"Who wants to own your own business?"

I read an article yesterday that seems like a good illustration of trusting God to bring success to our own plans and efforts. It's about the spread of the prosperity gospel in Latin America:

Doris Cuxun will never forget the words that shook her out of a daze one Sunday morning during a service at Showers of Grace, a Neo-Pentecostal megachurch here. "Who here wants to own your own business? Lift your hand!" the pastor hollered.

"I want to, I want to," she whispered amid the dancing and chanting.

...Early Pentecostals reached out to the poor with the idea that poverty on earth would lead to riches in heaven. They gained a reputation for being concerned only with the "otherwordly." But the movement has unabashedly adopted a new ethos: God doesn't want anyone to be poor.

This message, known as "prosperity theology" or "health and wealth gospel," is most often associated with the newer Neo-Pentecostal branches of the religion where adherents, mostly upper and middle class, fill massive megachurches. But in Guatemala even the more traditional denominations are adopting a message of social mobility, making the words "self-improvement" and "ascent" part of the daily lexicon.

...Edmundo Guillen, the head pastor of Showers of Grace, explains their mission: "Our greatest dream is that they all become entrepreneurs."

The success of such preaching and beliefs comes, I believe, through the optimism it encourages, the so-called "power of positive thinking." At least I don't think God's behind the entrepreneurial push. I don't hear any such preaching from Jesus, who chose to be poor himself.

It just never seemed to be God's way...