“To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless” (I Corinthians 4:11)
Verses like this assure us that the Apostle Paul (as well as other New Testament writers) would not recognize the “gospel” that the purveyors of today’s “prosperity gospel” are selling. Despite the popularity of the message that God wants everyone to be rich and healthy and successful, there is no sound scriptural basis for it. The verse we are considering today is one of many that contradicts the popular but misleading teaching.
Paul said he was “hungry and thirsty”, “poorly clothed”, “homeless”. Hardly a life of “prosperity”! Did he miss the memo that he should have his “best life now”? No, Paul knew the truth: that God did not intend for his “best life” to happen here on this earth. He taught in II Corinthians 5 that his reward awaited him in heaven, which is why he desired to depart and be with the Lord. Jesus taught that same perspective: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” (Matthew 6:19-20)
The false teaching has a certain appeal: after all, who would not want to be guaranteed health, wealth and success here on earth, as well as eternity in heaven? But Paul reminds us here that like many things that sound too good to be true, the prosperity gospel isn’t.