Monday, March 24, 2008

Guard Against Greed

It seems that there has been quite a bit of controversy in regard to some of the most prominent Word of Faith ministers. The U.S. Senate has called their tax-exempt status and their integrity into question because of the outlandishly lavish lifestyles that they appear to lead. People have been captivated by the prosperity message over the years to the point where they have given inordinate amounts of money to these ministers in hopes of becoming rich themselves. It is amazing how these ministers pick and choose from the Bible just what they need to justify their greed, while ignoring basic Bible truths.

Luke 2:15 NIV says:

15. Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

The Amplified says:

15. And He said to them, Guard yourselves and keep free from all covetousness (the immoderate desire for wealth, the greedy longing to have more); for a man's life does not consist in and is not derived from possessing overflowing abundance or that which is over and above his needs.

The Message Bible says:

15. Speaking to the people, he went on, "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot."

I am definitely not of the belief that ministers should be poor. I don't think anyone should be. But there is a moral and ethical standard that ministers should follow, and financial extravagance is diametrically opposed to what the Bible teaches. They are not running corporations or large family businesses. They are living off of people's tithes and offerings. To spend someone's hard earned money to invest toward a standard of living that is far beyond what you need is blatantly disrespectful. It is important for us to stay informed regarding what is going on here. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend that this is appropriate just because these people are ministers.

The Bible speaks against pride and greed, and teaches us to be humble in every situation of life.

Humility is defined as having a modest opinion or estimate of one's importance, rank, etc.

Pride is defined as having a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

Greed is defined as an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.

Which of these qualities sounds more Christ-like to you? Do you believe that God intended for us to embrace only what we wanted out of the Bible and discard the rest? In this case, it seems as though the message that has been emphasized here is what has best served the messenger.

I have included a link that we have found to be very interesting. Please watch these video clips and note what characteristics you see. Do you see humility? Or pride and greed, among other things? Is this a ministry you want to invest in? You decide.

- V