The offense of the Prosperity and Seed-sowing message

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I believe in prosperity if I am to define what it means to me. To have enough to fulfill God’s purpose for my life is prosperity. To have abundance so I can be a blessing to others is prosperity.
I have an aversion to poverty, lack and want, and I believe it is a basic human desire to have one’s needs met. Churches and Para-church organizations do good work when they try to alleviate sufferings by educating, clothing and feeding the poor.
Everyone accepts God knows no lack or want and since he is the one that supplies the needs of his children, Christians should not be destitute. Except in cases of persecution and in some situations when in stepping out to follow God lack and want can be some of the challenges, poverty and destitution are never truly godly lifelong circumstances.
If someone takes an oath of poverty, that’s their choice and decision, not God’s ordination for them.
Then why is the prosperity message so repulsive to many Christians?
I believe it is the extravagance, self-indulgence and manipulations that sometimes accompany the prosperity preaching. The fruit of the message in the life of its most outspoken proponents is most of the time not godly. The need to “prove” one’s prosperity through fashionable clothes, latest gadgets, a fat bank account, expensive cars is where the message very much draws to itself those who are motivated by lust, and at the same time pushes away those who believe the Bible is against greed and covetousness.

A look at some of the fruit of the extreme emphasis put on the concept of financial prosperity would tell anyone that there is a problem somewhere.

  • Vanity
  • Covetousness
  • Greed and competition
  • Material possession as “proof” of one’s spirituality

The story of George Muller is one of inspiration and a slap to some prosperity preachers today. George Muller never had a bank account, he did not organize fundraisers, and received no fixed salary, but he is famous for building large orphanages and sponsoring the distribution of bible tracts around the world and supporting schools and missions.

He believed God led him to do what he did and trusted him for the provisions. God did it through people’s willing donations, and never through twisting of scriptures, threats and deception

Some things are needs depending on the occasion, but when they are gotten just to gratify the flesh and to prove to others that we are prosperous, it becomes sinful.

The unscrupulous seed sowing motivation strategy

During a fundraiser for a program, Pastor asks people to give or pledge the sum of fifty thousand francs. Some people come out, but they are not enough to raise the needed amount.

Pastor then tells a touching story of a man somewhere who had given that amount some previous year and God blessed him for that giving so much so that the man is now paying tithes in millions.

When he says that, more people come out and pledge to give. Why? The motivation changes from simply giving to support the work of God, to “sowing” thousands so that millions can be harvested later on. Pastor knows well this method works, that is why he employs it.

There should be no mincing of words when calling this manipulation. Pastor does not care about the giver or whether the giver eventually gets the promised harvest. Pastor’s goal is to get the money out of the giver’s wallet. Period.

Many people today regret having fallen prey to such tactics before. The money they could have used to start up an income generating business was sowed as seed and the harvest never came, and the prosperity they were promised never materialized.

Even more painful are the many people who are still waiting and hoping that one day the harvest will come. They have been sowing for years and are being promised to be patient.

The shortcoming with this seed sowing motivation is the failure to see that people can still give willingly and bountifully, without threats and coercion. The giving springs out of appreciation for the goodness of God, out of a desire to see his work progress.

It is an indication of a faulty relationship with God when Christians have to be threatened or manipulated to give for the kingdom of God. People who have come in contact with the unconditional love and goodness of God cannot help but be bountiful givers. It flows out of a love relationship and a grateful heart, not out of a selfishness to have one’s money multiplied or to get God’s favor.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 KJV

7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work

It doesn’t glorify God when people are manipulated to give to his work. God is not glorified in that kind of work. He knows how to provide for his kingdom work, and he has chosen to work through willing and cheerful hearts; that is the kind of giving that gets reward.

Finances are a blessing when they are used within biblical boundaries. Any teaching that encourages and promotes greed and covetousness is not of God.

The Bible calls us to keep ourselves free from the love of money. We are instructed to keep away from the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.

Jane

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