Prosperity Is Not a Bad Word, and We Must Start Embracing It as Good
A popular pastime today is to decry prosperity as an evil that plagues the world. These folks think that all people who prosper are greedy and selfish—though some are. They advocate taking from those who have and give to those who have not. In truth, these people aren’t interested in helping the poor as much as they are envious that others have more than they do.
They miss the point that God wants us to prosper.
The Bible has much to say about prosper and prosperity. We often think of prosper in terms of money, but it also applies to other areas of our life. Our family can prosper. We can prosper by enjoying good health. And we can prosper in intangible ways when we lead a God-honoring life.
Consider some of what the Bible says about the idea of prospering:
- God plans to prosper his people and not harm them, plans to give them hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
- God told Jacob to go back home and he would prosper (Genesis 32:9).
- Obey God that we may live long and prosper (Deuteronomy 5:33).
- Walk in obedience with God and do all he says so that you will prosper in everything you do and everywhere you go (1 Kings 2:3).
- A person who gives generously will prosper (Proverbs 11:25).
- Those who trust in God will prosper (Proverbs 28:25).
- You will prosper more, and then you will know that I am your Lord (Ezekiel 36:11).
- God made his people prosper while they were in Egypt (Acts 13:17).
Some of these verses apply to individuals, while other passages have a broader audience, but the point we can glean from all these verses—and many others in the Bible—is that God loves us. And he wants us to prosper.
Blessed to Be a Blessing
But many people desiring prosperity, miss the point of why. They think their prosperity is for their benefit and theirs alone. Taken to an extreme we end up with a prosperity gospel and a prosperity theology. Don’t go there.
These overreaches miss the basic biblical truth that God wants us to prosper. He wants to bless us. But why?
God doesn’t bless us with success and wealth so that we can live extravagant self-centered lives. He blesses us not for ourselves but for the sake of others.
God told Abraham, “I will bless you and you will in turn bless others” (Genesis 12:2). This means that God’s blessings are not for us to consume or to squander in conspicuous living.
Our blessings are to share with others. As God is generous with us, may we be as generous toward others.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.