Prosperity is defined as the state of being successful and flourishing. Most associate prosperity with material wellness only.
But, however you define it, we all want it.
Dr. Creflo Dollar is shepherd of World Changers Church International. He teaches his flock that prosperity for the Christian is not just about accumulating money. While the Bible clearly states that the love of money is the root of all evil (I Timothy 6:10) and not money itself, Dr. Dollar believes that prosperity is about possessing a sense of wellness in all areas of a person’s life: mind, body, soul, and spirit. And that includes financial wellness.
“Nothing missing. Nothing wanted,” says Creflo Dollar.
So why then do some of us (Christians, too!) seem so bothered by the prosperity of a Man of God?
A wealthy person’s sole purpose is usually to turn his business into a moneymaking machine that amasses maximum moolah to the envy of the broke masses. Christians who prosper, on the contrary, generally feel compelled by faith to be a blessing to others as well as themselves.
Unfortunately for Creflo Dollar, his daughter’s hard head causing him to tenderize her behind gained him another fifteen in the news for something other than soul winning or blessing others. World News Now showed footage of Creflo Dollar’s beautiful Atlanta home and a driver picking him up from custody after the domestic squabble in a luxury car. After reporting the story, news anchor Rob Nelson expressed disgust for pastors who are “too flashy.”
To cut down on government scrutiny into his affairs, to prevent potential crimes against him, to put bodyguards in the unemployment line, to keep us covetous looky-loos from murmuring, should a pastor live modestly if his blessings are in abundance?
Onlookers like Rob Nelson who recoil from the glare of a pastor’s “flash” seem to prefer pastors to live quietly and obscurely. Dare I say, darn-near monk-like! I do, too—but only if that’s the best old dude can do.
Rob Nelson seemed to be shaking his head at Creflo Dollar’s “Rich & Famous Lifestyle”: the big church, big house, and of special interest to Rob, “the flashy suits.” As if Rob Nelson had not mumbled a word, the squinting and sourness of his face would have shown he was “blinded” by “the flash.”
Creflo Dollar himself will tell you that carnal-minded people—blind to all the good his ministry does—too often offer common sense nonsense to explain his prosperity, i.e. thousands of members pouring their tithes and offerings into his church—er, excuse me—chur–ches. Creflo Dollar, knowing that talk is cheap, hardly blinks at these verbal donations of nothingness. He counters: “If winning souls was that easy, every pastor would have what I have.” And, of course, most do not. Nothing common about it, he says he is supernaturally anointed to shine like a brand new penny at what he does.
Personally, I do not begrudge a pastor living a big life, a “Rich & Famous Lifestyle,” if it does not contradict the teachings of Christianity. I must admit I was somewhat taken ablack to see Pastor Jamal Bryant on a reality show with villainous vixen Omarosa. When Omarosa slipped half-naked into a hot tub with a man who was not her husband, I averted my eyes. Upon learning that the vixen-turned-pastor (?!) had allegedly and miraculously conceived out of wedlock, I bit my lip to hold my tongue.
I do not begrudge a pastor wearing a rug. I do not begrudge a pastor caring for his body; it’s his temple where, hopefully, the Holy Spirit dwells. I just don’t want to be blinded or distracted by a set of diamond earrings, gold teeth, a ring on every finger, and flesh bulging through a one-size-too-small muscle shirt in the pulpit. It is far better for a pastor to be clothed in righteousness than to have his nubby nips blinking in a blatant show of self-glorification.
Such a pastor, like a pimp, would likely opt for “the flash” Rob Nelson attributed to Creflo Dollar. To me, a flashy suit is one that is tacky and comes in the hottest, most garish version of its primary color. A pimp or flashy pastor would not wear a simple but crisp as a dollar blue suit. He would don an electric blue suit with silver buttons down the front, on the sleeves, and every pocket. He would wear a gold watch chain swinging from his neck and two or more pockets and slide up to you with matching candy-colored Now & Later ‘gators on his feet.
Those who spy on the righteous should not confuse a well-tailored suit in simple blue, gray, black, or taupe and simple accoutrements, such as a quality watch and shoes, as flash. This is simply good taste.
I also do not begrudge a pastor not passing a basket filled with as much fruit and milk chocolate goodness as the lovely Meagan Good. I don’t want a pixie-eyed gay pastor; homosexuality is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22). And I don’t desire a pastor who plows all the heifers in his pasture either; that’s utterly bold behavior before a holy god.
Unlike Rob Nelson, I do not begrudge a pastor acquiring a mansion before he ascends to heaven—especially if, like Creflo Dollar, he has refused a church salary and has hefty earnings through book sales, personal appearances, and lucrative business ventures. Neither do I begrudge a pastor pushing a Bentley or un jet privé. I do not begrudge a pastor having several bank accounts, all on full. When you’re earning mere pennies for your thoughts and ideas and stuck on “E,” you just don’t want him twisting them lips bragging about his stuff. (Especially while you’re sittin’ in the pews debatin’ whether to sacrifice your last bones for an offerin’ and crossin’ your fingers that the ‘lectricity will still be burnin’ at your tiny little abode upon your return).
Truth is, I prefer my pastor—though flawed like the rest of us diamonds in the rough—above anything else, to be a Man of God whose character, more often than not, brilliantly reflects the teachings of Christianity. And, yes, I prefer that my pastor be blessed and prosperous in every way—down to his Mega-flock. A righteous Man of God would not build houses in Sri Lanka and let his members’ homes foreclose, would he?
God said, no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11). God said, if ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it (John 14:14). All God seeks is a heart cemented on Him. If a Man of God like Creflo Dollar is not allowed to blaze like a city on a hill for the truth of God’s Word, then who should? Why should any one less devoted—who prays, ministers, and serves God less—ever believe that God’s promises are truth if those He has truly called live life as Holy-Ghost-filled failures? Why should a lump of coal ever dream that God’s promises could manifest in his or her own dreary life?
That dreamer Joseph went from prisoner to Prince of Egypt. Ruth, a foreigner, lost her husband and found another—in the lineage of Christ no less!—and Boaz was far from broke. The sins of notorious peeping Tom, King David, ushered family strife into his home; yet, he had a king’s portion and was called a man after God’s own heart. Lustful King Solomon went a-whoring after other gods and is still the richest man that ever lived. Self-righteous Job had a family, health, and wealth, lost it all, and gained it all back.
And in between, accommodations were made for willing and unwilling prophets wherever they strolled. Remember angry Jonah trying to run from God? Though he died in the belly of a whale, God revived him. Remember how weary Elijah was by the dry brook? If Almighty God has called you, He will make the fowls of the air feed you—and set a table before you in the presence of your haters!
God is the same today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Why then, in modern times, do we prefer our Men of God—God’s most devoted—broke? Or seeming broke?
Thus saith God, why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? Because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you (II Chronicles 24:20).
God does not require perfection from imperfect man, full of silly frailties and insecurities like that sinful coward Michael Marin who idolized and served his riches instead of God.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:5-7).
All God seeks is obedience, the result of which is holiness. No one should deny a Man of God his prosperity. Prosperity is God’s will for Creflo Dollar’s life, your life, and mine. If a man, glorying in his prosperity, is found to be proud in God’s eyes, God does not need our help to bring him low.
Do you believe that a Man of God should live in the dull, lackluster middle even if his obedience to God’s will has made him exceedingly prosperous?