Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Matthew 6:19-21 says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Based on the some messages I have heard recently, the current economic state of the union, and the way my anomalous mind works, I have been contemplating prosperity and what it really means. I have personally never been a person who desired massive amounts of wealth. I have never wanted a mansion, a brand new BMW, the latest (and most expensive) technologies, or anything of this nature. It is not that I believe these things are in and of themselves bad things. I am not sure I can pinpoint the exact reason I do not desire these items. It could be because my parents worked very hard to instill in my siblings and I to be patient and diligently save for anything of value that we really wanted. When you have to save for something, it really does make you question whether or not it is worth all of the time and effort required to gain it. I also like to think that I place a lot more value on relationships than on stuff. I have never minded too much to go without something. I figure if I have made it without something for so long, I can probably continue to go without it. For example, I have thought many a time that I "need" to get myself a black belt. I don't have one. I have a brown belt that I wear most of the time, and I have a couple other belts that are colors. I have no black belt, but whenever I think about actually spending money on a black belt, I decide against it. You see, I think I have been without a black belt for about 5 of my 22 years now. If I have lived without something as simple as a black belt for nearly a quarter of my life, do I really "need" it?
Anyway, my point with all of this is that I am not sure I understand prosperity. I have framed it in my own mind, but I think my frame of prosperity is so far off from what society presents that I am not even sure it should be identified with the same term. To me, prosperity is identified not by any form of monetary wealth. It is not defined by the size of a home, the make of a car, the brand of a pair of jeans (or fancy gown), the side of the railroad tracks (or world) one lives on, or any number of other things that others may argue. As far as I can tell, Jesus presents a different perspective entirely. He says to store up treasures in heaven. I am a firm believer that when I get to heaven, it will not matter what brand of clothing I wore on earth or what kind of car I drove. What will matter is the way I lived and how much it brought glory to God. Now, I have heard it argued that God wants us to have nice things because He does not want His children to look like paupers. I can understand this, and I believe that God wants us to have His best. I think the problem comes when our simple minds try to comprehend and explain God's ways and thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'" I am not claiming to have it figured out. It is entirely possible and plausible that I am completely and utterly wrong in thinking that God's desire for me is to be wealthy and have a closet bursting at the seams with a brand new designer car. I don't believe this is His desire for me. It may be His desire for others, but that is between them and God.
So, you ask, what is my point in all of this? My point is that I am completely content to live on a careful budget, foregoing amenities that others may consider necessities if this means that I can live a life completely dependent upon the Lord and furthering His Kingdom. I want to leave an inheritance to those that come after me, but not an inheritance of stuff or wealth. I want to leave an inheritance of love and relationships and wisdom and passion and faithfulness. These are the things that measure prosperity to me, and I hope that they will mean more to those who come after me than an antique lamp or a large home ever could...

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