Schemes of Men
Amidst criticism, Prosperity Gospel still survives because there are people who need that kind of gospel. All of us love to be blessed, and we speculate and await our turn. Various schemes are devised to derive blessings, such as blessings through prayers, blessings through partnership or membership, blessings through donations or offerings, and blessings through anointed oil, handkerchiefs and servants of God.
Scheme of Jesus
Irrespective of the above schemes, Jesus asks us to seek His Kingdom to derive blessing in our lives. Seeking His Kingdom means acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God (Micah 6:8).
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Matthew 6:33
If the schemes of men do not focus on the acts of justification, love for mercy, and a humble walk with God, following those schemes are vain. Unfortunately, people want to skip these three aspects and search for shortcut methods to derive blessings from God.
Giving Brings Blessing
The Bible teaches us to give, while the world expects to receive at all times. The real joy is not in receiving, but rather it is in giving. If we love to give, God will supply all our needs. If we focus only on receiving, whatever we have will be stagnated, and there will be no growth. While the Bible talks about giving, it does not only mean monetary aspects but also the aspect of giving and receiving everything.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”Luke 6:38
The abundance of our blessings can only be measured by the quality of what and how we give. It cannot be measured in terms of what we have received. Zacchaeus received the joy of salvation when he gave his hoarded money. The widow who lived in Zarephath, by giving flour and oil from her last stock, received her reward for the entirety of the famine. The widow who offered two silver coins to the temple treasury, was appreciated by Jesus as she gave all that she had to live on.
Jesus gave everything, and became poor to make the humans rich. If a father gave everything for his children, he can still be rich because whatever he gave his children will belong to him if the children remain with him. Jesus gave everything to His children but the children did not receive Him.
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.John 1:11
Though Jesus became poor, His Father did not forsake Him and whatever belongs to His Father belongs to Him too. Peter, James and John witnessed His glory during the transfiguration of Jesus, and John recorded this glorious experience (John 1:14). Paul elaborately brought out how Jesus regained His position through His obedience and how His Father lifted His name high (Philippians 2:9-11).
While Jesus gave even His life, keeping our mindset of receiving only the worldly blessing may forbid us from receiving the eternal reward, our Sonship. Giving away our sinful desires will give us the right to become His children.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.John 1:12
Bless And Be Blessed
Many promise verses in the Bible assure us a blessing above all. God promises to lift us higher than our enemies and in the places where we faced defeat, God wants to establish us as victorious people (Zephaniah 3:19).
If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.Deuteronomy 28:1
He has declared that he will set you in praise, fame and honor high above all the nations he has made and that you will be a people holy to the LORD your God, as he promised.Deuteronomy 26:19
The above promises may make us think of ourselves as superior to other people. These promises may also misguide us to underestimate our fellow citizens for whom Jesus shed His blood on the cross. We should understand these verses from the perspective of the Redeemer; else it may misdirect us towards bitterness, loathing and anger for our fellow people, who have also been blessed by the grace of our Lord.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.Ephesians 4:31-32
Paul teaches us to be compassionate and not competitive. The spirit of competition is essential when provision is limited, such as job opportunities. In a game, the trophies are for the first three positions, and the competition chooses the winner and the runners-up. As there are no boundaries for the blessings of God, not through a competitive spirit, but a helping nature will help us win the race in the spiritual realm.
In a 100-meter race event organized for autistic children, when one of their competitors fell, all the other children stopped running and returned to the one who was injured to give a helping hand. Sometimes, the right mind does not allow us to do the right things.
The Father sent His Son to this world to save the perishing souls. Grabbing the best will not give good results in the Kingdom of God, but giving a place for others to grow in the love of God will derive a hundred percent result. Jesus conveys this truth through a parable.
But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”Luke 14:10-11
Channel of Blessing
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”Genesis 12:3
God promised Abram that He will bless all people through him. Then He told people to bless Abram to derive His blessings in their lives. God also warned His people that if they cursed Abram, they will also be cursed. Through this God reveals that it is not they who bless or curse Abram, but it is God who blesses or curses people according to the intentions of their own hearts. The following verse reiterates this truth.
If anyone loudly blesses their neighbour early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.Proverbs 27:14
Because God is blessing us above the others, when we ask God to bless others abundantly, then God will bless us more abundantly, and if we ask God to bless them more abundantly, then God will bless us even more. Heaven does not have limited resources. If we understand and exercise this aspect in our lives, we will be blessed and also will become a channel of blessing.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?John 14:2
Lord, give us the grace to lift up others so that we do not hinder anyone to come to your Kingdom. Amen.