Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Flourishing Mindset of Prosperity

Yesterday, we looked at Proverbs 11:24-26, the comparison between those who are openhanded with their resources and those who are close-fisted, and the results each one receives. Here are more examples of sowing and reaping, and the attitude that leads one into prosperity.

He who earnestly seeks good finds favor,
But trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
(Proverbs 11:27)
This first one is about the man who seeks what is good, not just for himself but also for those around him. Not passively watching for it but actively planning and promoting it. He “earnestly seeks” it — the Hebrew verb means that he rises up early with the dawn to go after it. He shows favor to others, and that begets favor. He finds favor with God because he reflects the heart of God, and with men because they are blessed by his diligence. He prospers because he helps others prosper. On the other hand, the one who is out for himself at the expense of others will find a lot of trouble for his selfishness, and it will ultimately lead him to poverty.
He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like foliage.
(Proverbs 11:28)
Here is the heart of the matter — the core issue: What are you trusting in? Some trust in riches. They may have a lot of money or they may be completely broke, but it they are looking to wealth and riches as the answer to their problems, the source of their supply, they will inevitably fall. Putting your trust in riches is a poverty mindset, not the path to prosperity. It is thinking like a poor man.

Compare this now with the righteous. “Righteous” is a word that speaks of covenant relationship. God offers them friendship and promises to take care of them in all things. They believe God and are reckoned as righteous, just as Abraham believed God and it was put to his account as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). God made covenant with Israel and promised to take care of them if they put their trust in Him. When they believed God and followed His instructions, they prospered; when they looked to idols and worshipped other gods, they lost all they had.

God now offers a new and better covenant with all who receive King Jesus the Messiah. The “righteous” are those who put all their trust in God, not in money. The result is that they flourish — they break forth, abound and prosper. They are exemplified by the man in Psalm 1, who delights in the instruction of the Lord and meditates on it all the time (Psalm 1:2). They are like trees planted by rivers of water, bringing forth fruit in season; their leaves do not wither, and whatever they do prospers (Psalm 1:3).

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). Mammon is the mindset of the world that idolizes money. Serving that mindset leads to worry and lack. Jesus gives the antidote a few verses later:
Therefore do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
The kingdom of God is His rule and reign in the world. The righteousness of God is His way of doing and being right. When we diligently seek after that, putting our trust in Him alone, we will always have everything we need.