Don’t Cheapen God with the Prosperity Gospel

I appreciate and value good customer service.

I’m certainly not the only one. And most companies are wise to that reality. At one point not so long ago, feedback was limited to making a phone call or writing a letter. In both those arenas, the feedback was largely private, and the company in question had the luxury of taking such comments with a grain of salt.

But not any more. Because of social media, customers of any ilk now have the ability to give feedback – both positive and negative – in visible and real-time occasions. A single tweet from the right person at the right time can catch fire and ignite an upward propulsion or downward spiral. So customer service is, at least to my estimation, better than it ever has been before.

Again, I appreciate that. I like knowing that the airline will be responsive on Twitter and that the cable company will give me a call back instead of making me wait online. I even like that the pizza company lets me track delivery on my phone so I know when to expect it. And yet in all of those instances of really good customer service, there is still something in the background that doesn’t ring true.

Because at the end of the day, I know (and the company knows) that I am paying for that level of service. There is an exchange that is taking place. These people are not really as friendly as they seem to be; they are doing what needs to be done in order to secure something from me as their customer. No one is offering me great service because of my own intrinsic value – no – I am buying their kindness and attentiveness. And in the world, I’m fine with that. We all are. And we should be.

But I wonder if we could take that same philosophy of buying and selling and supporting – that whole system of exchange – and use it to expose the evil of the prosperity gospel.

When I say “prosperity gospel,” I mean that strain of belief which equates “prosperity” to health and wealth. I mean that line of thinking that it is God’s will for His children is to never get sick and be financially well off. Consequently, if you find yourself with a tube running out of your arm getting intravenous chemotherapy treatments, there is something wrong with your faith, and if you just believed a little more then God will give you all these earthly benefits and more.

Take a step back for a second and compare the two things. In both there is an exchange taking place. In one, the exchange is money. In the other, the exchange is faith (although there is usually some money trading hands as well). In both, the one making the payment receives a level of customer service in return.

And this is how the prosperity gospel cheapens the worth of God. Because if we believe this version of the “good news,” then God is not worshiped for His own sake; instead, He is worshiped and believed in for a greater end than Himself. And to make matters worse, God is so unworthy of worship that He has to pay for worship using the currency of the world.

This is the true evil of such belief – it is that it cheapens the worth of God.

May it be that we worship the Lord for who He is. For His character. May it be that we never have such a low view of the greatness of God that we see Him lowering and cheapening Himself to purchase our allegiance with something as trivial as money.

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