I like the movie “Pollyanna”. The premise that an orphaned daughter of missionaries can bring a new perception to a business town through her naïve faith delights me.

PollyannaWhen she loses her faith, tested beyond what her little body can bear, the very people revived by her witness become the witnesses and she finds her faith again.

As far as it goes it seems solid enough.

But Pollyanna theology is based on the promises in the Bible. “Pollyanna” is a feel-good movie which focusses on a fringe issue.

Christian faith is based on the cross: unjustified violence, undeserved love, sacrifice, reward costing an extreme payment, and loyal service no matter what the cost. First comes the cross where the cost of our salvation was paid. What follows is serving the Saviour, giving people food, water, clothes, and visiting the sick and those in jail.

Surely you have noticed that these are the needs we have in this life. When the Bible declares that God will supply our needs it does not promise miracles (though that happens). Christians become the distributors of God’s supplies by the love of God which moves us and the gracious provision from Creator (“Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above” [James 1:17 God’s Word©])!

The Good Samaritan by Steven Sawyer

The Good Samaritan by Steven Sawyer

This is the real problem with the prosperity (Pollyanna) gospel. It teaches we should have faith that God will look after us, but does not teach that believers (servants of the Living God) are to be the Samaritan neighbours providing out of our purse what the victims need.

Serving Jesus means dying to self (and our ego trip life), instead bringing glory to God. It means some weaknesses will NOT be healed (thorn in the side 1 Corinthians 12:7-10) to keep us humble and conscious of the power of God in our lives. Trouble-free is a modern ad cliché, not a Biblical teaching. Serving Jesus may mean losing home and relatives, beatings and torture, and even our physical life.

One doesn’t join Jesus for the union benefits. Jesus draws us with indescribable love. That love transforms us from selfish, spoiled brats to compassionate community workers. True Good News “is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread”(Daniel Thambyrajah Niles, 4 May 1908 – 17 July 1970).

The promises are nice. Serving on the front line against evil, however, is what God calls us to, not a joy ride of irresponsibility.