To Prosperity Preachers: Warn Against Weak Investments

This is the third post in a series of twelve – Twelve Appeals to Prosperity Preachers. The content can be found in the new edition of Let the Nations Be Glad.

Jesus warns against the effort to lay up treasures on earth; that is, he tells us to be givers, not keepers. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).

Yes, we all keep something. Jesus assumes that. He does not expect, except in extreme cases, that our giving will mean we will no longer be able to give. There may be a time when we will give our life for someone and thus no longer be able to give any more. But ordinarily Jesus expects us to live in a way that there is an ongoing pattern of work and earning and simple living and continual giving.

But given the built-in tendency toward greed in all of us, Jesus feels the need to warn against “laying up treasures on earth.” It looks like gain, but it leads only to loss (“moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal”). My appeal is that Jesus’ warning find a strong echo in the mouths of prosperity preachers.