About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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Part One

Prosperity Or Covetousness

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.

Can We Ask Jesus For Whatever We Wish?

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 and I?

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 like variety)

- 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 my list.

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 14:14 means.

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.

Part 2

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