Prosperity in the economy of the Kingdom of God has been the hot topic of the day as many of the Kingdom’s people have been taken advantage of by their leaders. These leaders justify their actions by saying that the Bible says, “I wish you would prosper and be in good health.” The problem with what they are saying is that the Bible actually states, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 Jn. 2).
This Scripture is being misapplied in the Body as a promise from God when it was actually intended to be a greeting from one believer to another fellow believer. This does not negate the fact that God “…gives us richly all things to enjoy…” (1 Tim. 6:17). However, when God does provide these material things, they serve a binary purpose:
1) to meet our daily need, and 2) “…that they (we) do good, that they (we) be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate…” (1 Tim. 6:18).
The phrase “…willing to communicate…” comes from a Greek word, koinonikos, meaning ‘to be liberal.’ The word, liberal, means ‘to be given freely or abundantly,’ which corresponds to what Jesus teaches us when He said, “…freely ye have received, freely give…” (Mt. 10:8). Anything that has been given to us by God comes with a responsibility. God expects us to be good stewards over all parts of His creation. This is inclusive of the material things that he has provided us. If we see a brother or sister in need and we have the means to help, then we should be of assistance (Mt. 25:35-40, 42-45). In the abovementioned passages, Jesus explains that in extending love and mercy to one another, we are, in essence, doing the same to Him. When we refuse to be generous with something that belongs to God, we are refusing to be loving and merciful to Christ as well. The underlying motive behind this is the spirit of greed.
We all hear too often that “money is the root of all evil.” This is a lie and a trick of the enemy. The Bible teaches us, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves with many sorrows” (1 Tim. 6:10). Money takes on the personality of the person who is in possession of it. It reveals the true nature of the person who is in possession of it. If a person is stingy, it will be exposed. If a person is liberal, it will be exposed. If a person is a wise steward, it will be exposed. If a person is an unwise steward, it will be exposed. It is true that it takes money to make the world go around because it can help foster many of the essential relationships we need to advance God’s Kingdom. Conversely, it can also destroy our efforts when the finances that are intended for Kingdom advancement are placed in the hands of a person who is filled and motivated by the spirit of greed. The Apostle Paul warns us to “…flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness…” (1 Tim. 6:11).
There is nothing wrong with having nice things. But we must learn to do so in ‘moderation,’ which comes from Greek word, epieikes, stressing “that which is appropriate.” This corresponds with the contemporary definition, which describes it as “the avoidance of extremes or excesses.” We cannot allow ourselves to be overcome by the spirit of greed because it will consume every good intention we aspire to accomplish in the name of Christ. Most importantly, it will bring a reproach upon God’s reputation and that of His Kingdom as well.