To prosper or not?
Well, we might as well talk about it. I mean, you need it, I need it, everyone and anyone who is a preacher has spoken on it and everyone has some opinion on it. Well what is this that I’m talking about? It’s money, or prospering. It’s the stuff we’re not to love but the stuff we need.
You may be asking yourself why on earth is Scott writing about this? Aren’t there heaps of stuff on this subject? And I would answer a great big “yes’’. And that’s the problem. One book says You need more money’’. Another says: “Be content with what you have’’. Others say: “Give till it hurts’’ or “If you aren’t going without you’re not giving enough’’ and other so-called godly statements. There are so many opinions. Which is right?
Well that’s what I hope to answer. The only thing I want to know is this. What’s God’s opinion on this money business. That’s the only opinion I’m interested in. Not mine or yours or some great preacher. Only God’s. And boy, does he have an opinion on this money business!
Now to make this a little easier for you and me, I would like to study God’s opinion on this subject in the form of questions.
Question 1: Is God against money or people being prospered?
Now I must explain this word “prosperous’’ or “prosperity’’. If I can get you to see what it means, we won’t get confused when I mention it. In the Greek and Hebrew definitions of the word “prosperous’’ when associated with money or material wealth it simply means “to be helped on one’s way’’. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less – just “helped on one’s way.’’
So, in God’s economy if I’m being helped on my way, then I’m prospering. Now money usually but not always is how we prosper or are helped on our way. Even if we are given gifts and not money, it still took someone with money to buy those gifts.
So now that I’ve explained prosperity in the context of money or material wealth let’s go back to our first question – Is God against money or prosperity?
Well I don’t think he is. Let’s look to his Word.
In Leviticus 26: 1-13 and Deut. 25: 1-14 we see God speaking to the nation of Israel. We can’t go over every detail, but let’s look at some of what he says. We’ll look at Leviticus first. God speaks to Israel and says he will:
1: Sent the seasonal rains (v4)
2: cause the harvests to overlap and they will eat their fill (v5)
3: give peace and the Israelites will sleep soundly (v6)
4: empower them against their enemies (v8)
5: They would have a surplus of crops (v10)
Now that’s not everything mentioned. But boy, that’s not a bad start.
Let’s look at Deuteronomy:
1: Cities, children, fields, animals, baskets and hands blessed (v1-6)
2: Fill the storehouses (v8)
3: They will lend and not borrow (v12)
4: Be on top and not underneath (v13)
Phew! If that’s not prospering I don’t know what is. God certainly can’t be against prospering because he is the one telling Israel this. It sounds like God’s all for it. But let’s look at some more.
Malachi 3: 9-11 and II Cor. 9: 6-11
1 So much blessing they won’t have enough room to receive it (v10)
2: Crops protected from insects (v11)
3: Grapes won’t fall from the vine (v11)
That sound like being helped on your way
II Corinthians says:
1: God will provide all you need (v8)
2: Will have everything you need (v8)
3: Plenty left over to share with others (v8)
4: Provide and increase your resources (v10
5: Produce a great harvest of generosity (v10)
6 Enriched so you can always be generous (v11)
I’ll say it again – phew! That sounds like being helped on our way, or prospering as well and it’s all in God’s Word. And it’s all spoken in the positive. So, with the four passages of Scripture I believe we can say that God is not against money or other means that would make us prosper. He’s all for it.
Now I can hear your question already: “If God is all for us prospering, how come not everyone is prospering and how come there are so many poor people in the world?’’ Good question.
Well if we look again at the four passages of Scripture we just mentioned we’ll find at least one answer.
Every scripture has a qualifier to it. Leviticus and Deuteronomy say: “If you will obey my commands’’. Malachi says “bring your tithes’’ and II Corinthians says “If you give cheerfully.’’
So, obedience or disobedience to God’s word can play a part in people’s prosperity.
But here are some others:
1: Circumstances change – climate change, government corruption, social change etc.
2: Failure at business
4: Voluntarily taking a vow of poverty
5: Simply do not believe God’s Word.
These may not answer every reason why people don’t prosper. But it certainly supplies us with some.
We will continue next time.
God bless and happy trails.