I saw a thing on Joel Osteen on CNN. I don’t know much about the guy. I’ve never heard one of his sermons, never read one of his books nor have I ever seen an interview with him.
What I have seen - over and over - are atheist responses to Osteen. You see Osteen is rich. Really rich. Whether he’s a fraud / huckster or someone who’s been financially blessed by God, I don’t know. All I know is that he’s rich and for a Christian to be rich, atheists have only one response - “Jesus told you to give all your money away.”
Actually atheists use that line on all Christians. It doesn’t matter how much money the person has, the only response an atheist has in h/her repertoire is - “You call yourself a Christian? Bet you haven’t given all your money away! You’re just a hypocrite if you haven’t given away all your money. Jesus said you have to.”
What atheists are referring to of course is the account in Luke where Jesus meets a rich man who wants eternal life - or so he thinks. This man is in fact a good person - as people go. When he tells Jesus that he’s kept all the commandments Jesus doesn’t say, “No you haven’t.” However, there is one thing that the young man hasn’t done and that is, he hasn’t let God have his heart.
You know how atheists implore people, “Just be good for goodness sake,”? Well, that’s exactly what this man has been doing. He’s been keeping rules because he thinks that’s what makes him a nice person. He’s wrong. Keeping the rules makes him self-righteous.
Jesus said, “You still lack one thing.”
If you’re an atheist you’ll immediately think - “Money! He’s got to give ALL his money away and so does everyone else who calls h/herself a Christian.” Pfft!
Jesus said, “Sell all you have, and”
Here comes the point Jesus wanted to make - Are you ready for it?
“Come follow Me.”
Atheists completely miss the point. Keeping the rules (even if giving away money was one of them) isn’t what makes us fit for heaven. We can do all the right things and still be completely wrong. In fact, the rich man could have sold all his things and given all his money to the poor and still not been right with God.
“Follow Me” - is the one thing that was missing from his life.
And that is what is missing from the lives of those who say, “I don’t need God in order to be a good person.” You can be as good as the best person in the world and it wouldn’t count for anything. You can never be good enough to be good enough for heaven.
Out of the thousands that Jesus encountered during his three years of ministry, we are told of only one person - One Person - to whom Jesus said, “Sell all you have.”
Yet, atheists demand that from every one calling themselves followers of Jesus.
Isn’t that interesting?
Now, if atheists said to everyone claiming to be a Christian, get rid of any idol, anything in your life that is more important to you than Jesus, they’d be giving good advice. And, for what it’s worth, being saturated in the values of secular society has caused many of us to put acquiring things and wealth ahead of our commitment to God.
Regardless, another thing that’s interesting about this is that God Himself has made many, many people fabulously wealthy. Re read the Bible if you’ve forgotten. If you’ve forgotten, look at your own life. Yes Jesus said, “It’s harder for a Camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven,” but, and this is important. Those people who are diligently following Jesus, who really do live by faith while having been blessed by God with financial wealth are being criticised by the very people who refuse to come to Jesus because THEY fear they’ll have to share or give away the very thing they depend on - their money - their wealth - their idol. I suggest to you that it’s the latter (100's of millions of wealthy people who reject God), not the former (100's of thousands of wealthy people who strive to serve God) that Jesus was talking to re: the Camel / needle.
Only God knows at this point if Joel Osteen is on track spiritually. Human nature being what it is, he’s certainly in dangerous territory but that’s between him and his Creator.
What we can know is that atheists are not on track, even as they denigrate those who have been blessed by their Creator.
I think that’s interesting.