Delaware is a place of great contrast pertaining to the lifestyles of its residents. One may travel any of the countless back roads and come upon a sprawling lavish abode, only to find the next dwelling to be something of a care worn hovel.
The interesting part is, rich or poor, folks often talk about being “blessed.” So the question becomes, “How can the owner of the mansion AND the occupant of the dilapidated shack both view themselves as being ‘blessed,’ and do either or both have an equally valid argument?”
The false teachers and profiteers who degrade Christendom with the so-called “prosperity gospel” have hijacked the very meaning of the word. And in doing so, a large section of the “church” has come to believe that money, i.e. one’s material possession is the equivalent of being blessed.
The word itself, “bless,” has a rich and intriguing etymology and was originally taken from the Old English “bletsian” or “bledsian,” meaning “to consecrate, make holy, give thanks.” There are, moreover, indications of Proto-Germanic influence from “blothisojan,” to “mark with blood.”
Additionally one finds the word and its derivations used in biblical translations to represent either the Latin “benedicere,” or the Greek “eulogein,” both meaning “to speak well of, to praise,” and/or the Hebrew “brk” meaning “to bend (the knee), worship, praise, invoke blessings.”
The understanding of bless or blessing later became to “pronounce or make happy” and eventually within much of the post-modern Christian community has come to mean “a sizeable bank account attendant with an affluent lifestyle.”
Amongst the perils of this “prosperity gospel” as one watchdog fittingly writes is that, “… the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite – God uses the believer. Word of Faith or prosperity theology sees the Holy Spirit as a power to be put to use for whatever the believer wills. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person who enables the believer to do God’s will.”
Nowhere is the erroneous prosperity message more evident than in the televangelist’s fundraising practices, e.g. Daystar TV’s annual Spring Sharathon (some might submit “Shame-athon”). The purveyors of the quasi-Christian networks routinely share bizarre and esoteric anecdotes of how they were blessed with enormous monetary windfalls when they have “stepped out in faith.”
In turn they assure their viewers the same sort of blessing – throwing in the obligatory biblical pretext which is always wrenched with great violence from its intended context – if they will plant their “seed” in the broadcaster’s “ministry.”
The fact of the matter is the only ones who end up being “blessed” with great fortune are the hucksters who fleece the flock, much of which is indeed faithful, but misguided.
From the Scriptures, the final authority on all matters of truth, come warnings about storing up earthly treasures; caveats about loving/worshipping mammon instead of focusing on what are called the “true riches;” those which are stored up in heaven where moth, rust, and thieves can neither steal nor destroy them.
The Apostle Paul strikes the balance and settles the argument, when he writes, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Neither much nor little constitute blessing. That comes only by embracing Christ as Savior, then walking obediently in His truth.