There’s much controversy over prosperity teaching.
Although the Bible mentions prosperity in a positive light, and Jesus spoke of abundant life under the leadership of the Good Shepherd, it also sees the deceitfulness of riches as a hinderance to kingdom living.
The truth is that it’s not whether we, as disciples, determine that prosperity is part of the blessing of God or not. It is whether God believes in prosperity that counts.
I wrote an article some time ago that discusses the way in which Christians have different perspectives on certain issues which results in taking sides, whereas neither is totally right or wrong.
‘It’s interesting to see that sometimes we group into clans, or take sides in an argument, and each company takes a doctrinal stance which reflects their opinion and off we go…into error …oftentimes.
So one side talks about scripture which reflects austerity, and the other prosperity, and the weight of evidence on both sides is heavy, so we bludgeon one another to a pulp and in our mashed and bloodied states declare the holy ground to be beneath our feet and the other mob to be outside of the will of God!
Blood and mash make for slippery foothold, however, so don’t get too puffed up and risk blowing that trumpet yet, because there’s more to God than meets the eye, and he seems to have both sets of values in the bag, hence the seeming paradoxical content of the Word at times.
Contentment is the aim, surely. Godliness with contentment. Which is great gain. Paul mentioned that he’d learned to be content whether he was abased or abounding. He did not seek to favour or reject either lack or abundance, he simply pointed to the way in which we handle them when they arrive.
Somewhere between frugality and affluence is the route to fulfilment in God, not with personal lack as a goal, or one’s own riches, but flourishing in God’s purposes, call and vocation with the lost, hurting, disenfranchised and poor as our demographic and God’s grace as our resource base.
Someone mentioned our treasure being where our heart is. Jesus is our focus, and the treasure house is the kingdom, but we have a mandate to populate the kingdom with souls, so now where is our heart?
Well, surely if the unsaved world is where our heart is, then the treasure of heaven is people, not things. So to reach that treasure, we need the means, which is whatever is at hand at the time.
Whatever we bring to the table, God can multiply, as witnessed by the disciples when Jesus fed 5,000 with one little boy’s lunch pack of loaves and fishes.
Or the woman who had enough meal for last cake to share with her son before they expected to die in the famine, but which Elijah asked for, telling her to keep on baking cakes and God would multiply the meal.
The key is faith. Faith in God. The starting point is where we are now. God makes things out of nothing. He is our source. He is our sufficiency. He is our supply.
Prosperity is that condition of positive hope which takes the insignificant, meagre and insufficient and applies it to the impossible expecting the fulfilment of a promise from God, regardless of what is seen, known or understood as natural fact, or displayed as a hindrance.
If I have all, and do nothing with it, I have no need for hope, or for faith, and this is a problem, because the just shall live by faith. If I prosper, what I have needs to be applied in faith, hope and love to the assignment Christ has given me.
If I lack nothing, I have need of patience, endurance or perseverance. Biblical prosperity can only be realised where need is experienced, whether is it is the need of the giver, or the need of the receiver. Giving is said to be a higher state because it is written that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
The Psalm actually says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. Therein is my prosperity.
The Lord is my Shepherd. He is my prosperity, because He will not allow me to want. He will provide. My part is to trust, to be a good sheep. To praise Him for the verdant pastures and still waters. His part is to lead me to those places. That is why He is the Shepherd and I am the sheep.
So whether I am materially wealthy or poor, I am rich in Him, and a steward of all He entrusts me with. All is His, and all is, by association, mine, of this world and of the world to come, not to covet, nor to hoard, but to impart, and distribute, as His son and servant on His mission, in His name’