Do you think it’s wrong to make money? Have you been taught that prosperity only comes to those who have done something wrong or evil?
Ray Edwards believes that we were all meant to prosper. For some our prosperity is a spiritual abundance that is accompanied by a vow of poverty. Most of us are called to greater prosperity than we’ve dreamed, but we’re afraid to pursue it because of faulty beliefs.
Before I tell you more about Ray, a quick story.
Economic theory and prosperity
During college, I studied economics with a focus on economic development. I spent seven months in Kenya studying how to help the poorest of the poor rise up out of poverty.
I found myself caught between two worlds. Some of my professors and peers advocated for social justice and caring for the poor, teaching me that socialist ideas would spread wealth more effectively. On the other hand, the economic theories I studied—particularly the Austrian school—seemed to teach that the most efficient way to spread wealth was through capitalism.
It came to a head on my way home from Kenya. I stopped for a week in Switzerland to visit L’Abri, the home of Francis Schaefer. A good friend highly recommended this as a great place to reflect and think deeply with other Christians about the experience I had just finished. As it turned out, the staff at L’Abri was on a retreat for my entire visit except for the last day. I literally only had one conversation, but it became a prophecy for the importance of today’s episode.
A gentleman, whose name I’ve forgotten, stopped me and asked who I was. Within one minute of meeting me, he said something like this, “Phil, the American church is in desperate need of prophetic voices who will call the church out of their economic lethargy. Consumer debt is on the rise and the church is paralyzed. The enemy has lulled believers to sleep. Their wealth has been weaponized against them and they need someone to awaken them.”
I wondered if God might call me to this purpose. But I returned to my upper-middle-class home, struggling to reconcile my family’s wealth with the poverty of Kenya. I lived on $200/month in Kenya—which was more than 5x the average wage of people in the church I served. My first jobs out of college had me living before the American poverty level for quite a few years. I felt spiritually superior for this (don’t worry, God convicted me of this pride!).
Introducing Ray Edwards
Ray Edwards is one answer to that prayer. He joins his voice with the likes of Dave Ramsey to call the church to prosper so that we might be a blessing to the world. Ray’s new book, PermissiontoProsper.com, serves as a clarion call to all believers to shed our debt and embrace our God-given mandate to be fruitful and multiply.
Ray Edwards is a Communications Strategist, Copywriter, and the author of How to Write Copy That Sells. His podcast, The Ray Edwards Show, is consistently one of the top-ranked shows on iTunes and has been downloaded over 1 million times. Ray has worked on copy and marketing with some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business. He’s helped generate an estimated $300 million in revenue for clients like Tony Robbins, Michael Hyatt, Dan Miller, Jeff Goins, Jack Canfield, Frank Kern… and many more. He’s been featured on Forbes.com, SocialMediaExaminer.com, and Entrepreneur.com.
Ray was also the very first guest on the Man in the Pew show. Click here to hear that interview.
From extreme debt to prosperity
Ray awakened one day to a staggering reality. While he helped create over $300 million in revenue for clients, he stared at personal debt of $500,000. How did he get there? This stark reality forced him into a season of prayer and deep introspection. The result is the book, but also a complete reversal in his personal fortunes!
The enemy of prosperity
Ray realized he thought there was something wrong with making money. He had to combat a number of false beliefs with truth from scripture.
- False belief: money is the root of all evil.
- Truth: the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Tim. 6:10).
- False belief: getting wealth requires us to do something wrong, evil, or immoral
- Truth: God blesses us so that we can be a blessing (Gen. 12:1-3).
- False belief: It’s wrong to make lots of money in business.
- Truth: Scripture is full of wealthy people who used their wealth for good and were leaders in the church (e.g. Joseph of Arimethea, Abraham, Lydia, and the good Samaritan).
- False belief: entrepreneurs and businessmen are second-class Christians.
- Truth: There is no such thing as second-class Christians. God saved and called us equally to follow him and serve him (Gal. 3:28).
The chief enemy of prosperity
At the core, our main issue is we can’t worship both God and money. In our response to this tension, many fall into one of two extremes: we either pile up money with a ravenous appetite called “greed.” On the other extreme, we avoid money thinking that poverty is somehow holier than wealth.
Most of us living in America are rich. We’re in the top 1% of wage earners in the world. But 80% of us live in debt, so we don’t feel wealthy and we constantly compare ourselves to others who appear better off than we are.
“God is okay with us having money, but he’s not okay with money having us.”—Ray Edwards
Abundance and prosperity.
If we think of life as a zero-sum game—a fixed pie—we ignore the fact that we can bake new pies. There endless opportunities for wealth creation.
When planted the way God intended, seeds will multiply. Yet, many of us approach money as if it’s additive.
The internet provides a tremendous opportunity to create a side hustle. Social media and the internet are merely pipes through which we can share hope.
One of the best ways to sustainably help people is to help them start businesses.
“Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”Warren Buffet
Prosperity leads to gratitude.
As Ray embraces a greater comfort with wealth and prosperity, he’s been asking different questions like:
- What blessing was there in losing a lot of money?
- How can I thank God for Parkinson’s disease?
- What can I be grateful for during a pandemic?
With liberated eyes and thoughts, Ray sees the blessings of deeper friendships and connections. He appreciates his family and enjoys the best season in his marriage. And he no longer thinks he’s in control.
After listening to this episode, I encourage to write down the faulty belief that holds you back from pursuing God’s plan to prosper you.
Father, I praise you as the owner of all things. I thank you for designing the world for growth. Forgive me for doubting your will and cling to small dreams and plans out of fear. Release me from faulty thinking. Protect me from the dangers of greed and a love of money. Use me to grow your kingdom and be a blessing to my neighbors, my family, and the world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.