Money has always been a sensitive subject. In my Christian life I have seen both sides of the spectrum concerning philosophies people have about money.
On one side, there are those who will fight to stay poor, believing that somehow poverty equates to holy living and is therefore a real blessing from God. On the other side, there are those who will fight to be rich, considering it to be one of the great pinnacles of godliness. The Bible teaches that both of these positions are extreme. It is not my purpose to get into the theology of money, but into the heart of it. After all, it is not money that is evil, but the love of it.
My wife Carolyn, to whom God often speaks in dreams, was cautioned by the Lord about a wind of doctrine concerning money. The Lord showed her how many believers would suffer as a result of yielding to this wind.
In the dream, both she and I were gathered with a multitude of other Christians at a pool party. People were climbing up on this long rope ladder onto a diving board and then jumping into this huge pool of refreshing waters. Everyone was laughing and having a great time. As people were going up to the diving board on this rope ladder, the wind would blow and sway the ladder back and forth. Because of this wind, Carolyn was hesitant to climb up. You see, Carolyn had her purse with money in it, and didn’t know what to do with it. She needed to have both hands completely free to go up to the diving board.
Finally, she hid her purse in a gutter on top of the roof of a small building. But then suddenly, as she was walking toward the ladder, that same wind came with such force that it blew many of the people right off the rope ladder and into some high telephone wires. Then, after being burnt, they fell into the water, as the other Christians around them rushed to their aid, and began ministering to them.
The dream is a prophetic warning. Its meaning is plain. There is a wind of doctrine concerning money in which some Christians will be caught up in and for which they will suffer hurt. The refreshing waters represent the fact that the Holy Spirit initiated this move of God, but it got off. Judgment came to many because they did not heed the Lord’s warning.
Be careful of money. Many ministers have become money-minded and lost the anointing. The problem is not with being rich, but rather, not being rich toward God (Lk. 12:21).
Many ministers, including myself, have often said, “You can’t do anything without money. It takes money to preach the gospel.” This is obvious, but where is the emphasis and what is the Biblical pattern? One time I was so disturbed by the overemphasis on the teaching of financial prosperity that I began to search and seek to see if God had a pattern. Was there to be an emphasis on financial prosperity, and if so, where was the emphasis supposed to be? It didn’t take me long to find the answer in the beginnings of the Church age.
“Now all who believed were together and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44-45).
“Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands and houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet, and they distributed to each as had need” (Acts 4:34-35).
Here is the Biblical pattern: First revival, then financial prosperity. Contrary to what some teach, we do not need money to have revival. Money should follow revival. If God has control of the hearts of the people, then He has their money, too.
Note the above verses. The revival in the early Church didn’t cause these Christians to run out and purchase possessions and goods or lands and houses, but it caused them to sell these things! Financial prosperity is for the primary purpose of giving, not getting. God doesn’t mind His children having good things and being blessed, but the motive is what determines the rightness and wrongness of it.
Even our work is to be done with the motivation of giving.
“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.” (Eph. 4:28).
There’s more than one way to look at financial prosperity. There are many facets of truth and angles of thought concerning money. What about stewardship and sacrifice? What about doing without so others can be blessed? There is a higher call and a higher level of consecration which is determined not only by how much you give away, but by how much (little) you keep (Mk 12:41-44). Jesus chose not to call on the Father for twelve legions of angels to deliver Him from a sure death (Mat 26:53) and our redemption. He chose not to heap up riches for himself. He chose not to accumulate this world’s wealth. But He emptied Himself of everything for us.
And besides, financial prosperity is neither a foundational doctrine nor a principle teaching in the Church. It is only a benefit just like healing, deliverance, protection, etc. Does that mean we shouldn’t teach on finances or God’s will for Christians to prosper? No, it just means we shouldn’t place an extreme emphasis on it. Every believer should eventually walk in these blessings as a direct by-product of a consecrated and godly lifestyle. My fear is that we have majored on the minors and caused the hearts of many to go astray.
Poverty is not holiness. Gain is not godliness. But one thing is for sure: Greed will lead to grief.
Beware of hype, gimmicks, and manipulative tactics when it comes to money. Beware of so-called miracle offerings which don’t go for miracles at all. Beware of investing in Ishmaels that are not born of God, but of men. Invest in Isaacs.
Ishmaels are birthed by negligent priests who fail to wait on God for the Isaac. Then those same Ishmaels are paid for by the offerings of naive and misinformed people who have been conditioned to give emotionally by the hyped up efforts of pitiful priests.