Many teachers within the church preach the prosperity gospel. We get taught that God rewards us for the righteous actions we facilitate. Also, we are told that our treasures we accumulate on earth reflects our character. The greatest misnomer is that the prosperity gospel only refers to physical possessions. These treasures could be referring to health, emotional gratification, and many others. Should we try to pursue the doctrine of earthly treasures?
Mathew 6:19-21 (NASB):
“’Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’”
The passage in Mathew should be straight forward. Unfortunately, like many things, we input our own ideas into the passage. Many people decipher this passage as talking about physical treasures. The logic breaks down when you ask one simple question. Can you literally put physical treasures from Earth into Heaven? No, you can’t. So, what is it talking about? What you put your value in is where you would be drawn toward. For example, success can be your treasure. If you value your career over the pursuit of God’s kingdom you heart will not fully belong to God. These treasures have no value. Compared to eternity they are very temporal.
I believe our church consistently teaches righteous treasures. They make the rewards in life more pleasing to the eye. They are based on the concept of God giving you a gift for a job well done. Getting a raise in pay is dubbed a gift of being a faithful servant of God. God has given physical blessings before, but a quid pro quo needs to have more information before it should be believed. A church turns to a success story of a member and uses their story as a baseline for your story. Many people in this life is running the race way better then I am and doing far worse with physical treasures. Their eyes are intently focused on the finish line. The reward they see in heaven will be far greater than they can ever imagine.
There is a serious damage that can occur in the Church. If we are looking for a reward, we are not looking at God. He told us to pick up our cross and follow him. Christians who are weak in their faith will see a lack of treasure as a lack of God’s presence. It starts with anger then leads to resentment. Eventually the agnostic belief would lead to atheism. We need to teach these people the truth. Life can be horrible but your treasures in heaven will be far beyond anything you can imagine. God doesn’t take joy in your pain. God wants all of you. We think too temporal and selfish.
Let’s stop using the word “blessed” in the wrong context. Social media is full of quotes that use that “blessed” to glorify themselves and dilute any purpose they can gain from it. If they are blessings and you hoard them you are doing God a disservice. There are friends and family that could be suffering a lot while you brag about a new car, house, career, or any other thing. In many nations Christians are being persecuted. They don’t get to have a status update about a treasure that appeared in front of them. The persecuted Christians who get martyred will be served a crown when they get into heaven. A far more prestigious reward then you could ever have. Don’t talk about what you have but how you can use it for God.