In Luke 16:19-31, we read the story of the rich man and Lazarus. I prefer to call it the story of the two rich men. In it, we see Rich Abraham in heaven and a rich man in hell. What differentiated them was how they used their riches; one was generous and just, the other was stingy and wicked. Stating as a fact, since silver and gold belong to God, becoming wealthy or affluent is not against the principles of God.
Let me quote an Evangelical Professor, Roger Nam. He says in an online article captioned Prophets and Wealth that, “A prophetic condemnation of wealth is very surprising because in the Hebrew Bible, wealth is often a form of blessing, just pure wealth.
For example, to Abraham, God promises, I will give you progeny; I will give you people; and I will give you land; the two most important assets in creating wealth. But what happened in the eighth century is that the wealth was being generated unjustly; and so you have a merging—from the north, Amos and Hosea, from the south, Micah and Isaiah—that’s condemning this gain of wealth, not just wealth in itself, but the gain of wealth through unjust means.”
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Judith, Mordecai, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Joseph called Barnabbas and many other great and upright persons ended their lives in absolute riches. The great Apostle Paul encouraged working for a living. Note that Joseph, the husband of Mary did not refuse the gold offered as a gift to the infant Jesus.
Now, unless inherited or gifted, it takes absolute plan, dedication and effort to become rich.
If one is in full ministry/service of God, especially in evangelisation, soul winning, intercession or prophetic ministry, getting that luxury of time to grow genuine wealth will be extremely difficult, if not impossible. If money seeking becomes the agenda, the minister may easily betray God. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matt 6:24)
We must understand that an intelligent minister of the Gospel may never be as wealthy as an age mate who is into business. Faithfulness to ministry would mean sacrificing many of the legally possible stuffs of life. We, as full time ministers, may depend on the generosity of people. Powerful Elijah depended on a poor widow in Zarephat, Elisha received gifts, and Jeremiah relied, at a point in time, on the kindness of Godfearing men.
The biggest temptation to becoming a fake pastor/prophet is to assume a deserving-wage-mindset. We are not managers of those we guide, lead, pray for, and counsel. Yes, it looks painful to see the lack of financial appreciation from those you aided (as God’s instrument) to see their financial breakthrough. Seeing hundreds of unappreciating people must not create an attitude of being cheated or bitterness in the heart of the pastor.
If you focus on these, you will end up charging for services you must render free. At worse, you will seek unholy avenues and powers for riches.
Duping, threatening, faking miracles, charging directly, and other means can make you rich; but this equates you to all secular people who defraud, cheat, embezzle, steal, dupe, etc. to become rich. Let us keep trusting God, even in tears, and He will supply our needs. Let us admit that choosing to be in full ministry is a call to abandon your legal right to pursue riches. Yes, we cannot be as rich as them; we may even lack some basic stuffs but we will have enough to sustain body and soul.
I end with Paul’s counsel to Timothy. “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” 1 Tim 6:17-19
Authored by Rev Fr Joseph Nyarko Asare// AGNUS-DEI MEDIA