When I think of this word, I often think of wealth along with it. I imagine financial success for sure. I enjoy learning from people who are prosperous and successful. I think I learned a lot of lessons about prosperity during the “great recession”. It’s a bit comical when I hear economist say the time frame of 2007-2009 and for me it felt like 2007-2011! In my line of work and in my local economic area, it took a while to pull out of that tailspin that we were in.
I came across this word prosperity in the book of Job this morning. One of his “friends”, Eliphaz is chastising him and has some advice to give Job in the midst of his suffering. Eliphaz is a speaking directly into Job and calling him out on some situations of his past. I don’t know if he is embellishing them, or if they are factual. He gets to this one spot in his lecture and it made me think a bit more. Check this out…
21 ‘Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.
22 Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart. (Job 22:21-22 NIV)
I’ve heard pastors teach a “prosperity gospel” and I have strong convictions about that. I don’t believe if I follow the Lord fully, I’ll become wealthy in financial terms. I do believe that the Lord has blessed my business because I’ve asked Him to. I also want to honor Him and His call upon my business. I also think prosperity can be more than financial. I think prosperity can mean blessing and contentment. I’ve seen people who are prosperous who are completely miserable. I’ve seen prosperous people try to buy their health. I’ve seen prosperous people whose family is estranged because their values were more about prosperity than peace. Prosperity is not a bad word, but I think it’s a misunderstood word. I believe prosperity means balance in blessing as well as giving. I feel prosperous when I give. I also think giving can bring much peace.
This passage in Job is really wise counsel for me today.
I want to be at peace with God – personal terms with Him.
I want to accept instruction from Him – simple obedience.
I want to lay up His words inside my heart – build my convictions.