Prosperity in the Bible
I have read a few articles recently discussing biblical prosperity and I am just getting a little bit frustrated with the whole thing. On one side you have people who insist on being poor because they think that it is more righteous to do so and on the other I am finding some people so caught up in storing up treasures for themselves on earth, that they are missing God’s plan for their life.
As with a teeter-totter, or most things, it is difficult to stay balanced. It is easy to float to one extreme or the other. Maybe that is why there is so much division in the church over Biblical prosperity. Here are a few of my thoughts on the issue…
There is no denying that the Bible has a lot of verses about prospering.
People can debate all day long about it, but it is very clear in scripture that God took care of, blessed, prospered, his servants. You can pick just about anyone (servant of God) from the Bible and you will see examples of God’s blessing in their lives. Even Job ended up with twice as much as he started with!
Prosperity is not MONEY.
Prospering in a situation often has very little to do with money. It depends on what our need is at that moment. If my body is sick with a terrible disease, I can assure you my focus will not be on financial prosperity, but on my health prospering. Wouldn’t you?
Seek first the Kingdom.
Biblical prosperity is a result of seeking God – not stuff! It is futile, shortsighted, and foolish to try to store up treasures for ourselves on earth.
Matthew 6:19 (NASB)
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; “
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
As a result of giving up all we have (our plans, our motives, our money) losing our lives, we find them like Jesus said…
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
What I take from this verse is that, I can’t hold onto anything. I have to give it all to God. It is when we give up everything we have (not necessarily give it all away at that moment) but give up ownership of it and acknowledge that it all is for God’s purposes that we find our lives as Jesus mentioned.
It isn’t our money anyway
Once we give it all up and realize that we are merely stewards (see the Parable of the Talents)over what has been entrusted to us, it is easy to get our mind off our bank accounts. It is a lot easier to give someone else’s money away!. If God says to give, who are we to try to tell Him how to manage His money?
God did not put us down here to seek our own satisfaction.
If there is anything I have learned from walking with God is that He continues to teach me over and over to get my mind off of myself. When I am focused on ME, I am not as useful for HIM. We are all placed on this earth for a purpose. And I can assure you it is not to seek our own satisfaction. God takes care of all of his servants, but the thing to remember is that He is the only one we can trust to do it. If we put our trust in ourselves, we might as well be building a house on the sand.
The purpose for our financial prosperity is to bless others!
The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is required…
…From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.
I wholeheartedly believe that as our finances begin to increase, our giving should increase. As financial prospering takes place in our lives, it should be used to benefit the lives of others and not just build our own barns…
Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
If we truly understand how God’s system works, we would want to spend every waking moment on this earth giving. We would not even think twice about giving our time, money, energy or anything else. God tells us to store up treasures in heaven – not on earth! He is saying this for OUR benefit because He knows that ultimately we will be far more blessed if we obey!
You can’t give what you don’t have
Personally, I want to give a whole lot of money away over the course of my lifetime. In order to do that, I think it is probably going to be sitting in a bank account of mine at some point. That doesn’t make it mine. It just means that at the moment, I am the steward who is responsible for it.
It really doesn’t matter whether we have a lot or a little. Our goal should be to give all we can, regardless of how much is in our bank accounts.