I have been listening to Joel Osteen since 2004. It was during a channel surfing exercise that I accidentally chanced upon this tele-evangelist with Richard Gere-esque looks. He had a positive and practical aspect to his messages which was a refreshing change from many a sermon that I used to hear till then. Till date, I have listened to Joel Osteen using the Podcast app on my iPad without delay. He inherited his church from his father and within a very short period of time, the Lakewood Church became one of the largest independent churches in United States of America while all his books have become best sellers. Even though I am a strong proponent of the traditional form of church, I find no harm in listening and incorporating the positive strands from his sermons.
Couple of weeks ago, Joel’s weekly podcast was about Prosperity. He remarked that people how people alleges that he is a strong proponent of prosperity gospel. He remarked that he might or might not be a prosperity evangelist but he will never be a poverty evangelist. This made me think. Why doesn’t people like prosperity? I for one, love and aspires to be insanely prosperous. In our short sojourn in this world that we call life, all the material wealth that we accumulate wouldn’t be anyways carried off with us once we leave.
Taking this as a challenge, I decided to revisit what the Bible speaks about prosperity. Right from the book of Genesis, one can see how Adam and Eve prior to their fatal mistake, lived in a garden where everything was provided for and taken care of. Abram who lived an ordinary trader life with his family saw his wealth increase exponentially many folds once he heeded the call from God and his descendants morph into a multitude of races that literally filled the entire earth. Jacob who was shy and sly in cheating everything from his brother had the audacity to seek forgiveness and believe in the same God of his ancestor Abraham. He had to work for his fortune, but with time he became immensely rich. His own son Joseph who was close to God, ended up ensuring that Egyptian pharaohs became immensely wealthy and built amazing architectural marvels that prevail to this day. Think about David a shepherd boy neglected by his own family, became the first true king of unified Israel. His son Solomon who was not accurately chronicled by historians established one of the first truly modern empires,
What does this all mean? Compared with the message of Jesus that is sometimes reminiscent of a socialist outlook, is seeking prosperity a sin? I don’t think so. Is the Bible all about prosperity. Nope. Neither is it all about poverty. The Bible clearly says that ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you’.
Everything that the Bible teaches and shows man is that nothing is impossible. Everything is possible. Have the intention to set audacious and challenging goals and work towards it. As it is said, fortune favors the brave. Similarly unrelenting belief empowers the faithful to attempt extraordinary things. But one must have the courage to first believe it is even possible. This sets you on a march towards prosperity, where everything you dream for can be attained.