved by scripture coercion. Prosperity is a tri level thing: Natural, Soulical & Spirit. Our spirit becomes prosperous thru the act of salvation. Natural prosperity occurs as we come into agreement with our New & Better Covenant. But, as John pointed out it hinges on how willingly we direct our soul (mind, will & emotions) to prosper in the things of God. Prosperity is never a sign of spiritual maturity any more than renouncing it is. It is simply a benefit of relationship and a tool for spreading the kingdom.
The remark about the disciples in Mark 6 is a very interesting way to read that passage.
Here is what Mark 6 says in the immediate context:
Mar 6:34ff When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things. When it was already quite late, His disciples came to Him and said, "This place is desolate and it is already quite late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat." But He answered them, "You give them something to eat!" And they *said to Him, "Shall we go and spend two hundred denarii on bread and give them something to eat?"
And He *said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go look!" And when they found out, they *said, "Five, and two fish."
And He commanded them all to sit down by groups on the green grass.
They sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties.
And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all.
Note, there is nothing in the text indicating the disciples had 200 Denarii with them. Rather the statement was made somewhat sarcastically showing they were baffled as to how they were supposed to feed the multitudes. In other words,they were saying, "Do you have any idea what it would cost to feed such a crowd? Like we're going to come up with the 200 Denarii to feed this bunch." "The ministry" wasn't cash flush as the Texan stated. The disciples statement reflects where their own heads are at concerning Jesus. As we know, they didn't exactly have it all put together that Jesus was who he said He was. Jesus of course had other plans.
The Texan also overstates asserting that "…about all the godly men of the Bible were men God blessed with great wealth." Some were certainly rich, at least in the Old Testament but as you move into the New Testament we see a working class pretty much trying to make ends meet as being the norm.
The sad aspect of such a prosperity emphasis is that the over whelming majority of the world, many of whom are Jesus loving people, live very meagerly to say the least. According to the precepts of prosperity gospel, this would indicate that the majority of believers in the world aren't very faithful, and certainly aren't very blessed by God.
Don't misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with great wealth in and of itself, that is why my book is called "The PROPER Pursuit of Prosperity."
Finally--The statement the original poster put up is a bit disturbing: referring to the "blessing" of prosperity he writes: "It is simply a benefit of relationship and a tool for spreading the kingdom. Implicit in this statement is that any believer who is not experiencing prosperity is somehow deficient and that outward prosperity is to be an attractor of people to want to come to Christ. THAT is troublesome indeed.