No test of a man’s true character is more conclusive than how he spends his time and his money. The following table might give us three perspectives which can be useful:
|View of prosperity||Non-materialistic, disdain for possessions||Prosperity is the reward of the righteous||Possessions are atrust given in varying proportions|
|Possessions are:||a curse||a right||a privilege|
|Scriptural reference||Luke 18:18-22: sell, give to the poor (rich young ruler)||Matt. 7:7-8 ask, seek, knock||Matt. 25:14-30: parable of the talents|
|Mitigation||Prov. 21:20 In house of wise are stores of choice food & oil, but a foolish man devours all he has||Prov. 23:4-5 Don’t wear yourself out to get rich||None|
|Needs met by||“carefree attitude” don’t worry- seek kingdom 1st Matt. 6:25-34||“transaction”tithe for a blessingMal. 3:10||“faithful administration”1 Cor. 4:2;Matt. 25:21, 23|
|Attitude toward poor||We are||We owe||We care|
|Attitude||Carefree Prov. 3:5-6||Driven Prov. 10:17||Faithful Luke 16:10-11|
Poverty Theology: This theology is disgusted with worldliness, best symbolized by man’s obsession with money. He believes possessions are a curse and has rejected materialism in any and every form. A strong bias toward helping the poor exists, but he has few, if any, resources to actually help with the solution. A few guilty Christians with wealth may also fall into this category, especially if they inherited their money.
Prosperity Theology: This theology believes you have not because you ask not. They often have learned about tithing and have experienced the material blessings available by following the tithing principle. Because of their success with tithing, a preoccupation with money develops. They soon begin suggesting that the reason others are not experiencing God’s blessings financially as a lack of faith. No room is allowed for God to call some people to be poor. Many disciples of prosperity theology live consumptive lifestyles.
Stewardship Theology: Stewards believe God owns and controls everything. Possessions are a privilege and not a right; the steward gives up his rights. He reads Scripture to say possessions are a trust given in varying proportions, depending upon the innate, God-given abilities he has and his faithfulness and obedience to follow Biblical principles. The steward believes prosperity results from faithfully administering his talents, as given by God in His sole discretion.
Which one is correct? The steward!
Scriptures for discussion:
Proverbs 13:11: “Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, But the one who gathers by labor increases it.”
1 Timothy 5:8: “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.”