As you well know by now, I believe it is God’s will for His children to walk in full health, peace, and prosperity. (Which includes finances too.)
To me personally, that was never a hard concept to grasp.
I could see it from the first time I started to dive into to the Bible that God wants us prosperous, in fact, I don’t think anyone taught me to think like that, I could just see it in the Word.
I was actually shocked when I started hearing people talk about how Jesus was poor, so we should be poor, poverty is holy, etc.
Hold up, Jesus was poor?
When I started hearing about this “school of thought” I remember thinking to myself, “Wait, I don’t think Jesus was poor. Jesus had a treasurer (Judas.) And poor people don’t need treasurers.
And I know there was lots of money in there because Judas was stealing from it and no one noticed.”
In Luke 8 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Suzanna, and many others followed JC and the crew and “contributed from their own resources to support Jesus and His disciples.” – So there was also money coming in from the Real Housewives of Capernaum too.
Then in 2 Corinthians 8:9 the scripture tells us, “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.”
Oh Travis, he’s talking about spiritual riches there.
Go look it up yourselves, that word “rich” there is from the Greek word plouteō which means: rich, as in money and in abundance.
Jesus, a successful entrepreneur
I remember reading 2 Corinthians 8:9 and thinking, ya that makes sense. He probably WAS rich!
He was a carpenter, (Mark 6:3) and like most people in that day, they would apprentice in their youth, and then go and start their own business in that industry.
Jesus knew the promises in the Old Testament like Deuteronomy 28:8 which says that “…Whatever you put your hand to will prosper,” and when Jesus puts His hand to a business, let’s face it… it’s gonna prosper.
He knew that Isaiah 48:17 says, “The Lord teaches you how to profit, and leads you in the way you should go.”
His real Dad (aka God) taught Him how to profit and be a successful business man, and of course Jesus was tither, so the window of Heaven was open above Him pouring out blessing far beyond His needs. (Malachi 3:10)
And I think it’s safe to assume He was a generous giver too, which caused blessing to flow to him as well. (Luke 6:38)
So ya, of course He was rich! He walked in abundance, not lack.
Then on the cross, He took on the curse of poverty, sickness, and death, for our sakes, so that through His new found poverty, He could make us rich, through His new found sickness, He could make us well, and through His death we could have everlasting life.
SIDENOTE: Ever notice no one struggles with the “through His death we could have everlasting life” part?
It’s the first two parts of the curse (redemption from poverty and sickness) that doesn’t sit well with people.
It’s not that they don’t like the thought, it’s simply that they aren’t experiencing wealth and health so they want to justify their situation, because of course, it can’t be their fault right?
One of the main “controversies” if you will, against the prosperity teachings is found in Matthew 19:16-26, sometimes we call it the story of the “Rich, Young, Ruler.”
In verse 24 we find the scripture most commonly used in the anti-prosperity message, where it speaks about the camel going through the eye of the needle.
Let’s take a quick look and I’ll explain:
Jesus told him,“If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”
25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.
26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”
When a reporter interviews someone who preaches prosperity, or when someone who doesn’t believe that God wants His children to prosper in all areas, they always bring up verses 23-24. We’ve seen it time and time again.
Maybe I’m different, maybe I’m just so immersed in this way of thinking, but to me, this set of scriptures is not saying we can’t be wealthy AND go to heaven, to me it clearly says something else.
Take a closer look
1. Jesus didn’t say it was impossible for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, He said it is very hard. – To me, that means it can be done, it’s just…hard.
2. I can see why it’s difficult, often rich people feel like they have all their needs met, so why do they need God? It’s easy to put your trust in riches, so that way of thinking will have to be corrected, okay, I get that.
3. The “eye of the needle” thing, I just figured he was using a metaphor, reiterating its difficulty, (verse 24, “I’ll say again,” – meaning, I’ll repeat what I just said) I later found a commentary that confirmed that. (see below)
4. I think its interesting that every Christian ever, knows and quotes verse 26, “But with God, all things are possible!” – But no one realizes that’s actually a money related scripture.
But doesn’t that shut down the argument?
On his own, the rich young ruler couldn’t enter the Kingdom… but with God all things are possible.
Isn’t that how it is for all of us? NONE OF US can get there on our own, poor OR rich!
It’s impossible for ANYONE to be saved without God. (In Verse 25 they ask “Then who in this world can be saved?”) – The answer is we ALL have to do it with God, it’s the only way possible.
The camel thing
According to the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible (Which if you don’t have one, click the link and get it, it’s my absolute favorite study Bible) the “eye of the needle” is an old Jewish proverb used to express great difficulty or impossibility.
In the large gates in the city walls were small narrow ones, each called the needle’s eye, through which a camel might enter if it were kneeling down and unloaded.
The wrap up
I just bring this up because I want mindsets to be changed.
It seems as though even my generation (people in their 20’s and 30’s) STILL have a misconception on money and its importance.
Life isn’t all about money, absolutely not.
But through Jesus, living an abundant life has been made available to us. Why would we leave that benefit on the table?
When you live the life of prosperity that Jesus gave us access to, your life will be full of peace, health, and prosperity.
When your life is full of those things, it will spill out and overflow into the lives of others.
You will become a “blessing agent” helping others obtain peace, health, and prosperity as well.
You will bring the Kingdom of God into your environment and situation.
Jesus was a blessed business man, it’s okay for you to be too.
Read this next: Activating God’s Promise for Increase