Prosperity Theology?

I lead seminars for pastors I frequently talk about our shepherds who experienced God’s blessing when they faithfully served the Lord. I sometimes wonder if my remarks are construed as promoting Prosperity Theology. Despite this concern, I can’t help but share the fact that God blesses our shepherds. The following is an example. I’m quoting verbatim from a shepherd’s weekly ministry report.

“I had not participated in house church seminars for a while because I live in a small apartment and felt that I could not provide adequate accommodations for seminar participants. But during my times of prayer, and especially during the Three-Strand Prayer Meetings, I was convicted that I was depriving our house church members of God’s blessing by not participating in the seminars. So I decided to participate and offered my home to a seminar participant. I took two days off from work and served in the kitchen during the seminar. It was fulfilling. The day after I saw off my apartment guest, I got a call from my attorney at work. He said that my visa status, which had not clearly been resolved, was settled. I was so happy I felt I could fly. God seems to reward people who serve Him faithfully no matter what the circumstances might be.”

We frequently hear testimonies like this from our shepherds.

There are two kinds of blessings from God: earthly blessings and heavenly blessings. The former includes health and wealth. The latter includes fellowship with God, peace, joy, wisdom and power that comes from above. Needless to say, the latter is far more important than the former. But it is not right to brush the former aside as not being true blessings.

God wants to bless His children. God wants to bless them with both earthly and heavenly blessings. So when we are under His rule, we can expect blessings, both earthly and heavenly, because He can’t help but bless. Blessing is a part of His nature.

Jesus and the Apostle Paul did not enjoy earthly blessings; Jesus was poor and Paul was physically ill. But Jesus was poor by his own choice and Paul’s difficulty was designed by God to make him weak so that he could be strong by trusting God. They were not less blessed, because they enjoyed more abundant heavenly blessings.

When we experience difficulties instead of blessings, even though we serve Him faithfully, we must conclude that we are under God’s special grace just like Jesus and Paul. When our earnest prayers are not answered and we continue to struggle in finances and in health, we must conclude that we are being blessed with heavenly blessings. Because God cannot help but bless us.

God cannot withhold blessings from His children because it’s against His nature. So even when we are under difficulties, even when we are persecuted, we can thank God and rejoice, because we can have faith that God is being glorified and His mission accomplished through our sufferings.

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