Tony was in the States to speak at several Christian universities, sharing with students and others about his experiences in Cuba.
Tony spoke with me once one of his fears for the future of the church in Cuba. At this time, many people in Cuba are looking to God to help them deal with the difficulties they face. Tony said, "I worry about what will happen when abundance comes to the island."
There are lots of people who want to preach a gospel of prosperity, teaching that God's goal for Christians is to make them rich here on this earth. That goes against what the Bible says.
Jesus told his followers that it was hard for the rich to become a part of his kingdom (Matthew 19:24). The apostle Paul said that those who want to have wealth fall into a trap, and some have ruined their faith because of it. (1 Timothy 6:9-10) And James wrote: "Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (James 2:5).
Sometimes it is those whose needs are greatest who find themselves better able to depend on the Lord. And those who seem to have everything find it difficult to have what they most need: faith.
I pray for Tony and other Christians in Cuba. I pray that they will have what they need, both physically and spiritually. I especially pray for the poor, the elderly and the sick.
But I don't seek abundance for them, at least not an abundance of material goods. I've been to Cuba and seen the abundance they have: an abundance of faith, an abundance of love, an abundance of joy. Situations beyond their control have led them to lack many common things. Yet they've compensated by filling their lives with God.