When most people hear or think about prosperity, they often envision an episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, hosted by the late Robin Leach. However, a Biblical concept of prosperity goes far beyond what can be financially obtained. In fact, when Jesus teaches his disciples, he presents them with the thought, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
Jesus’ concept of prosperity goes far beyond appeasing the flesh. He points out that true prosperity incorporates the soul. Our thoughts, what we will to do, and our emotions are incorporated into what we call the soul. True prosperity involves all of this, more than just our physical ability to accumulate things. Yet, if prosperity is more than riches, what exactly is it and what is its purpose? Is there a responsibility that we should have in relationship to prosperity? If so, what would that be?
From Jesus’ perspective, true prosperity is the ability to give out one’s own abundance.
So often, there are many who have been taught that Jesus was poor. This is not supported by Scripture. According to the Bible, we find that Jesus gave up all that he was in Heaven to become human and live the human experience. In this sense, he was poor. However, we find evidence that upon being born, men from the East came bearing lavish and expensive gifts to him, for they perceived him to be a king. We also find evidence that as the adopted son of a carpenter/stone mason, he learned the trade, which would have been quite lucrative for him growing up in Nazareth.
All of this presents us with an image of financial security. Yet, Jesus is not committed to earthly wealth; He is on a mission. The true prosperity was giving himself and the anointing that is upon Him. His prosperity is rooted in sharing the gospel of God’s Kingdom. It is out of His abundance of a heavenly prosperity that Jesus moves people from sickness to health, bondage to freedom, debt and lack to wholeness, wounding and brokenness to restoration, and from death to life.
Regardless of economic status, we too have this responsibility to make us our own prosperity and abundance in such a way that we better the lives of those we encounter. It is amazing is that the weight of the whole world’s lack is not ours alone to bear. Christ took that weight upon Himself when He went to the cross. However, it is through our collective operation as a body of believers, that we participate through our gifts, talents, and anointing to also show compassion, charity, forgiveness, humility and all of the many facets of love.
The responsibility of prosperous people is not in the redistribution of everything so that all people are the same. It is the commitment to be like Christ by hearing his heart, having compassion to lift others up as God highlights those who have need. Christ could easily have come to Earth and eliminated all lack. However, He told the disciples that there would always be poor present. This is not some cruel punishment or joke on those in that position. It is the opportunity for us to share in the responsibility of the work, as a witness to what Christ has done in our own lives. Out of the overflow of our lives, we are able to pour into the lives of others. In this, we find the responsibility of prosperity is a privilege.