When I first heard the Prosperity Gospel in the 1980s, I rejected it. The version I heard, I’ll call it Prosperity 1.0, was the “name it and claim it” gospel. If you believed you could have something, God would provide it. Many who followed it pursued lavish lifestyles. It emphasized giving to get.
After twenty years Prosperity Gospel 2.0 arrived. It toned down the pursuit of stuff. It no longer made God the genie providing luxury to any who asked; rather, it emphasized giving for the sake of giving. You gave to get so you could give more. This was an improvement. However, it still assumed that God’s will for one was to prosper only. God’s universe orchestrated that givers would receive a financial boost for their giving. “You can’t out give God.”
Version 2.0’s nice if you live in a wealthy environment with lots of opportunity; however, it’s pegged to consumerism. I perceive it’s time for Prosperity Gospel 3.0.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation…” –Paul, 1 Timothy (ESV)
God promises our necessities, but not all of our wants. In fact, there’s danger in wanting too much. So yes, God rewards the giver, but many times in ways contrary to our wants. Our lives improve when we receive what he wants to give us instead of what we think we want.