The infamous Benjamin Franklin once stated, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” This has universally been considered very sound advice for anyone to follow. However, is the biblical view of possessing wealth one of admiration or disapproval? Throughout Scripture, we read of clear references which indicate that Jehovah Jireh (Provider) desires to prosper those who worship Him. If He actually despised wealth, we should wonder why the Almighty blessed Job and Solomon with so very much of it. Yet despite even the many New Testament verses to the contrary, some insistently espouse that Christians must exist in scarcity in order to please God. Jesus Christ Himself said otherwise in declaring that He came to give us an ‘abundant’ life – even explicitly relating parables of being wise with our resources to ensure both temporal provisions and heavenly treasures through His glorious grace.
Most would surely agree that the entire Bible consistently presents greed and covetousness in a negative light. Undoubtedly then, the issue is not what we have, but how our prosperity is applied, which determines whether the Lord God is honored. Early on in human history, He employed a mathematical principle to determine what portion of their blessings the Hebrews should offer back to Him – hence the ‘tithe’, which means tenth. In the New Testament, believers are simply admonished to give cheerfully – perhaps even a quarter or more of their wealth – according to the level of faith in Christ that they possess and distinct promptings for generosity toward particular causes.
The unchanging God of the Bible most certainly desires that we reap what we have sown in all aspects of living – generally leaving our level of accomplishment and benefits up to the free will He has graciously bestowed upon us as His image bearers and to His sovereignty over our eventual outcomes. Of course, advocating an abundant, prosperous life does not discount the trials that are common to our human existence – though these will assuredly be less prevalent when we practice wise stewardship of our provisions. This includes not only finances, but also in regard to our relationships, education, and health. We know for instance that eating nutritiously, sleeping adequately, exercising moderately, managing stress, and avoiding toxins will generally lead to overall wellness. Similar successes are achievable in every other area of our lives.
All in all, the cost of success is summarized as follows: We are strongly warned that those possessing greater wealth and capabilities will be expected to accomplish much more in order to provide for the lack of others (voluntarily, not socialistically). Another price which is often somewhat difficult to grasp is this: If after much diligence in our pursuits, we become rich in wisdom and even material gain – critics will inevitably arise to judge our motives. So as we seek to gain knowledge of improving our overall physical, mental and spiritual well-being – as well as to acquire skills for earning honest, significant wages, we must keep the resulting prosperity in the Divine perspective. If we persevere in fixing our eyes upon the Living God as our guide, opportunities will abound for us to give both humbly and generously in feeding, clothing, housing, educating and healing the disadvantaged – along with meeting the most critical of all needs – advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ worldwide for the eternal salvation of the multitudes!
Application Verse: “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” – Jesus Christ (Luke 6:38)
Prosperous Site: http://www.seedsofprosperity.com/abundance-and-prosperity.html
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