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.
- 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.
The right way to prosper
- Put your hands to honest work and be diligent. Instead of using that money to sow seed somewhere expecting a harvest that may never come as the case of many a person has proven, consider investing the money in some business and God will bless the works of your hands
- Find God’s will for your life and follow his leading. There God supplies every need to fulfill that purpose. There you can be confident in asking and expecting divine provision
- Tithe and give, not as a bargain but as recognition and appreciation of God as your source, and also because you want to support the work of God through financial contributions. Understanding that all you have comes from God makes giving less strenuous. God is not taking from you. He is the one that has given you the blessings.
- When you sow seed in the biblical sense of the word (2 Corinthians chapter 9), don’t throw your seed anywhere and everywhere! Sow to ministries that are doing the work of God, where the true word of God is being preached and where lives are truly being transformed. Help the poor, the orphans and the widows, the Bible calls that lending to the Lord and the Lord will repay (Proverbs 19:17, 28:27, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
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.