Lessons from the Old Testament
Abraham continues to be pivotal to justification blessed inheritance both for the Old Testament and New Testament characters. I suspect that he had little business with poverty except to take of the poor. Despite his personal challenges he rushed to take of care strangers ordering a feast be made for dirty looking guests whose objective he had no clue about. Since, this encounter turned out to be the link of the promise that most faithful people cling to it is rather popular. His personal challenges could not have included poverty if he was able to order such a lavish entertainment to mere passer – byes. Herein, lies the point, he was not poor before the encounter. He was richly blessed and promoted by the encounter as these strangers turned out to be heavenly beings (Genesis 18:1-15).
Jeremiah was a prophet ordained from pregnancy (Jeremiah 1:5). An incident happened in the life Jeremiah that is very instructive to this discussion. The El Chappo prison break is the only cataclysmic incident that I can compare in modern times with the impression of this Bible history. If poverty is the inheritance of prophets, then Jeremiah had no place with immense prosperity because he identified with his calling right from youth and did it all his life. He became one of the most prominent prophets in history and continues to be influential today. A man who spent many years in jail. His went to jail many times because of his prophecies against powerful kings. However, in Jeremiah 32:6-13 he describes in fantastic detail how he set up and executed a business deal to purchase a property based on the inspiration of God. The emphasis on spiritual authority to acquire a whole field is very striking. The methodology and the language depict mind of a competent professional business-person.
Most importantly, for Jeremiah to respond to the proposition with such notice he must have been wealthy. A prisoner that could assemble such a caliber professionals and other individuals into a jail to witness the transaction is not only rich, he must have been very influential. I deliberately avoid talking about Solomon because he can from soundly rich heritage. Yet, there are lessons to be learnt from how Jeremiah and Solomon managed the wealth entrusted to them. Another example of obvious display of wealth by godly is when Jacob approached Esau to seek forgiveness (Genesis 32:17-20). The kind of wealth described here does not sound like what belongs to a poor man. The proof that Christians including pastors and prophets continue to be rich today rests on God’s covenant with Abraham, and they will continue to be so if they do not mismanage their trusts (Genesis 13:2; Galatians 3:14).
Examples from the New Testament
Even though, the New Testament rarely discusses individuals and their lifestyles in so much detail as we have some in Old Testament, there are very interesting insights and perspectives from the activities and expressions of Jesus and the apostles including the most prolific writer, Paul. The meeting of Paul quoted in Galatians 2:2 is very instructive as it confirms that the wealthy could be in church and must be recognized for their value in promoting the gospel. Paul did not hesitate in arranging a meeting with these eminent people that abilities and potentials of whom he is familiar with because he used to be one of them. Remember that Paul as Saul was a Pharisee that mingled with nobles as went from country to country obtaining permits so that he can persecute Christians. Judas that welcomed Paul into his home immediately after his conversion does not show any signs of poverty before or after the encounter. It was in the house of Judas that Ananias went to minister healing to Paul’s eyes (Acts 9).
Therefore, when Jesus rebuked the greediness of the people with the classical statement that recognizes that the poverty exists He essentially distanced Himself from the poor prophet psychology (Mark 14:7). He was being entertained in the house of a wealthy leprous man in Bethany. The same Jesus recognized the wealthy Zacchaeus and ministered salvation to the dishonest tax collector (Luke 19:1-10). The Bible recognizes a disciple of Jesus called Joseph of Arimathea as a rich man, yet, he followed Jesus even unto the grave (Matthew 27:57). Therefore, irrespective of whatever coloring one may put on it prosperity is the heritage of Christians, not poverty. None of the blessings and promises of God exclude pastors and prophets.
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Pastor John is the author of The Player: Target – The Executive Suite and Director of Media Services for Omega Fire Ministries, Dallas, Texas.
This is the second part of a three-article series on the subject.