Thursday, May 21, 2009

Name It And Claim It - The Eyes Still On Earth

It was November of 1990. I was on my way back from Chicago's O'Hare Airport, having just returned from a trip to England. I wasn't familiar with the radio station, but it was Christian. So, I settled in to pass the drive back to Dyersville, Iowa, presumably in good company.

The preacher was a wealth-and-prosperity teacher, the kind that truly believes you can name-it-and-claim-it.

Literally, he announced that people were calling in to say they had received boats, and cars, and homes! He encouraged the listeners who had not yet found the source of all good things to call with their pledge that moment. And their wildest dreams would come true.

I wondered what the poor people of third world nations would say to that. I wondered what Our Lord would say to that.

Maybe the answer is in today's noon reading.

Colossians 3:1-2
Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.

If we truly are Christ's, we don't mix up earthly gain with heavenly riches. Certainly, it is possible (especially in our country) to be prosperous and heavenly minded. But prosperity teaching actually has one fundamental flaw. The eyes are fixed on things of earth as the spirit tells itself that it is really being very holy. It is probably the worst self-delusion there is.

God gives good things, no doubt. And sometimes, those things are earthly gain. But the wise man does not confuse what it means to keep the eyes on the prize. He never presumes that being godly means being prosperous.


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