The New York Times ran the article “Believers Invest in the Gospel of Getting Rich” on 15 August about a convention with appearances by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland.
“God knows where the money is, and he knows how to get the money to you,” preached Mrs. Copeland, dressed in a crisp pants ensemble like those worn by C.E.O.’s.
…The preachers barely acknowledged the recession, though they did say it was no excuse to curtail giving. “Fear will make you stingy,” Mr. Copeland said.
Yes, fear will make you stingy. Yes, fear can even work against faith. However, we are to be good stewards of what God has given us. Furthermore, the right kind of fear can lead us to creating solutions.
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
~ 1Co 4:2 (while out of context, it is obvious that Paul is writing this in order to support his statement in v 1).
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
~ Lk 16:10-11
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
~ 1Ti 5:8
While we are asked to sacrifice and give, we must also look after what God has given into our care in a wise but unselfish manner. When we realize that God requires a tithe as a reminder that He actually owns it all, then we can begin to appreciate the fact that we are simply borrowing what is rightly His. He owns it all, and we are just stewards of His possessions. He expects us to use His blessings and give to our family and then to others as they need (and we can afford). With the right balance and a wise approach, we can actually be a bigger blessing to the Church and to others.
Prosperity preachers want you to believe that God intended for you to live like a king. Crown Financial Ministries, while a Protestant organization, have accumulated quite a bit of wisdom in this area. They write:
It is important to discern the difference between the pride of wealth and the wealth itself. Christ never condemned the wealth; it belongs to God. He condemned the "wealthy-minded" of this world. God has made many people wealthy (both spiritually and materially), but never was wealth a sign of God’s blessing (1 Corinthians 4:9). God’s people are called to be lights. Nowhere does God say that to follow Him we are to live like kings. "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15).
~ Crown Financial Ministries. (n.d.). Suffering for Christ versus living like a king. Retrieved from http://www.crown.org/LIBRARY/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=502.
I hope and pray we can all attain to a Godly balance.