In Part 2 of this blog we completed two aspects of what prosperity is not. I am now completing the two remaining aspects. Thank you to those of you who read and commented on the two aspects. Indeed there are many interpretations and differences in thoughts and understanding of these. Let me now explain my understading of the two remaining ones. Note the numbering is from Part 2 having dealt with 2 of the 4 aspects.
3. Prosperity is not material wealth
How we interprete material wealth depends on our view of them. Material wealth may mean different things to different people. To some it may mean having lots of money in the bank, a beautiful home, expensive clothes and cars, while to others it may mean having shelter over their heads, clothes to cover their bodies, and food on the table. These extremes and differences in needs mean that prosperity is not material wealth. We may have all of this wealth but still be poor spiritually and empty in our self fulfilment. There are a number of people who are very prosperous materially, yet they do not have peace, joy and good health. Some of these people would want to exchange what they have materially just to get peace of mind, be joyful and have good healthy bodies. This is compounded by the fact that ‘money cannot buy happiness’. Sometimes the very people who are not materially prosperous are prepared to do anything to be materially prosperous. This is when the very ‘prosperous’ people such as prosperity preachers would take advantage of the poor to exploit them promising them instant material wealth. We have seen a number of churches who promise their followers material wealth by asking them to pay to have ‘one-on-one consulatations’ with them, or even forego their limited resources in the hope that they will receive double portions of what they have given to receive ‘miraculous wealth’. We all want to be materially prosperous but we forget that all these accumulations we will leave behind when we die and that none of these accumulations would extend our life. We can buy medication to cure our deseases but when it is God’s time to die, none of these would help us postpone our death. I believe that there is nothing wrong in being blessed to have what you need as you worked hard towards receiving them. I also believe that too much of everything is not right – thus sharing what we have with others is what pleases God. I believe that we are blessed to be a blessing.
4. Prosperity is not self indulging
What does self indulging mean to us as people? Does it mean looking after ourselves to such an extend that we recreate ourselves to be something else that God did not create of us? I would like to focus in particular on our physical bodies as this is one of the challenges people face in life as they become prosperous. Physically we were created as we are – light or dark skinned, tall or short, etc. What gives us the right to change our bodies to look completely different from how we originally different? I can understand when we add limbs so we can walk, hearing aids so we can hear, etc. However, most of the time, it is prosperity that makes us to want to change ourselves to look different e.g. straight and longer noises, lighter completion, longer hair etc. When we have money enough to pay doctors for example to recreate us, we mostly want to look better or beautiful than we originally look. Is this wrong? Is it not rather better to give the money to the poor by creating work opportunities, build homes and provide food for the poor? I know most of the prosperous people make contributions to help others as much as they can, but still they would like to self endulge as they have the money and opportunity to do that. Other examples of physical indulgence could be over-eating and abuse of alcoholic beverages because people have the money to do so. Over-eating could lead to health problems such as being over-weight, while abuse of alcohol may lead to liver cirrhosis for example. We know the challenges that may be attributable to such indulgences, however we still do it. Most of these do not affect the prosperous people only but even those who do not have as they spend the money they do not have to self indulge. God does not want us to do this as stated in Proverbs 25:27.
I would have like to say more on these two issues, however I know that the topic is so obvious that you as the reader could complete the sentences for me and give examples of situations that you have observed. I look forward to your comments and emails. Let us be blessed to be a blessing to others.