Prosperity spoilers

It’s a sad reality that prospering in the present life ends up having a negative impact on many children of God. When the going is tough, many of God’s children look to Him with simplicity of heart and purity of worship. But when the blessings begin to roll in — financially, professionally, in societal standing, and more — the values that have brought them to their affluence are quickly forgotten. Our God is well aware of this tendency, therefore, He warns:

Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, . . . Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’

—Deuteronomy 8:11–17

A stepping stone to financial blessings

Seeing oneself as a steward of God’s resources rather than a possessor is a necessary transformation on the pathway to God-given prosperity, for stewards relate to wealth differently from possessors.

money bag

Stewards realize that God is the Possessor and Owner of all resources, even the ones earned through their work, since it is through His blessings that they benefit from work.[1] They also realize that they are required to be faithful; that is, to adhere to the Master’s directives on how to utilize their resources. Stewards understand that they own nothing of themselves but are dependent on the Master to provide all they need.[2] When surrounded by wealth, they are content with being custodians rather than owners of such wealth.

Unlike stewards, possessors do not see God as the source of their wealth. As a result, they do whatever they desire with their resources, often spending them on pursuits that lead to sin. Possessors’ confidence do not rest in God but in their wealth. Their finances are not part of their spiritual worship. They fail to understand that their attitude toward money is one of the ways in which God tests their readiness for spiritual responsibility.

Stewards of a faithful King, like God, can be confident of three things:

  1. Their requests, if in line with His King’s will, will be granted.[3]
  2. He will remunerate them superfluously for being faithful to His tasks. As an example, when Solomon had the opportunity to ask God for any blessing he wanted, he chose to ask for what would enable him do God’s work more effectively. Because he did this, God blessed him not only with the wisdom he asked for but also with more wealth than any king of his time.[4] So greatly did God bless Solomon that when Jesus later taught about God’s provision, He alluded to the greatness of Solomon’s wealth by saying, “even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”[5]
  3. As they prove faithful and dependable in keeping charge over their Master’s resources, their Master will increase the value of resources committed to them.

God provides

Poverty is not of God, as is evident from several scriptures. Rather, God provides for His own. In speaking about kingdom living, the Lord Jesus taught that God knows our needs and meets them generously. He portrayed Him as a benevolent Father who takes good care of His children.

However, many of God’s children do not live in this promised provision. In many instances, this is because they still relate to wealth as possessors, not as stewards. Consequently, God limits their provision, while working to change their attitudes toward wealth. For some, this transformation happens quickly but for many it takes time to break off entrenched patterns of greed and self-indulgence.

Jesus, our example

While on earth, the Lord Jesus Christ owned all things (for He created them all) but He did not act like it. The Bible says that He did not consider His equality with God a position to be robbed. Rather, He made Himself of no reputation and yielded completely to the Father.

Abraham also owned vast resources in his time, but he did not act like it. Rather, he yielded all, including his beloved son, to God. As a result of his submission, God blessed him even more abundantly, with both spiritual and physical resources.

God desires to bless us too. But for our good, He will only commit to us as much wealth as we can handle at a time. David understood and agreed with this principle, hence he prayed,

Give me neither poverty nor riches—
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God.

—Psalm 30:8–9

Like David, we should not merely pray for financial prosperity but ask for the ability to relate to God-given wealth in a way that pleases our Father.

Prayer: Dear Father, thank You for Your promise of provision to me. As I await its full manifestation, I ask that you would transform me from a self-indulgent possessor of Your wealth to a faithful steward thereof. Teach me the principles by which You want me to manage Your resources and help me to adhere to them strictly. Help me to be faithful in utilizing the little You give me, so that you may increase the purse committed to my charge. Help me to be a fruitful and faithful executor of Your wealth. In Jesus name. Amen.

[1] Deuteronomy 8:18

[2] Psalm 123:2

[3] Nehemiah 1:11–2:8

[4] 1 King’s 3:5–15

[5] Matthew 6:28–30