There is a saying that goes: Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Oftentimes we want things not realizing the “other stuff” that comes with the object of our desire.
Not long ago I was watching a documentary about the impact the commercial growth has had on the Chinese society. As we all know China is a world superpower in terms of manufacturing. “The People’s Republic of China is the largest exporter in the world.” They export everything from electronics to clothing to medical devices to food. But this explosion of commercialism has come at a high cost to the Chinese people.
According to the documentary, this prosperity is threatening China’s ability to feed itself. Farmers are being run off of their property so that the land can be used by manufactures. Much of the food that is grown is not considered edible by western standards because of the high amounts of pesticides and chemicals in the water. Although China is home to 20% of the world’s population, it only possess 7% of the earth’s arable land. This economic growth is leading to disaster as the government and companies get rich while the general population teeters on the edge of starvation.
When we think of prosperity our thoughts always lean towards material wealth. More money, bigger house, fancier car, nicer clothes. All these things can be nice but like China they come with a price tag. Sometimes we miss the other forms of prosperity such as our health, relationships, peace of mind, and personal safety.
I think it’s interesting that if you look at the life of Christ, he basically had no possessions. No home, no donkey of his own….just the clothes on his back. When he sent his disciples out to the world, he sent them out the same way (Luke 9: 1 – 3):
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt…”
I’m not suggesting that you go sell all of your possessions and live like a nomad (although there are some days I think that would be kind of cool), but I would challenge you to be wary of prosperity preaching. If we are really trying to be CHRISTians, our goal should not be the acquisition of things, but the building of people…the developing of relationships….the spreading of the Good News.