I Don’t Want to be Rich But I do Want to be Prosperous.
Wealth is not my goal but neither need it be my opposition. When wealth is the prime motive, and motive is always more slippery than we’re prepared to admit, we’re likely “to fall into temptation and are trapped by many harmful desires that plunge us (them) into ruin and destruction.” 1 Timothy 6:9. And v10 adds, “For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” You can always tell a person taken by money – it’s all they talk about or that which their conversation sooner or later gets around to.
Prosperity is something all together different. It is always an attitude before it is ever an acquisition and it exists when the other doesn’t. 3 John 2. “I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” This can read – in line with how your soul prospers, how it goes within will determine how it goes without, first things first … See Psalm 1:1-3 and Joshua 1:7-8. The unambiguous message is that if God is first, truly, then we will prosper. Perhaps we could go as far as saying if God is first anything can be second. Those who find this dangerous or even untenable have forgotten the self regulatory nature of the statement and what God first may actually mean. Subtlety eludes these people which is often why they like money.
When riches fail so does hope for many people and when riches abound so does a false sense of security along with its obnoxious twin – arrogance. We are all susceptible to this – none is immune. In this case well being becomes fickle, tied in dependency to circumstance.
Paul knew how to handle both, much or little, with equal dexterity. Philippians 4:11-13. “For I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or with little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me strength.” And here it is – the secret of living in every situation, whether with much or little. The help of Christ secured him in either. This scripture is usually employed in a manner it isn’t strictly directed at. But it is certain we need the help of Christ when we have and when we don’t have – when we have so that we don’t lose sight of God and priorities and don’t lean into presumption and pride, and when don’t have so that we don’t lose heart and think things of God and ourselves that are patently untrue, none the less temporarily convincing.
Being prosperous can lead to wealth but being rich never necessarily makes one prosperous.
“True religion with contentment is great wealth.” 1 Timothy 6:6. This wealth doesn’t preclude riches but it is never reliant on them. To temper this line of reasoning it is worth noting that although he’d learnt the capacity of having or not having Paul was still grateful for the gifts the churches sent him. Given a choice we, along with the apostle, prefer to have – its more comfortable. His point is be prepared for whatever condition you find yourself in, as you will.
Money is also to be employed in a manner given little attention by those who amass it and those who spurn it – two equal and opposite errors. 1 Timothy 6:17-18. “Tell those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money … But their trust should be in the living God, who richly gives us everything we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good …” Most focus is directed to reproof of those who are loaded to not trust in their uncertain wealth (good advice) and to be generous to those with less (again good advice). But will any admit to wealth also being for enjoyment – that’s right, enjoyment, which is a quality given all too little attention, and it is my contention that unless you are prosperous you’ll never enjoy your wealth. You’ll either feel guilty or overly protective.
I don’t want to be rich, but I do want to be prosperous.