The Health and Wealth of the Gospel?
I just got home from an Executive Retreat at a ranch in Montana. It was two long days of hardcore brainstorming and re-discovery. We went over ways our business has been exceptionally successful and ways to continue improving our inner processes and external services to others. It was exhausting, but a thoroughly inspirational journey that we all needed to take to examine who we are as a team and how we can work together to enhance our strengths and minimize our weaknesses.
As we were driving back home to Washington, my VP of Marketing asked me if I believe in the “Health and Wealth Gospel.” She said she struggled with this form of Christianity because she doesn’t think God necessarily rewards the faithful with riches and health while condemning those of little faith to sickness and poverty.
I agreed with her, but with this caveat: I know from my personal life that God had made himself fully and painfully apparent to me when I had decided that, although I believed in him, he had no say or influence in my thoughts or actions.
Like a loving father of an unruly and disrespectful youth, God yanked me up by both arms and gave me a hearty shake. How did he do this? He allowed every rebellious decision I made lead me down the wrong path to financial loss. I went from living “high on the hog” to merely scraping by. It wasn’t until I hung my head in humble sorrow that God retook me by the arms and guided me back to the right path.
Now to my VP of Marketing’s point— Do I believe God allows us loss as a punishment? —NO. Do I think God allows us loss to make a point? —YES. I have met many people who have suffered from illness or loss, who have been the better for it. It allowed God back into their lives.
God gives us these “gifts,” if you will, and hopes that our freedom of choice will allow us to accept them rather than reject them as unfavorable circumstances or bad luck. He hopes that they will bring us back to a point where we turn to Him again for direction and fellowship.
So, if you’re turned off by the “Health and Wealth” gospel, like my VP of Marketing, then turn it on its head. Most of the people that are preaching it are merely trying to say the same thing, which is: sometimes God needs to use a megaphone to reach us, and if we finally open up our ears, we’ll be more receptive to the blessings that God has put before us all along.
I believe that it’s as simple as that.
YOU MAY SAY TO YOURSELF, “MY POWER AND THE STRENGTH OF MY HANDS HAVE PRODUCED THIS WEALTH FOR ME.” BUT REMEMBER THE LORD YOUR GOD, FOR IT IS HE WHO GIVES YOU THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE WEALTH, AND SO CONFIRMS HIS COVENANT, WHICH HE SWORE TO YOUR ANCESTORS, AS IT IS TODAY. IF YOU EVER FORGET THE LORD YOUR GOD AND FOLLOW OTHER GODS AND WORSHIP AND BOW DOWN TO THEM, I TESTIFY AGAINST YOU TODAY THAT YOU WILL SURELY BE DESTROYED.