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February 14, 2006
The other day I saw an envelope that said "Enclosed is your spiritually blessed handkerchief, now you can start receiving the blessings of God." I have been a Christian for many years and never knew that God has been withholding his blessings from me because I did not possess a "Holy Handkerchief".
I have read the bible completely through more than once and I don't remember ever reading, "Only the blessed Holy Handkerchief will unlock the doors of all heaven's blessings".
What blessings of God did the sender of the handkerchief have in mind? I suspect those blessings could be translated, "God will increase your cash flow." Struggling with your finances? Having trouble with your creditors? No problem. Just send as much money as you can to "I Have The Key To All Of God's Blessings Ministry" and we will send a piece of cloth that has been prayed over. Once you are in possession of this miracle linen, you will be amazed as God pours a mountain of money into your life.
This "Holy Handkerchief" sounds more like a good luck charm to me. This Holy Handkerchief thing is obviously a con game designed to make the inventor of it rich not the poor people desperate for a break who send in their hard earned money. There is a very popular movement in the church today called the prosperity gospel. This gospel states that if you are obedient to the things of God, then God will greatly increase your material goods. However, the emphasis is always on giving your money into some television or radio ministry in order to receive God's blessing.
Notice that the promised blessing is always an increase in riches not the many other blessings that are the true gifts of God such as eternal life and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God cannot be bribed. Why is it that you can't be blessed by supporting the church you actually attend?
Not a single one of the Apostles taught this prosperity doctrine. Their message was Christ crucified so you could have life and life more abundantly. This abundant life does not refer to the lusts of this world. What does the world seek to possess? Most people want fame, fortune, power, and sex. Fame fills you with pride making you think you have no need for God. Wealth is okay if used for the benefit of others but most wealthy people hoard material goods that they do not need instead of helping the needy. No one needs multiple million dollar homes or 10 Rolls Royces in their garage. The danger of wealth is that money becomes the object of worship rather than God.
Power corrupts. David was a king who fell into grievous sin because he had the power to do what he wanted. Innocent people die by the millions because of corrupt power. Engaging in sexual activities outside of marriage destroys families. It is natural for man to want fame, fortune, power, and sex because he is sinful so the natural man desires these things.
There is an element of truth to the prosperity gospel because we, as Christians, will inherit everything Jesus has. What does Jesus have? He has the entire universe. The gospel the Apostles preached was the good news that Christ died for our sins so we wouldn't have to. The gospel of prosperity states that your material goods will increase if you believe in Christ. This is, in effect, another gospel. It's a gospel that does not work in third world countries or countries that oppress Christianity.
What did Paul say about this in 2 Cor. Chapter 11? 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!
The prosperity gospel attracts the masses because it is what the masses want. Ministries who emphasize this see their churches filled to capacity. Does this mean that Christians won't see an increase in wealth? Certainly not. The point is wealth is not promised to us. In fact, James said in Chapter 4 that Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
As Christians, we are only visitors here. This world is not our home. What did Jesus say about the fate of those who would follow him? These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."John 16:33
I don't need a Holy Handkerchief to receive God's blessings. He has already given me eternal life which I am very thankful for. Even now as I write, I'm enjoying tremendous material and spiritual blessings. I have a roof over my head, have plenty of food to eat, a comfortable bed, a loving family, and good health. I have much to be thankful for and God is responsible for my blessings. No handkerchief has the power to bless, it is simply a piece of cloth.
If the recipients of the Holy Handkerchiefs had a runny nose and inadvertently blew their noses on a Holy Handkerchief, would that be an act of blasphemy?
Copyright 2006 by Gary Goodworth
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