Where the Millionaire Preachers Get it Wrong Every Time

Quite simply: if you do it right, there’s no money to be made.

This morning I was listening to a song by the Claire Lynch Band called Children of Abraham, and as most spiritual music does, the song explained it all.

The first line of the refrain for the song is:

Children of Abraham come by it honest,
Living on nothing but a lick and a promise.

If you’re not familiar with the phrase “a lick and a promise,” that is southern speak for “being so poor that we have nothing but wishes to live on.” The Children of Abraham came from intense, mud-digging poverty, not great wealth. And nothing about wealth or the path to gain it will do anything to make one spiritually better. If nothing else, it gets in the way.

The story of the song is from the book of Genesis-Exodus, of Moses leading the Children of Israel into the wilderness and they wandered around – pretty lost – for 40 days. (Biblical stories tend to work in a 40 day time frame.) This after some pretty huge promises from God to Abraham about this great nation that God and Abraham are putting together.

One hitch: Abraham has to do it all without God’s direct help. There’s the challenge: Not money or Lear jets or prayer cloths or books and DVD sales, but the pure survival of an entire nation, while God watches to see how you pull it off.

Imagine yourself being there: lost, and so lost that even your leader doesn’t know where you are going except “out there.” He’s led on by nothing but grains of sand as a promise that something better lies beyond the desert. And if you ask him … all he can stutter back to you is, “out there.”

Here, Claire brings the song into our own life, and that is how we all – we Children of Abraham – continue on. We want to fly like the eagles borne on the wind but we can’t do that just yet. So what does the singer pray for in the song? Patience. Not better wings. Not a swifter wind. Not more eagle-like strength. The singer prays for the patience to stick with it until the knowledge, the strength, and the strong wind comes along.

And that is the tough part of being a spiritual person: the time when there’s nothing around in any direction but hot dry dusty air… the desert of the heart. And even though what we may want is oasis, what we really need to get through is patience.

It has nothing to do with mission seeds of as much money as you have in your 401k. It’s absolutely nothing to do with a theology of prosperity – one of the biggest lies I’ve ever heard any TV preacher spout. Being this child of Father Abram that she describes is all about sticking to it, with nothing but grains of sand in your pocket to go by.

And living on a lick and a promise.

Keep the faith!
– Amen


Children of Abrahamlyrics
– sung by Claire Lynch and the Claire Lynch Band

Back when the blessing was only a dream,
Old Father Abram was looking at me.
I’m one of the many stars in the sky:
Don’t care if I stumble, I’m learning to fly.
A token of promise, like one grain of sand,
was all that he needed, to enter the land.
And those who were chosen to answer the call,
will follow his footsteps, forsaking it all.

Children of Abraham come by it honest,
living on nothing but a lick and a promise,
flying on the wings of a prayer.

The young grow weary, they run and they faint,
I want to be strong, Lord, teach me to wait.
I’ll soar like an eagle, borne on the wind,
Going wherever the Spirit will send.


What do you think?