THE GOSPEL & PROSPERITY
”When the men had come to him, they said, ’John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, Are you the Coming One (ὁ ἐρχόμενος), or do we look for (προσδοκῶμεν) another?’ And that very hour he healed many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind he gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of me.” (Lk 7: 20-23)
Jesus Christ, “the Coming One,” was “coming” into the lives of many, and healing their afflictions. So the blind could “see,” the lame could “walk,” lepers were “cleansed,” the deaf could “hear,” the dead were “raised,” and the poor…, wait a minute… The poor were not “made prosperous,” or at least given a steady income? Wouldn’t that be the “cure” for them? But no, the poor “had the gospel preached to them.”
The point I’m making is that material poverty is not an “affliction” our Lord promises to “heal” materially. (Sorry, Prosperity Gospel-people!) Jesus Christ, “the Coming One,” does come into my life, again and again, and “heal” me, so that I can approach any circumstances “responsibly.” That is to say, when I open up to communion with Him, He gives me the “ability to respond” (response-ability) both to poverty and prosperity in the Spirit of patience, gratitude, humility, wisdom, compassion, love, and faith. In a daily (re)connection with God, I am not crippled or “afflicted” by the fears that creep up amidst these circumstances, but can keep walking through them and do the next right thing, for myself and/or for others. “Give us this day our daily bread,” please Lord, “and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” today. Glory be to You.