Blake Allen, Dunbar Cave Campus Pastor, LHBC
“How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction and he meditates on it day and night. He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams that bears its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
I heard a story of a man who was walking with this pastor. He knew this pastor was living in horrible poverty in Ethiopia, and he made the mistake of showing a little bit of what he thought would be gracious sympathy. He told the Ethiopian pastor, brother, we pray for you in your poverty. This humble man turned to him and said, no, you don’t understand. We pray for you in your prosperity.
That took the man back, but the Ethiopian pastor explained, we pray for you Americans because it is much harder for you to live at the place God wants you to live in the midst of your prosperity, than it is for us in the midst of our poverty.
It’s interesting to think that some of the happiest and most joyful people can have the least. It is also interesting to think that we can have an abundance and yet miss out on the prosperous life.
Webster dictionary defines prosperity as the condition of being successful or thriving. And yet the way the world defines success is radically different than how the Bible describes success.
Take for instance how success is depicted in Joshua 1: “be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.”
Success is defined as obeying all God instructed. Although this instruction is in context to overtaking the land, God says the Israelites would have success “WHEREVER THEY WENT” if they did not depart from God’s word. Furthermore, even though they would inherit the promise land, spoils from war, prominence, etc., the focus of success was not the earthy rewards but rather a right relationship with the Lord. The other “stuff” was just an added bonus.
Too often, mankind desires the “added bonus” rather than a right relationship with the Lord. In the eyes of God, that is not success. Rather, that is just living like the rest of the world. True prosperity can only be found in the Lord, not apart from a right relationship with Him.
Psalm 1 further sheds light on this reality. The author states that prosperity is found in the word of the Lord. Those who hear from God and delight in God will experience the prosperous life. In other words, when you’re walking with Jesus, you will prosper. This is not a promise of a life of ease. It is a promise of finding true joy, contentment, security, peace, and flourishing in Christ who is our provider for salvation and life.
What about you? Are you living the prosperous life? Is your relationship with the Lord prospering? Is your identity in Christ and not stuff?
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, keep us in your name and help us to walk according to your word. Help us to live the prosperous life in Christ by applying your word to our lives as imitators of Christ. Amen.