In seems to me that in times of desperation, we are extremely impressionable, we accept hope in its most perverse forms and our faith in God is strengthened. We're convinced our misfortune is due to either our transgressions against God, or the world's transgressions against us. We recognize God as being the only entity that can save us from ourselves and whatever else ails us. There is greater devotion to whatever spiritual beliefs we have. To purge our lives of the misery, we do all things passionately - pray, fast, worship, tithe. We do it all to the max. Basically my point is that desperation leads to fervent living. When I was miserable, I was willing to do any and everything possible to honor God in my finances, my work, my relationships, etc...
Now on the other hand, when things are looking good, happiness galore, prosperity flowing, we are more firm in our set of "comfort" beliefs. The belief system that is without strain, that requires minimal sacrifice. We're confident in our worldly abilities and accutely aware of what steps we took to get to this happy stage in our lives. We can't be swayed. We take all the credit - "I worked my butt off" - "I stay on the grind" - "I'm doing my thing". Thanking God in prayer is less likely to happen. We tithe less, we pray less, we shop more, we spend more, we straddle the lines of immorality more. Why? Because we think we are invincible. We tell ourselves we're "representing the King" and justify squandering our wages on our vanities - not enriching God's kingdom. We tell ourselves that we "deserve" to be pampered for all the hard work we have accomplished, as if there was no more work to be done.
I think that there are some men and women of the Cloth who take advantage of Les Miserables... They feed off the souls of the desperate to advance their goals. I wonder how many comfortable/wealthy individuals whose lives are not met with much tragedy - how many of them tithe immensely and sacrifice constantly for their church.
Don't get me wrong - I think tithing is essential, and I strongly support it. But reading some of the requests for funds taking place among preachers of "Prosperity Gospel" makes me a bit skirmish... See the NY Times article below
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