A couple of side notes that I wanted to incorporate into my post on Striving for the Kingdom but could not find a place to put without distracting and rabbit trailing from the main point were:
- Notice that Jesus did not ask for the man to give all of his wealth to His ministry. So the point was not about the man “giving the money and receiving the blessing of God in return” but of submission to the will of God. Think about it: this man let his possessions get in the way of following and possibly becoming another disciple of Christ. He chose his wealth over the chance to follow the Messiah, the Holy One, the most anticipated Person in all of history! How often I wish that I could have had the opportunity to meet Jesus, much less have the opportunity to follow Him, and he chose his money! Talk about a bad choice!
- Just as Christ didn’t ask the man to give all his wealth to His ministry but to the poor, neither should other true teachers of the gospel.
My article on Striving for the Kingdom was meant to address the continued emphasis I keep seeing coming up in the church on the pursuit of wealth or “blessings”. Another problem that usually accompanies this overemphasis and often outright distortion when it comes to God’s promises: the guilt and/or false promises these “teachers” put on their listeners. Example: “If you’ll just give me $100, then God will bless you with $1,000.” or “God is calling givers right now. I sense that God is calling 50 people to give $10,000 and in return God has a blessing in store for you that you’ll not be able to contain. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over.”
It infuriates me to hear men say “God says” when they know very well in their heart that God has not spoken such words.
Even more disgusting than those who promise wealth are those who promise healing or other divine aid in exchange for money. Charlatans! Wolves! It’s time for the church, especially the charismatic believers, to call these false teachers out and denounce them instead of embracing them as they currently are and allowing them to push their poisons onto the flock.
Of such men the Scripture says:
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.” (2 Peter 2:1-3) (and that’s just the beginning of what 2 Peter 2 has to say of false teachers; I encourage the interested to read the rest of the chapter)