"God wants you to be rich and happy.” It’s a palatable message that’s gotten a good deal of traction among some Christians today. Carefully selected Bible verses can serve as proof texts for this maxim. Famous preachers and popular radio personalities perpetuate this message to listening crowds. But hidden within that appealing idea is an insidious distortion: the “prosperity gospel” that reduces Jesus’ true message to a self-serving, suffering-free version of the American dream.
That, my friends, is simply not the Good News.
Yet I find that in my reaction against the false, “health and wealth” promises of the prosperity gospel, the pendulum can easily swing too far in the other direction. Unintentionally we can function out of what I might term “the scarcity gospel”—a mindset that expects little from God. While the prosperity gospel may picture God like a vending machine, spewing forth material blessings for the few especially faithful chosen ones, the scarcity gospel turns God into a scrooge—a cosmic miser who hardly ever doles out blessings.
This, too, is simply not the Good News.
Just as our understanding of God’s blessings must be informed by the whole witness of Scripture, we must also align the way we relate to God with his true character. We serve a generous God. Reflecting on his own testimony, Paul writes, “Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was!” (). And indeed we each “know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” (), which is given to us in lavish abundance, not doled out in cheapskate fashion. From shelter to loved ones to food to laughter to freedom to our very breath, we know that truly “whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father” ().1
More Than Enough
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