Wednesday, September 22, 2021

An Abundant Life!

Dear Friends,

What’s the difference between a Prosperity Preacher and a Politician? (answer: Not much) In 1928, the Republican Party released a newspaper ad for Herbert Hoover promising “..a chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard.” A few years ago, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager stated that the “talking points” of her campaign were, “to give every family, every small business, and every American a path to lasting prosperity by electing Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States.” In our most recent presidential election, one party promised cutting government waste and more jobs and the other party promised free money (universal basic income), free healthcare, free childcare, free college education, free housing but did draw the line at promising a chicken in every pot.

According to my dictionary, “prosperity” means to “achieve economic success and wealth.” The politician says that they will make you prosperous if you support their party with your money and vote for them. The prosperity preacher says that God will make you prosperous if you support their ministry with your “seed money” and then “name and claim” the wealth that God wants you to have. Yes! Take authority over your bank account in the name of Jesus and demand the wealth that you’re entitled to! The politician’s and prosperity preacher’s false promises appeal to our desire for more money and things but what if you were rewarded with great wealth because you did give money to support their ministry or political campaign? Does having economic success and wealth really bring the quality of life that we so desire?

The old adage, “MONEY CAN'T BUY HAPPINESS” is proven true time and time again. America is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and yet the majority of Americans are among the most unhappy citizens of our world. You may be surprised to hear that a 2020 Gallup poll surveyed people in 153 countries and found that the United States was only the eighteenth happiest country in the world. Of the seventeen happier countries, the people in fifteen of those have much less wealth than the average American citizen.

So if money can’t buy happiness, how do we find, have and keep the joy, happiness and life satisfaction that we all seek? A 2011 report drew evidence from over 1,400 studies and found that Christians live a happier, healthier and longer life than non-believers do. A study of over 20,000 Americans found that income and education had little impact on their quality of life and their longevity, but Christian believers had "increased well-being, life satisfaction, hope and optimism, purpose and meaning in life, higher self-esteem, better adaption to bereavement, less loneliness, lower rates of depression, lower rates of suicide, less anxiety, less criminal behavior, greater marital satisfaction and stability in relationships.” 

It’s not coincidental that as more Americans turn away from the Christian faith, they are becoming more unhappy, angry and dissatisfied with life. They rage out of control at the slightest thing they find personally offensive. The problem is not that they don’t have enough money. The problem is that they don’t have enough Jesus. The Son of God never promised us a prosperous life filled with wealth and riches. But Jesus does promise His followers that they will have a more abundant life John 10:10 and the Greek word He used means a life that is absolutely overflowing with vitality and filled with superabundance! It means a life brimming over with all you could ever desire and hope for – a rewarding life overflowing with His blessings! The words used by Jesus to describe your abundant life are from a Greek tense that means to “have continuously.” It doesn’t mean that you will have times of abundance. It means that in Jesus, you’ll have abundance continuously

The word “abundantly” has unfortunately been misused by prosperity preachers to primarily mean financial abundance but the Prosperity Gospel concept came out of the New Age Christian Science religion in the 1950's and is not found in your Bible. The word used by Jesus (Greek: PERISSOS) and translated as “abundantly” means “over and above and more than you will ever need or even want.” But Jesus is not saying he came to give you abundant wealth. Jesus said, I have come to give you a superabundant life. 

Years ago I came across a great interpretative translation of John 10:10 by a Greek Bible scholar that goes like this: 

"But I came that they might have, keep, and constantly retain
a vitality, gusto, vigor, and zest for living
that springs up from deep inside.
I came that they might embrace this unrivaled,
unequaled, matchless, incomparable, richly loaded,
and overflowing life to the ultimate maximum."

That's the abundant life we all long for and that life is available to all and absolutely free of charge! No donation to a ministry or political campaign is required. You don’t have to send your credit card info, check or money order. There’s no obligation or contract to sign. And wait! There’s more! With Jesus, your abundant life comes with a 100% eternal lifetime guarantee! Amen?

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