In 1982 , when I returned to Sweden from America, where I had been attending Bible School, the first thing the devil told me was, “You can preach faith and healing here but not finances because people will think you are Americanized, so don’t say anything about money!”
Just as I was about to except this thought, I recognized where it came from. The Lord then spoke to me and said, “You need to preach prosperity in Sweden more than anything else.”
……….We, on the other hand, will continue to teach about financial prosperity as we become increasingly dependent on “El-Shaddai.”
I read Harvest Times, a quarterly publication by City Harvest Church recently which presented the article by Rev. Dr. Ulf Ekman. In my personal opinion, it was quite disturbing.
I do not know if the article written represented accurately the totality of the author’s doctrine or beliefs in God, but if it is, then it is worrying what people are receiving from him under his leadership.
With a glance, the article looks very sound and biblical with quoted scriptures to support some of his points about God’s views and character towards being rich. However, in my personal opinion, there is something not right beneath those persuasive words.
My personal viewpoint
In my viewpoint and own understanding about God and His word, God’s ultimate directive has always been to preach SALVATION for the souls of man thru’ Jesus Christ and not prosperity. Even Jesus during His active ministry days didn’t preach a tinge on the subject of financial prosperity.
As recorded in the Gospels, Jesus went from town to town telling people to repent from their sins and live a godly life and nothing about a prosperous life. In fact, there was an instance where He even told a rich young man to give up all the riches He had if he truly wanted to follow Him. So this scenario refutes the claim that God wants us to be rich and in abundance materially because it is His character. God’s main aim is for us to be rich and abundant in Him- full of His love, compassion and holiness (c.f. Matthew 19:16-23).
Nevertheless, I do believe strongly that God wants to bless us in richness and abundance which may include worldy wealth, but it will and does NOT supercede the richness and abundance that springs from our salvation; our relationship with God. We are never complete without God in our lives. With Him, we are spiritually rich with abundance of His blessings walking closely with Him.
Being fully rich in Him
Lastly, Jesus did say in the Gospels that “the poor you will always have with you…..” (c.f. Mark 14:7) so that means not everyone will be rich in this world we live now. It is a fallen world. Then how can we be on a sole mission to preach and pray against financial proverty?
I reckon that the most we can do is educate people on financial management in the light of being a faithful and productive steward. As Christ-followers, we need to grow holistically with our financial intelligence being one of those aspects.
As illustrated with the parable of the talents, some will have plenty and some will have little (c.f. Matthew 25:14-29). Hence whether we are have plenty or we have little, we need to be content and thankful to God. Subsequently, fully utilising what we have (plenty or little) with the expansion of God’s Kingdom in mind.
Knowing God in His fullness
We need to know God with His Word as the fundamental basis and framework where we draw our understanding about Him. And it needs to be complete, balanced and in depth.
I just pray that those who receives his message of prosperity would not follow God only because of the strong allure of wanting to be rich financially. But to worship God for who He is as our merciful and loving Abba Father who forgave our sins by laying His life selflessly, and to do His will in preaching the Good News of salvation.
Note: Views are shared on a personal capacity and not targeted at the character of Rev. Dr. Ulf Ekman but the message. Corrections on my views are gratefully welcome.