Iíve been asked to write an article on the possibility that
prosperity teaching might be a means of promoting a covetous lifestyle.
There are different variations of the prosperity teaching but for the
most part it states that if we have sufficient faith, we should expect to
prosper materially as well as spiritually.
Prosperity teaching is part of the "name it and claim it"
teaching taught by "ultra faith" teachers. We simply name what
we want, claim we already have it, and it will be ours. If we donít
actually get it, we act as if we have it already, expecting to get it
because we are "Kids of the King".
I donít believe "name it and claim it", "ultra
faith", or much of the prosperity teaching can be clearly found in
the New Testament. Let me explain why.
A number of times Jesus said, "ask and you will receive".
Does this mean we can ask and expect to get whatever we want?
"Expect" being the key word here.
First of all, as Christians we are servants of Jesus. (John 13:6)
Servants serve. They donít demand. Yes, we do serve a loving Master, but
loving doesnít mean foolish. We donít raise our children by giving
them everything their hearts desire. Weíd think that would be unhealthy
and counter productive, so why should Jesus act less prudently than you
We need to look closely at what Jesus said with a clear understanding
of His actual words. Jesus, in John 14:14 says this. "You may ask for
anything in my name and I will do it". (NIV) Iíve been told that
ask for anything means ask for anything.
So hereís my latest list;
- a round neck Dobro guitar (Iíve got a square neck Dobro Ė just
want the round neck one too)
- a wah wah effect pedal for my electric Fender guitar (Iíve got other
electronic effects Ė just donít have that one)
- my own Canon Rebel Digital camera (my wife Dianne has one, but thatís
herís Ė I want my own)
- more music CDís (Iíve already got about a thousand CDís Ė I
- a brand new Dodge Caravan (just got a 2002 Caravan, but a brand new
one would be nicer)
- a new computer with a sound studio program so I can produce my own
music CD with my new Dobro guitar
- lots more money because I plan on adding to this list.
Iím not convinced that Jesus is obligated to give me everything on my
list as if He were Santa Claus. Santa Clause might even shake his head at
Jesus didnít quite say, "ask for anything". He said
"ask for anything IN MY NAME". What does that mean?
Hereís a simple analogy to explain my point. My friend Ken is a
retired plumber. Lets say that Ken has his own plumbing business and you
and I work for Ken. When he sends us out on a plumbing job, we are working
for him, not ourselves. We represent Ken and we had better represent him
properly if we want to keep our jobs.
If while on a job we need some plumbing pipe, we call Ken and ask him
for more pipe. He comes over and gives us the pipe so the job will be done
right. If I ask Ken to buy me a new Dodge Caravan so my wife and I can
cross the country taking photographs with our new Canon Rebel Digital, I
donít think heíd agree. Buying us a new van has nothing to do with the
job at hand and his business. Remember, we are working for Ken, or in
"Kenís name" Ė "Kenís Plumbing Company." He will
give us everything we need to do a job, but beyond that, he is not
obligated to give us anything we want.
We bear Jesusí name as we represent Him to the world. He will give us
what we need to properly represent Him, but beyond that I donít believe
Jesus is obligated to give us just anything we want. Thatís what John
Iím not saying Jesus will never give us nice things. Iím saying He
is not obligated to do so, and we shouldnít expect Him to do so. It is
His prerogative to do as He wishes. Heís our boss.
Prosperity teaching just might be an encouragement for us to covet what
we may not need.