26th Oct 2012. By Dr Lim Poh Ann –
Is money the root of all evil? Or is it the love or the lack of money which drives people to commit all kinds of evil?
Prosperity often conjures in our minds negative feelings. Perhaps these sentiments stem from the fact believers have often been reminded that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”.
But closer examination of this oft-quoted verse (1 Timothy 6:10) reveals that it is referring to the love of money, not money per se.
Money, in itself, is neutral. In fact, it is needed to fund missions, build orphanages and provide food for the needy through soup kitchens.
Furthermore, it’s the lack of money which often drives people to commit all types of evil. People in dire need of money may cheat, rob, murder or prostitute themselves.
So we need to debunk the premise that money, in itself, is evil when it is the love of money and the lack of money which cause evil to flourish.
If believers develop an aversion towards prosperity and the creation of wealth, then who will fund the many activities which bring about the good of man, whether it’s missions or social work?
“Remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18).
So believers – including businessmen, entrepreneurs and tycoons – need to recognise the fact that their wealth has a vital role to play in God’s kingdom and God is the One who has blessed them abundantly.
If the church wants to make a significant dent in society, it has to discard the notion that poverty is piety. “There have been three factors that have changed society far more than anything else, namely violence, knowledge and wealth. And the greatest of these is wealth,” emphasises C. Peter Wagner in his book, “The Church in the Workplace”. Indeed, wealth is the indispensable “fuel” for social transformation.
Many would immediately react and say, “Tut-tut … another proponent of the prosperity Gospel.” But Wagner offers no apology. He believes that for the kingdom of God to advance in the 21st century, two things have to be in place: productive workplace ministers and transfer of wealth.
“A poverty mindset is not just a psychological problem,” stresses Wagner. It “hinders the people of God from stepping up and taking their rightful dominance over God’s creation.”
Citing Deuteronomy 28:11 and 3 John 2, he affirms that it is God’s will for His people to prosper. To him, prosperity has four facets: material, spiritual, physical, and social. However, this teaching in no way undermines the need for spiritual insight, prayer and spiritual warfare before society is transformed.
So wealth has a vital role to play in the overall scheme of things in God’s kingdom. And the creation of wealth – through hard work, innovation and honest means – should be viewed positively.
Porridge For The Soul By Dr Lim Poh Ann
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