Wednesday, March 9, 2011

True Prosperity

The True Jesus Church, according to Wikipedia, is a “non-denominational Christian church that originated in Beijing, China in 1917.”  Here in Taiwan, some say the True Jesus church denomination (it has many churches) is  a pseudo-Christian cult since the very name itself implies that other groups do not know the “true Jesus”, belong to the “true” church, etc. I have only had limited experience with its adherents (mostly  children living temporarily in a tent city with their families in DongShi, Taichung county after Taiwan’s notorious 921 Earthquake), so I will not comment further about this here.

However, over the years I have often driven by the True Jesus Church along the intersection of ChongHua and GongYuan Roads in Taichung City. Finally yesterday I was able to take a picture:


Here’s a close-up of the poster, which has always caught my attention in light of the context (others have probably written about this in years past as well):


In the bible verse quoted above, Job 22:21 says: “Submit to God and be at peace with him;  in this way prosperity will come to you.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, someone failed to notice that the one making the statement in the statement above was Job’s poison-dart throwing “comforter” Eliphaz the Temanite. I remember as far back as high school being told by my English teacher, that, when reading Job, be careful to note who is saying what!

At the end of the book, after the LORD speaks to Job, he says to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7). Unfortunately, this group has unknowingly posted a statement over their main entrance about prosperity which comes from the mouth of someone who misrepresented God’s truth.

What does the bible say about blessing and prosperity? For one, it’s in a Person and not our possessions. Here are some statements coming from places in the Good Book the veracity of which no one would doubt:

Taste and see that the LORD is good;  blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Ps 34:8)

Praise the LORD.  Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in his commands. (Ps 112:1)

May you be blessed by the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. (ps 115:15)

Jesus said: "I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

And finally, Jesus said: 
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Let’s seek God instead for this kind of prosperity, as difficult and agonizing as it may sometimes sound.