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Giving Your Way to Wealth

I raised an issue in my last Monday Memo and I have had several people write me about it. I basically said that I don't think it's possible to give your way to prosperity. I think prosperity comes from hard work and investments. Generosity is a value and one gives because it is godly to give, not expecting anything in return. Yet, I know that there is return when you give. Here is how I answered someone who wrote me:

I have never known anyone who prospered by giving. They were blessed by giving and God rewarded them, but their prosperity came through hard work and investments.

I guess I am thinking of those who promise a financial breakthrough if you give a $1,000 "seed gift" to their ministry. I do think, however, that it also carries over to some of the promises that are made to encourage people to give to their local church. Am I off base here? What do you think? I would enjoy hearing from you and allowing others to read your insights and testimonies. You can write your public comments on the site where this is posted. What say ye? Can you give your way to wealth?


Ryan Rhoades

Well John, I definitely have to say that I think this is the first insight I've read about this issue that has not made me want to throw my computer out the window or charge the pulpit from which prosperity is preached and dull-minded Christians are suckered into spending money they don't have thinking God is going to reward them for their stupidity. I do agree that I have been blessed from sowing into different things but it never happened when I felt like I was being beat over the head with a 'prosperity gospel'. This post has really helped me out with a way of explaining the way I feel in regards to this issue and I agree with you wholeheartedly.

There is a shaking going on in the body of Christ that I am sure you are aware of---these media ministry giants are getting revealed to own $23,000 toilets---talk about flushing your money down the crapper---and it has raised a new struggle in my spirit to not become arrogant and happy that they are getting heat for their superfluous spending of their congregation's money.

Alas--as you have said, there is a return when you give--but with me that return has almost always been spiritual return--more revelation knowledge flowing into my spirit when I read the Word, or listen to different sermons, etc. At least up to this point, I have seen very little 'financial blessings' as a result of any giving that I have done. I think that it has also been a lesson that the Lord has wanted me to learn---not to give so that I would get--but to give out of love. Until I really nail that one down in my own life, I don't I will see financial blessing...because by that point, it won't even matter and I'll just give it away anyway. :)


For me I give to my Church to help my Church be a better conduit in my relationship with the Lord. I don't believe that God is into how much I give as He allows me to make choices like this one. I have never ever given to my Church or any other institution with the promise of reward. My sole reward is, many would say, is selfish on my part as the gift benefits myself and my Family.



I have been struggling with this 'prosperity gospel' for a while now and honestly in my opinion its an absurdity. I am not against giving but giving to prosper as you said in your post. I have been a victim of this been told you will never propsper until you give 'sacrificially', 'give till it hurts' and all manner of clever grammar but have not prospered yet from that giving.

It is painful to see several of my friends who have even sold cars and 'sowed' seeds and now they are walking and have no food on the table. It so sad.

As Ryan says giving expecting God to reward our stupidity is foolishness. Hardwork is the key to prosperity. Imagine God dishing out money to whoever 'sows' seeds to ministries. Who would want to work anyway? I think these are well calculated gimmicks intended to prey on foolish believers who are lazy or who should know better.

We should work hard, invest then give as God leads, then He shall reward us by more opportunities to make more money as promised in His word that he shall bless the work of our hands not our giving.

God bless you John.

Donovan Colt Torp


I think the intensity of this dialogue is only going to increase in the months ahead. As a 37 year old man from a non-denominational background I have experienced these ministries firsthand. I was a member of a large congregation similar to those ministries being investigated by Sen. Grassley. I wore my opinions on my sleeve-those regarding prosperity-and was unapologetic. After 7 or so years I became dry, cynical, and mean-spirited...mentally fat on the word, but spiritually dull in application.

After 2 years of playing the co-dependent congregation member my wife and I switched churches. We found a healthier place to attend and my pastor was favorable towards financial blessing, but it requires effort, sacrifice, labor, persistence and consistence. I applied very little of these traits in my life and yes, I have given the actual $1K in my life in wishes of a financial breakthrough. Yes Ryan, I would agree that I was a fool.

When I give now, it is because I want to see something change or to make a difference. I am much more sure of my self and I rarely give emotionally any more. I happily give what I am prepared to give and I ask God for creativity and ideas and guts to put in the effort to make more so I can give more. However, I have curtailed wearing myself out to get rich. I follow the advice of the preacher in Ecclesiastes who says work in the morning and the evening for you know not which will succeed or if both will.

On the flip side, regarding the pushback that these ministries are seeing from the government investigations you have this 1st ammendment argument. Quite frankly, I am a little mollified that these ministries aren't welcoming any purview of their world. Whatever happened to not wanting even the appearance of evil? What happened to being a light on a hill instead of saying 'don't come around my hill'?

I certainly don't welcome the government's involvement in church however, ministries cannot have it both ways. If they elect to file for a government non-profit status via the 501c(3) then you are implicitly and tacitly agreeing to scrutiny. I wonder how many Americans would still tithe or give offerings if the government did not allow you to right it off on your taxes?

My apologies for the lengthy comments. I appreciate your candor and your willingness to spill over the can of worms. It is my prayer that the American portion of Christ's body wakes up to the business we're on not just business.

A challenging book on the use of money is, "The Billionaire Who Wasn't," by Conor O'Clery. The gentleman isn't a Christian, but he certainly didn't care about marble toilets.

Be blessed,

K Windham

News flash for those who are uspet about someone spending big bucks on a marble topped commode...Instead of thinking toilet, think French endtable...
Has anyone ever watched the MTV show about the "Cribs" of rock stars. Talk about excessive... purchaced by money "earned" from selling gangster rap CD's & videos that are a horrible influence on culture.
I prefer my media heros to enjoy those "luxuries" if it is from their own budget and their ministry focus and purpose is not affected.
Throughout history, most cultures have elevated a certain few to "King & Queen" status. Since we do not have our own official monarchy in the US, I think that we allow a certain few to attain a position of "Media Monarchy" in entertainment or religion. I prefer to follow Jesus example and "judge them by their fruit"...not their cars, homes, & "commodes."

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