God Ain’t Using You to Show Off

 

I recoil almost every time I walk into someone’s home and eye a big ole “BLESSED” painted on a slab of wood hanging on the wall. Or whenever someone walks past me in the grocery store wearing a t-shirt that declares “Blessed.”

Really, y’all?

I am sure the people who wear those shirts or hang those signs simply mean that they are “grateful.”

But for those of us to whom words matter, “Blessed” carries the connotations that the same word “Favored” does. There is an inherent message – subliminal if you will – that you did something that earned you that favor or that blessing.

Kanye West recently claimed God “blessed” him with a $68 million tax return because he is living in service to God now. (My own curse words deleted here).

He says that God let him “suffer” so that he could better relate to the people in his congregation – an invitation only group. What Kanye West is running is a private club for those seeking “blessings” (wealth).  Have you ever noticed how people are attracted more to the wealthy than to the poor?

“God is using me to show off,” West said. “This year I looked up and got $68 million returned to me on my tax returns. God is just showing off. He’s showing out. I get to work for God and He shows out.”

I have been writing about the Prosperity Gospel for over a decade now. It is a terrible theology that is the bastard child of Capitalism. Briefly, rich people can’t maintain their riches without a willing working class they can exploit. They have to get the masses to buy into their products, their way of thinking, their scheme. And there is no better way to reach masses of people than through the churches. So part of Calvinism and most every other form of religion is this notion of convincing the masses that God demands a “strong work ethic.”

Back when we were primarily an agrarian culture, we had to have a strong work ethic in order to eat. We didn’t need preachers telling us to work hard. We understood that plowing dry ground was hard work, as was picking cotton. Keep in mind that many a preacher told slaves that it is their lot in life to be enslaved.

Basically, we still have that mentality being preached from pulpits and “inspirational” pulpits and Oval Offices all across America. Hell, it’s even embedded in the “American Dream” which, if we are honest, is more of a nightmare for most people.

In reality, Socialism is far more the message of Christ than Capitalism, but you won’t hear Paula White, T.D. Jakes, or Yeezy preach that message. Convincing you to buy into their messaging is the only way they can continue to be “Blessed”.

But it’s not God blessing them.

It’s a system of corruption.

A system of exploitation.

A pyramid scheme that rewards those slick enough to convince the hurting to funnel their monies upwards towards them in order to get the little bit that trickles down.

The reason Kanye got $68 million back in taxes didn’t have a damn thing to do with God. It has to do with corruption. A system that ensures the rich get richer off the backs of the hard-working middle class and the poor souls working 3 jobs in order to live at poverty levels.

Kanye got millions back in taxes because millions more working class people paid higher taxes. While Kanye gets richer, Baptists in the Bible Belt and Lutherans in the Mid-West are losing farms that have been in their families for generations. While Kanye gets richer, moms with breast cancer in Wisconsin and veterans with diabetes in Pennsylvania are dying from lack of healthcare or insulin.

Perhaps we should start marketing “Cursed” shirts or slab boards to everyone who is burdened with co-pays on medical bills? Or the people in Flint, Michigan, still in need of clean water? Or to the 24-year-old with $45,000 in school loans to pay back?

Some of the most grateful people I’ve ever met in my life lived on the streets in Raleigh, North Carolina. Homeless people who were grateful for every single thing ever offered to them.

The homeless understood grace in a way that people like Kanye West and Paula White and T.D. Jakes never will.

Going around bragging about your riches, claiming you have been “blessed” because you are faithful to God is akin to picking up a pile of fresh feces and smearing it in the faces of every man or woman or child who has done without.

This is not the Jesus way. Not at all. Don’t be fooled. Please, people, be grateful. Be grateful for every single thing in your life, but for God’s sake, quit perpetuating the lie that you are “Blessed”. The theology within such a statement is that you did what was expected of you so God “blessed” you. Thus those who aren’t as “Blessed” must not be following God as faithfully as you.

It’s a hurtful message to the already hurting.

The real message of Christ is to share one another’s burdens. To sit silently with those who don’t have what you have. To give them our coats off our backs, the shoes off our feet. To do everything we are capable of doing to help them. Not because we will be rewarded for that, but because the message of God is simply, “Love one another in deed and in truth, and not in word alone” .

Kanye claims he is helping amplify and build God’s brand. Bulldookey. God doesn’t need any help from Kanye in getting his message across.

Creator’s might is found in the mountains. His grace runs in the rivers, the oceans. His provision is in the silver salmon and the golden grain. His blessing is in the rain, and the sunshine that follows. His goodness? It’s all around us, and, whether we live it or not, is always within us.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” II Tim 3: 1-5.

 

 

 

 

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

12 Comments

Estella C Shockley

about 2 weeks ago

Preach the Word! Years ago I lost someone I thought was a friend simply because I would not embrace the gospel of the televangelists of the PTL and 700 Club. It was wrong to me then, and it has only gotten worse. Thank you Karen for speaking the truth.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 weeks ago

I am sorry you lost a friend over this, girl. Some folks just want so badly to believe God has singled them out for wealth and all things good.

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Pat Mallon

about 2 weeks ago

Some people, it feels like, forget the second parts of some scriptures. "To those given much, MUCH IS EXPECTED" If we get much through hard work and fortunate events, we were never expected to hoard it. Relative to many, I haven't been given much. Relative to where I came from, I have a lot. The biggest blessing is the feeling I get when I am able to help and do so.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 weeks ago

Even if they do figure out that they are supposed to give back (Joel Osteen certainly has decided that he must at least for appearances do good to others) the theology is messed up. And so very hurtful for so many.. The good works are often tied directly to "I am blessed so I do for you because God will keep blessing me and I still get to lord my good deeds over others."

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Judy Sheppard

about 2 weeks ago

True down to the last syllable. Amazing how a beautiful, religious word can become a boast ... “God loves me best.”

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 weeks ago

This notion that God loves Americans best is part of American DNA.

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Jill Hubbs

about 2 weeks ago

I have often heard people say that they are “blessed and highly favored.” That “highly favored” term always sounds a bit obnoxious to me, like they believe God loves them better than others. God favors some people more “highly” than others? It is not a phrase I would ever use. I have said I was blessed, meaning I had received blessings from God for which I was grateful. The blessings God gives are for everyone...

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Mike Yarbrough

about 2 weeks ago

I fail to see how you can equate a new Christian like West, who quite frankly doesn’t know any better, with people who have a “blessed” sign hanging on their wall...Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has Blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” So...yeah,I am BLESSED...even though I don’t have a sign that says so... I’m just a Baptist Preacher of a small country church...

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 2 weeks ago

Even Baptist preachers in small country churches preach a theology. Some do it well. Some perpetuate the prosperity gospel that West has embraced. In fact, a lot of preachers in small corners all around this country confuse being a Christ follower with pursuing the American "Dream" and encourage their followers to believe that their "blessings" are a direct result of "God's favor" - something they've earned and deserve. I welcome your input and I thank you for speaking out. But I am going to maintain that being grateful is the better theology than being blessed.

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Jean McCusker

about 1 week ago

Thanks. I appreciate your words.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 1 week ago

You are welcome

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Dana Parker

about 1 week ago

The Gospel has been Americanized. Jesus made is clear that to follow him would cost everything. I wonder if Kayne West lost everything if he would still be blessed and following Christ. As Job said,. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD.

Reply

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