What is prosperity?
‘‘Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thou soul prospereth.’’ 3 John 1:2
Additional reading: Psalm 118: 25; Zechariah 1:17
What immediately comes to your mind whenever you hear the so called prosperity message being preached? Just like you, most other persons have confused prosperity with what really prosperity is not or just a fraction of what it is. So what really is prosperity?
In view of the misunderstandings about what prosperity is and what it is not, I will do everything possible within my limit to give a balanced perspective of what this widely talked about subject is. It is expedient we strike a balance because years before now, the Church believed that poverty was God’s order for His people. This was an extreme. Today, we find ourselves in yet another extreme; prosperity or nothing! Many say that as God’s children, we have no choice but to prosper. Others maintain that while the Church should prosper, it should not be at the expense of the main thrust of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
According to Dictionary.com, prosperity is: a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, especially in financial respects; good fortune. In the same taught, Encarta Dictionaries says that prosperity is success: the condition of enjoying wealth, success, or good fortune. One thing is clear in these two definitions of prosperity, viz; they see prosperity in terms of success, good fortune and wealth, which when looked at, comes down to something that is the general perception of what prosperity is and that is money. Please note that Dictionary.com clearly defines prosperity…especially in financial respects.
But does the Bible agree with the above definitions of prosperity? One thorough look at the above scripture will give an insight. ‘‘Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper[euodoo…to help on the road, succeed in reaching, to succeed in business affairs] and be in health, even as thou soul prospereth.’’
Apostle John’s message to Gaius is clear and simple, though greatly misunderstood as a result of misinterpretation: I pray that you do well in all areas of your life just as you are doing well spiritually… (Author’s words). Thus, prosperity as used here is not directly linked to financial prosperity alone as many think and teach. Rather, it implies the total well being of the Christian. It means to have a successful journey through life…that we should do well in all our endeavours…in business and finance, in family relationships, health and every other thing that pertains to the Christian. In short, prosperity is a total package.
In biblical terms, therefore, prosperity means to advance, succeed, to make progress, to profit, etc, in all areas of life. Please read: ‘‘My dear friend, I know that you are doing well spiritually. So I pray that everything else is going well with you and that you are enjoying good health.’’ (ERV). ‘‘…dear friend and I pray that all goes well for you. I hope that you are strong in body, as I know you are in spirit.’’ (CEV).
Meditation: Now that I know prosperity is not all about financial success; how well am I doing in other areas of life?
Prayer: As it is Your will that I succeed in all areas of my life, may I indeed advance in everything I do according to Your word.
Question: (1.) What is the biblical definition of prosperity? (2.) In what way does the biblical view of prosperity
differ from the world view?