Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Problem With Prosperity

" I spoke to you in your prosperity; But you said, "I will not listen!"

When cancer comes or the lover leaves it’s God’s fault. When there is food on the table, money in the bank, and health in relationships it’s due to personal discipline and acumen. That’s been my paradigm most of my life. Growing in my knowledge and experience of God I still teetered between two beliefs: 1) God is the giver of all good things 2) Things come my way because I deserve them.

A chunk of my life was spent on cruise control. Got married, had a kid, went to church, went to work, rode the bicycle, hugged the wife, went to sleep. I made time for prayer and bible reading, went to meetings with men and dinners with couples. Funny thing about cruise control, it’s easy to fall asleep at the wheel, to trust in pride, arrogance and the way you’ve always done things.

“God needs to heal this marriage or blow it up,” I choked out over the phone. The threat of restraining order came quickly after. Three weeks of confusion as night after night found me sleeping in hotels. Pride and arrogance weren’t much help.

The marriage blew up. At the end of my rope I was ready to listen. One of the lifelines God threw me happens on Tuesday.

I spend every other Tuesday with a bunch of men. A group of guys that pray like this, “Grant me continued humbling, brokenness and transformation.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? “Blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are those who mourn…the gentle…those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…the merciful…the pure in heart…the peacemakers…” Most of these guys were controlled by demons, drugs and even basketball. Today they count it joy to be controlled by God.

Prosperity isn’t the problem. If it were the book of Job wouldn’t end with God restoring his fortune twofold. The problem is with me. Prosperity allows me to be complacent, money in the bank fools me into thinking I’m good without God. May I remember that Jesus blessed those poor in spirit, but to the man who relied on silos full of grain he said, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you.”

Photo courtesy of:
George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

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