Have some believers rightly rejected the “prosperity gospel” only to embrace an equally dangerous lifestyle heresy?
I was reading about Barnabas, the missionary colleague alongside the apostle Paul, and was struck by the fact that Barnabas first appears in the Acts account as a generous donor toward the compassion ministry of the first church. As a land owner, Barnabas could have taken a fiscally justifiable approach and hung on to his asset (the land) so as to donate what profit the land produced. Instead, Barnabas sold the land and gave sacrificially. Further, he did not give on condition that his wishes would be respected, but laid his gift at the apostles feet, releasing control (Acts 4:37).
Here is what I conclude from watching Barnabas: Tweet This The obedience that makes a cross-cultural missionary is the same obedience that makes a sacrificial giver. And sacrificial giving may be the entry point to the world of mission, as it was for Barnabas.
But I wonder if many of us have subconsciously concluded that God has asked us to give, not sacrificially, but moderately. Our evidence? Just look at the capacity God has given us to achieve and maintain our comfortable lifestyle. Are not my skills God-given? Did He not make my education possible? Did God not give me the opportunity to work and save? Surely the way of life I enjoy is what God wants me to maintain with a grateful heart.
Having rejected the prosperity gospel have we succumbed to a moderation gospel? Barnabas shows us that sacrificial giving stems from the same kind of obedience as leaving home on mission. Dependence on God’s supply did not begin when he and Saul left Antioch as the first missionaries (Acts 13:1-3). It started back home when he heard about the need to feed the poor, pulled out the title deed to his land and put it on the market.