“My problem with the prosperity gospel … is that it’s everyone’s hope but it’s no one’s reality. Has coming to church made you impervious to difficulty, pain, sorrow and frustration? Has coming to church made any of you super wealthy?
Let me tell you who it makes wealthy. The guys who spew on you that you should be wealthy if you would love God enough. And then they use their own lives as examples. “Look at my 72 bedroom mansion. Look at my private jet. Do you know how I got that? Faith.”
No, you got that by lying to widows and stealing their money. So the reason why I hammer on that stuff is because it’s so untrue. And if you buy into it, you’re going to have the rug pulled out from underneath you. Because God fearing, Holy Spirit lled men and women of faith die at 40 and leave their 2nd graders behind, and their marriages get hard, and their kids go crazy for seasons, and they lose their jobs, and sometimes they just get by, and sometimes they wake up in the middle of the night and doubt whether or not they’re saved, and sometimes they just don’t want to come to church that morning…
I mean, come on here.
At some point, you’ve got to look at what life is and stop creating this imaginary fairytale that’s not in the Scriptures, and you’ve got to engage truth. And truth is that you and I, beloved by God, are at times going to bleed and we’re going to get confused and we’re not going to understand what He wants from us and we’re going to have our faith tested and life’s going to play out in different ways than we want it to…
So how do we live in light of that?…”
Well, one place to start, is by coming to grips with the fact that your life is about someone much bigger than you.
Matt Chandler continues,
“What if you and your life are not the center of history? What if you are not the sun around which all other planets rotate? What if you are a part of the greatest drama/adventure the universe will ever know, but you’re not the star of the play. What if your life goes beyond you and plays into something bigger than you? You can’t deny the fact that you’re temporary and that you’re ignorant. Me too.
Let me show you. Six months from today at 3:00, what are you doing? Who are you hanging out with? What are you guys having for lunch? Some of you are like, “I don’t know what I’m having for lunch today.” But who does? Do you realize the billions of tiny details that had to be brought about to even get you in this room this morning? And you are aware of few of them. You think you’re here because your spouse pestered you into this place or your neighbor pestered you into this place or this is just what you do. You think you’re in here for those reasons. Did you know that we moved from San Francisco, California to Galveston, Texas, and within just a few months of us moving there, a guy begins to share the gospel with me? Did you know that the book of Isaiah says that God moves a man from here to here for the purposes of God? We moved because the military saw to move my father. But could it be that God was moving him because I had an appointment with salvation? I don’t know. I’m just throwing that out there. All I knew was that I was moving from the Bay Area, which is kind of attractive aesthetically, to Galveston, which is kind of not. I moved from friends and connections to none. You just can’t see what God’s doing. So maybe He’s accomplishing His will. And let me just put this out there. Could it be that your joy as well as your suffering is being used by God not only in you, but in those around you to accomplish the purposes of God?
What if your suffering wasn’t just all about you? What if God’s accomplishing other things? What if death isn’t the worst thing ever? What if we believed that one day all that is dark will be pushed back and the new heaven and the new earth will be established and all of the deepest sorrows will make sense and it will come together like this beautiful stained glass window where here all we saw was jagged glass? And then it all makes sense? And then we see the picture?
See, I think we have to have an eternal mindset. I think you have to have kingdom eyes.
And if you don’t see that, you’re going to get sucked in. And when life is all about you, religiously you will sky rocket when things are well into self-righteousness, and when things are not well, you will plummet to self-pity. Which is why when everything is going well for you, you don’t understand why it can’t go well for everybody else. “Well, they just lack faith” or “You need to come to church with me. It’s working for me.” And it’s why when things go bad, people tend to wallow in self-pity. “Poor me. I just can’t figure it out. Maybe I’m not elect. God hates me.” And that’s what happens when it’s all about you. And I really believe that this is one of the things that retards our faith.
“It’s my faith, my growth, my relationship, where I am, what I feel, where I struggle, where I do well…” And that’s that rugged individualism that’s just American Christianity. It’s not biblical Christianity. It’s why Paul goes, “I’ve been rich, I’ve been poor, I’ve been sick, I’ve been healthy. God’s good.” It’s why Job goes, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I’ll return. The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” By the way, that’s right after all seven of his children die, all his wealth is taken from him and all he’s left with is a nagging wife. And then I always want to push this on you. You have to always keep at the forefront of your mind that you’re not under wrath, but that you’re under mercy if you’re children of God. Which means everything that befalls your life is the mercy of God. And I know it’s easy to go, “I don’t know about that.” But what would be more merciful than you getting sick and having the life squeezed out of you and in it knowing Jesus Christ really deeply or God giving you health to 103 and never letting you see Him or know Him? Which is the mercy of God if you’re looking at this thing in regards to eternity and not your little 30-70 years?”