In ancient times, it was believed that wealth was a sign of God’s favor. Today, such a notion is known as the prosperity gospel. It is a false teaching, yet many people buy into it. With the prosperity gospel, everything depends on you. Believe, keep the commandments, live a good life and show God how much you love him. Do this and God will bless you. For the rich, it seems a good deal, but what about the poor? Have they not believed? Do they not love God? Why are the poor not blessed?
The rich man in our text today seems to have bought into the prosperity gospel. He is proud of how he lives. He sees himself as above the rest. Yet when Jesus instructs him to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, then follow him, he cannot bear it. According to his belief, God has rewarded him, blessed him with wealth for living faithfully. So much for prosperity gospel.
Despite their error, today’s prosperity gospel preachers get one thing right. God does bless those who live faithfully, just not necessarily with earthly riches. God blesses all believers with his peace and presence. God forgives sins, supplies daily bread, and provides that which is needed for life. Through grace, we are blessed with treasure in heaven to be enjoyed forever in the company of Christ our Lord.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank you for the blessing of your grace, and for eternal life granted through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.