Friday, March 13, 2015

Prosperity Preacher or Poverty Preacher?

Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:14

 Reporter: Would you consider yourself a prosperity preacher?
Lester Sumrall: Well, I'm definitely not a poverty preacher!

Since when is being a prosperity preacher a bad thing?

The Bible is filled with verses about us prospering, being successful, even being rich and yet if a preacher talks about those things they are just a "prosperity preacher". People talk bad about them and accuse them of not being saved or even of being used of the enemy. In fact it seems that for most people there is only one thing that a preacher can do which is worse than talking about prospering and that is for them to actually prosper.

Why is it so wrong for a pastor to be wealthy?

I specifically keep hearing people complain about Joel Osteen. People say that he shouldn't live in such a large house, that he shouldn't be rich, and that he shouldn't live a fancy lifestyle. However they completely ignore the fact that he pastors the largest church in America for free! He refuses to take a salary from his church because he recognizes that he gets more than enough from his book sales. In fact seeing that He believes in tithing he actually pays the church in order to work for them. How many of you would pay your job to keep working there? 

People generally say that the money could be used for more worthy causes, however the complaint is never made about David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, who has a sizable house himself. So basically if someone earns their wealth in a 'secular' business it is okay for them to live like they are wealthy but if someone earns their wealth in the ministry they are supposed to give it all away and live in poverty? 

The Bible says that Jesus became poor so that we could become rich! (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Paul said that God would meet all our needs in His riches! (Philippians 4:19)

Solomon tells us that if we honor the Lord with our firstfruits then our storehouses would be filled with plenty! (Proverbs 3:9-10)

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says that if we sow bountifully we will also reap bountifully!

And these are just a few of the promises regarding prosperity in the Bible, if you want more you can find them in this article

There is a consistent principle that we have to be generous with our giving and honor the Lord with our finances in order to receive full prosperity, but why should we be mad at someone who has been prosperous? I would remind you of the warning from the Psalmist:

"Do not touch my anointed ones,
And do my prophets no harm."
Psalm 105:15


  1. I would say that the issue comes not in being wealthy, but in making that our goal. Most people that have a problem with godly people being rich are the ones who are focusing on money and do not have any, which could fall under the topic of envy & jealousy. Really we need to as Paul said, "Learn to be content in any and every situation."

    Another thing that I find interesting is that people think Jesus was poor financially. Now, to be sure, you quoted 2 Corinthians 8:9 which says He became poor so that we could be rich, but I think that has more to do with a spiritual state. Jesus was separated from God so that we could be re-united with Him. As far as Jesus financial state we see Him as a baby receiving 3 gifts that would have been how people saved for 'retirement' in those days; gold, frankincense & Myrrh. All very expensive things. Then later in John 13:29 we see that Jesus had a treasurer (Judas). If Jesus had no money there is a good chance He wouldn't have needed anyone to handle it.

    1. Some good points Terence! I think that the scripture regarding Jesus becoming poor also referred to the fact that he chose to give up things for our sake. At one point He said that He didn't have a place to lay his head. This was not because He couldn't have had a home but because He chose to give that up in order to minister to people. I agree that He must not have been poor financially if He had a treasurer.