Monday, January 15, 2007

The Prosperity of God is Also Financial

He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
(Psalm 1:3)

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 2)
The Scriptures are clear that God wants His people to prosper. The Hebrew word for “prosper” means to push forward, break out, come mightily, go over, excel, be profitable, advance and make progress. The Greek word means to have a good journey, be successful, even to succeed in business. That is what God has for all of His people.

It is important to note that the prosperity God has for us is, first of all, a prosperity of soul — a matter of the heart. That is clearly stated in 3 John 2, but we also find it spoken of in Psalm 1 in this way: “Blessed is the man … His delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law he meditates day and night” (v. 2). As we have seen, the result is that whatever he does shall prosper.

But does this prosperity include money? Many Christians believe it does not. But what does the Bible say? “Whatever he does shall prosper” and “I pray that you may prosper in all things.” All and whatever are inclusive terms — they leave nothing out. Certainly prosperity is more than just financial and material wealth, but it does include them. They are part of “all” and “whatever.”

We see this stated even more directly elsewhere in Scripture. For example, Psalm 112:3 says of the righteous man (that is, one who lives in awe of God and delights in His commandments), “Wealth and riches will be in his house.” Though some might try to say that this is referring only to spiritual wealth and riches, it is clear from the context that the psalm writer is talking about material wealth and riches.

Is God interested in our possessions? Yes, He is. Look at the word of wisdom He gives us in Proverbs:
Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
(Proverbs 3:9-10)
When we honor Him with our possessions, and with the firstfruits of all our increase — that is, the first and the best, not the last and the least — then He will also honor us in kind: Our barns will be heaped up with plenty and our vats will overflow with new wine. This is not just having just enough, it is having more than enough.

We find something similar in the New Testament, in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. He is preparing to receive an offering from the believers there to take to the believers in Jerusalem. In other words, it is a financial context. Now, notice what Paul says:
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
That is wealth indeed: always have all sufficiency in all things, and abundance for every good work! You see, that is what financial prosperity is for, and why God wants it for all His people. It is always having everything we need to take care our families, ourselves, and whatever God has called us to do, PLUS having abundance — more than enough! — so that we can give to every good work. As Leroy Thompson calls it, it is “Money with a mission!”

The clear word of Scripture is that God wants all His people to prosper in all things, and that includes finances. He does not want us to love money, serve money, or trust in money, but He wants to prosper us financially so we can use money for His kingdom purposes, and to supply every good work.