Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! Did not God choose the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him? James 2:5 (NETFull)
Grandpa took my cousin and me deep-sea fishing. The early morning salt air had our schoolboy nerves at DEFCON one. We were so consumed by fishing with Grandpa that everything took on new proportions—like the shark a man caught early on.
My young mind was etched with the shock of the deckhand beating the creature’s head on the rail. An hour later, the shark thrashed in its gunnysack and they thumped it asunder yet again. By the end of the trip the animal was still gulping for air.
More recently, a shark of a different kind became etched on my mind. A Chinese pastor in the underground church wanted to know if it was true that people are poor because they fail to claim physical blessings from God. I recalled this heresy from American televangelists, running into it in Nigeria, and here it was again. How many times did we have to beat this carnivorous lie over the head?
I coached my pastor friend from 1 Timothy 6:5 that says godliness is not a means to monetary profit. He seemed hesitant to accept my explanation—probably because our old nature never wants to let go of the comfort money buys.
I’m quick to sermonize the religion of poverty but, yikes, the shark is after me too. In my world we’ve learned to call it something other than prosperity gospel but eavesdrop on our conversations and you’ll hear about our purchases and not about the kingdom of God. We put our mouth where our money is.
I’m an animal lover and I never want to harm God’s creatures. My prosperity shark, however, is the one predator I will continually bash on the head.
Prayer: Lord Christ, make me rich in faith and poor in my concern for wealth.