“I look forward to a great future for America, a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.” – John F. Kennedy
Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. – Ecclesiastes 5:10
Prosper: “to become strong and flourishing” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Ever heard of the prosperity gospel? It often gets a bad name because people claim that it’s all about asking Jesus for stuff and Him giving it. I’m not sure that’s what the prosperity gospel is all about. I do know however that Jesus is able to give us the greatest prosperity we could ever imagine. I don’t blame Joel Osteen for preaching happiness and joy. It’s what he does. Is there anything wrong with teaching that there is happiness, or joy, in following Christ? I don’t think so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to defend or prosecute anybody. I can’t get into the hearts of prosperity teachers and see if they are humble in spirit or if they actually believe God will grant us whatever we desire. What I can do is read God’s Word and listen to what He says and see what He has done. Many of God’s servants were more prosperous than anyone reading this. Many of them, God says, He personally blessed with wealth because they chose to serve Him. And many of them also suffered for their service as well. There’s one common denominator among all of them. That is, they loved the Lord and served Him. For some that means wealth, for others sadness, but for all there is joy. I’ve heard it said that the day the Forbes Magazine top 50 wealthiest people list comes out is a rough one for some. The funny thing about that list is that it’s depressing. Not for the average person reading it but, oddly enough, for some of the people on the list. Do you know how much money you have to have to be on that list? No one could spend it all. But for the guy or gal who lost a spot, $35 billion isn’t enough. But before we get all judgmental and high on our horse, let’s see the ways we’re the same. If you are a fellow American, you’re one of the richest people in the world. To someone who makes a dollar a day and eats rice for every meal (like the majority of the world’s population), worrying about the kind of car you drive is just as stupefying as worrying about your wealth ranking. God provides… He provides us with what we need. He can bless us with much more. He should be all we need. If we’re blessed with wealth; praise the Lord. If we’re scraping by; praise the Lord. If the worst has just happened; He is there when we’re ready to be comforted. Prosperity. Wealth. Joy. They’re all from the Lord. They can all be a curse or a blessing. That’s largely up to you and me. It depends on how we use the things we have. If we view everything we have as strictly for our use, I guarantee they will turn into a curse. But if we give out of lack, I guarantee we will be blessed. If with nothing more than a smile. And that’s really the pinnacle of the prosperity gospel isn’t it? To have a smile. I can’t help but think of Paul and Silas in prison, in stocks none-the-less. What did they do? They sang joyfully. What happened? They were set free. That to me is the prosperity gospel. It’s not God giving us everything we desire, but Him giving us everything we want. That is simply joy. And joy is something God can use. Can you imagine walking up to a person with a horrible frown, and upon asking what’s wrong, they simply respond, “I was just thinking about Jesus.” No! More often than not the love of Jesus looks something like this.
“You’re going through so much, can I ask how you’re able to smile so much.”
“Oh, I was just thinking about Jesus.”
That’s the prosperity gospel. That’s what Jesus can do. There’s wealth and wisdom in that. There’s strength and restraint in that. And there’s power in purpose through that. Praise the Lord!
Daily Journaling Questions:
- How did I help someone in kindness today?
- What did I learn today?
- What am I thankful for?
- Who did I love today?
- What am I dreaming of?
- What about today do I want to remember forever?
- What are my goals for tomorrow?
Thanks for reading,