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New View of Prosperity

The early churches were a melting pot of diverse beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and economic positions. Both rich and poor worshiped in the assemblies to which the Apostle James wrote about. To this variety, he spoke to the poor reminding them that they should seek their identity in the realization that, in Christ, they have been raised to the position of a child of God. James reminds us that the danger of poverty is that a person might grow to envy the wealthy and feel inferior.

To the rich, James pointed to the fact that material wealth was not permanent. “Like a flower in the hot sun, it soon fades away.” Those who are wealthy should seek the Lord by abandoning their reliance on possessions and approaching God as a beggar seeking salvation. The danger to the wealthy is that a person might become proud and arrogant.

It is not so much that James tells us something new. What is interesting is that these verses, James 1:10-11, are directly followed by a verse that talks about “persevering under trial.”

James is pointing out that no matter what the economic position of a person, each is going to struggle with the idea that wealth is to be measured by one’s attitude toward Christ and the strength of one’s faith.

The view of prosperity and success goes against all that the world teaches. The definition of success by James is hanging there when the going gets tough. The Hebrew word for success is barak, meaning to endow with power for success and prosperity. Barak is also the word for blessed. Yes, to be truly blessed, is to believe that the commands of God and His providence will try our hearts and expose the very nature of our soul, all for a good purpose. To preserver is to be blessed.

TIPS-4Both rich and poor struggle with stewardship. It takes practice, it takes faith, it takes involvement.

Check List√

Do you know the needs of your family, friends, neighbors and community?

What is your response in times of great need?

How do you respond when you see great injustices in our world?

Do you have a sense of mission?

Does your example encourage others to be generous?

How would your children define success?

Are you ready to receive God’s blessings?

Can you ask for God’s direction and help?

The Struggle

The nature of stewardship is not a measure of one’s generosity but a measure of one’s disposition toward God. It is a measure of one’s heart. No community can move its residents to increase their worldly generosity without also moving their hearts. The faithful community lives in a vital relationship with God and is obedient to His Word. Only then is God free to give His riches and His blessings.

There is no place within God’s Word that He commands the generosity of His people to be given over to government. God calls each of us to be stewards of the world’s resources and seek out those in need.

And what should we give? The struggle in today’s world is to understand that our communities need four things to survive. They need:

  1. Our Time
  2. Our Talent
  3. Our Treasure
  4. Our Testimony

We are called to be directly involved, using our skills and talents, sharing our riches including how our faith is strengthened by our relationship with our God.

Your tip: Think big, think broad, think about the four T’s of generosity.