Do you long for wealth and prosperity? Do you wish you had abundance untold?
Or, do you need more wealth, abundance and prosperity?
There is a huge difference.
If you are truly struggling to make ends meet, struggling for the basics, that is one thing. If you simply desire or wish for more, that is another.
This is an uncomfortable subject, a rather hot topic just now, and I wasn’t keen on writing about it even though I felt prompted to do so. The word abundance or abounding in the ancient languages of the Bible refer to increase, to cast together, to augment, to multiply, copious, exceeding above and beyond the expected. Favour is connected to grace and mercy. It refers to gaining special blessings, or benefits. However it seems the interpretation has evolved into it being all about financial gain often to the exclusion of all else. Why do we feel that Biblical prosperity always refers to wealth? What's your view?
First let us consider Jabez. His whole prayer was self-centered…and that’s ok. We may do well to heed Jabez’ example. He prayed for God’s blessing-perhaps for health or protection, that God would enlarge his territory-perhaps for expanding his sphere of influence, that God’s hand would be with him-perhaps for wisdom, and finally that God would keep him from evil-perhaps for discernment. There are so very many areas of life outside our finances where we can seek extension and broadening. We don’t know if Jabez was already a wealthy man but we do know that he knew Who to go to for growth and safety- smart man! The question is what sort of growth. The growth Jabez asked for may not have been material. We just don’t know for sure. Personally I’m not at all convinced that it was. Plus, there is really only one clue as to why the Lord answered his prayer and it is found right at the beginning of the mention of Jabez. He was found to be more honourable….surely something to ponder. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. In this we must consider his obvious obedience.
After the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in Acts 4:32-37 we read that “all believers were of one heart and mind and no one felt that what he owned was his own, everyone was sharing….there was no poverty” …surely something more to ponder.
If people who owned property sold any they brought the money forward to be distributed to those in need. Yet in chapter 5, Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, not only kept some money back after the sale of some of their property, they also lied saying they had submitted it all. For this they both died. I believe the point here is that the believers knew no want or need. There was no lack. They already had enough, but Ananias and Sapphira wanted more. It must have been either their greed or their lack of faith that motivated them.
Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable?”
We may sometimes lose sight of all that we have but presently in the world we have so much more than most. Just watch the news and you can’t help but feel this driven home.
“If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head, a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world. If you have money in your bank, your wallet, and some spare change, you are (already) among 8% of the world’s wealthy.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation you are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering. If you can read this message you are more fortunate than 3 billion people in the world who cannot read it all.” Unknown
We don’t know the author of this quote so we cannot be sure of its statistical accuracy but we do know according to worldbank.org that world poverty rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years. About 100 million additional people are living in poverty as a result of the pandemic.
There is nothing wrong with asking for more if you need it. However it’s really easy to see what we don’t have and simply become envious. We must be very careful of the snares of greed and idolatry. Ask yourself this-who today would gladly trade places with me?
“I will give you life and that more abundantly.” John 10:10
“The Hebrew word for good, peace, success, wisdom and abundance are all translated into English as prosperity. In Greek, the words for prosperity combine goodness with the theme of a journey.”
What is your definition of abundance? I humbly and gratefully acknowledge that by some birth lottery that only God knows and He created I live in the western world and that certainly feels like His favour especially right now. I surely do not pretend to understand this nor do I claim some special place in His heart over others in this world because of it, or because of anything I have ever done to earn it. I can only simply say, thank you Father. Your mysteries astound me and may I be forever humbled by them! This is the focus of my heart. As a senior, every month I have enough- food, water, comfort, warmth, health and so much more, and Lord, I pray for those who do not. I celebrate what You have already given me. What more do I need? I already live an abundant, favoured and prosperous life!