In recent news, it was reported that Creflo Dollar’s ministry is seeking “200,000 people committed to sow $300 or more (to) help achieve our goal to purchase the G650 airplane.” If you do the math, that’s $60 million dollars! Dollar (may not be his real last name) claims that the private jet would allow him to “safely and swiftly share the Good News of the Gospel worldwide”.
I shake my head at this. It actually makes me very angry. This is not Jesus.
I posted this last night to my Facebook account:
“Watch out for those preachers who want to go around in sophisticated style, and who want be recognized by everyone like hot-shots, and act as God’s gift to the world. They put on a good religious show, but behind the curtains they’re exploiting the poor. They will be condemned severely. – Jesus”
This is a paraphrase of Mark 12:38-40, if you’re wondering. There’s a second part to this story that might make it a little more sense, too. Though, this next part of the story is usually removed from the first and made into an offering passage, it means something else in narrative context. Here’s how the story continues, in paraphrase…
“After saying this to his disciples, standing near the collection box, they began to watch who were putting money in it. Lots of rich people were putting their money in. But, this one poor woman put in two copper coins. Jesus said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had!’ (v.41-44)”
This is not about how awesome it is to give. That’s not the point of the story. The point is exploitation. What the disciples just saw was a poor person being exploited. This woman had no job, and had no husband to support her. She had no income. Jesus was not pointing her out as an example of generosity but pointing out the corruption that was occurring in the religious system.
Yes, God might have blessed this woman for her sacrificial giving. She might have remained poor. We don’t know. Again, that isn’t the aim of that passage. Instead, Jesus was showing us that unbeknownst to her, these “blessed and prosperous” religious leaders were building their lavish lifestyle from poor folks just like her. The religious elites blessings were built from the foundation of people who were economically cursed. And in proportion to the rest of society, the poor were giving more. This is an injustice!
Prosperity preachers have made their living off oblivious people who have next to nothing. This is why it makes me upset. Why it made Jesus upset. And why it should make you upset.
When it becomes obvious that this is occurring, rather than remain silent as a pious act of non-judgmentalism, we need to make it known. We need to make it aware and call them out, as our Master Teacher has done on several occasions. And so here I will reiterate: “Watch out for those preachers”!