God is more concerned in the prosperity of His Church than the prosperity of individual members of the Church. His design is that no member of the church lack. Yes, God is more interested in the well-being of His Church (Jesus’ brethren), the household of faith. But to achieve His financial goal for His Church, He bestows much; sometimes so much on some individual Christians i.e. members of the household, that He expects to flow down and permeates His household, being a family. This is the prosperity we see in the Holy Writ. Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 tells it this way and it is very elucidatory, and we crave your indulgence to read every bit of it:
“For the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, ‘because I am not the hand, I am not of the body’; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, ‘because I am not the eye, I am not of the body’; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where was the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where was the smelling? But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of you: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God has tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the Body of Christ, and members in particular”.
This is the essence of prosperity. Do we know that the missionaries in sundry mission fields across the globe are uncomely members in this Body? How many of us are bestowing abundant honor on them? How many of us know that the missionaries and other Christians in need are uncomely parts that should HAVE MORE ABUNDANT COMELINESS? How many of us know that God tempered the body together, HAVING GIVEN ABUNDANT HONOUR TO THAT PART WHICH LACKED. Both the Christian (v.23) and God Himself (v.24) give “more abundant honor to the uncomely parts or the part that lacked”.
Indeed, God does His through the Christian, the one He has so positioned, enriched essentially for this purpose. Do we imagine the huge lack that is our missionaries and mission fields! Shall we not honor them when God desires this Himself, and to achieve that has put His provisions in the hands of some vessels that are actually His channels to reach out to His mission fields? We dare not deny these brethren their needs. God tempered us all together so that we honor them, give them more abundant comeliness. And to do that He prospers us i.e. He supplies us more than our needs, so that their needs could be met.
A Call to Mission Support
We must say it here that anything God gives to His Church is primarily for the expansion of His Kingdom. Nothing is more in the heart of God than the expansion of His Kingdom on earth. And the sooner we realized this and practically identify with it the better for our souls and our own eternal salvation; and indeed, much of the works in this series will be revealing how the way we receive and use what God brings our way is connected to our making Heaven or otherwise.
God may have planted us in the land of peace and abundance. He may have allocated us to the oil, banking, telecommunication, manufacturing or other sectors for the purpose of making His Church rich so that the many in the mission fields (and others, especially others in the household of faith, in very difficult situation) could operate without lack and so that other brethren here with us could readily present themselves for service in troublous lands outside their climes. Have you ever asked yourself why generality of our missionaries in the Arab world and other lands are not millionaires, and yet God’s heart throbs just as it is consumed with those mission fields? God’s Heart beats for all souls everywhere. His Heart throbs doubly for souls in strange satanic strongholds, where some of His children are hazarding their lives.
Why has God not made millionaires of these His Children, where the work is most demanding and the financial cost overwhelming? To put it differently or the other way round: why has God decided to prosper you instead of them? The answer is obvious! And as Paul truly said: “Who goes a warfare anytime at his own charges … he that plows should plow in hope; and he that threshes in hope should be partakers of his hope” – 1 Corinthians 9:7-10.
Be not wise in your own conceits
If you have met your immediate needs why holding on to what could meet the needs of tens or hundreds of other believers. Or, why do you think your needs are more than the needs of tens or hundreds of other believers put together? Or, why should one member of the household stockpile what could meet his needs for months and even years while another member of the same household cannot meet his daily needs, or worst still his daily food needs. We think we really need to check our appetite; and as the wise preacher would tell us: “put a knife to your throat if you be a man given to appetite … Labor not to be rich: cease from your own wisdom” (Proverb 23: 2-4, italics are mine).
Let us cease from all the human and earthly wisdom that justify why we must be rich unto ourselves and not unto others. We need to silent the voice of the flesh. We read it like this in Romans 12:16: “… mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits” (italics are mine). In three verses before this (verse 13) Paul had written: “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality”, this being the essence of prosperity; and prosperity being that excess or surplus or what we have above what could meet our immediate needs. Our hearts must yearn, with our excesses, after the brethren if Heaven we must see and if we must be with Christ and reign with Him on earth when He brings to our earth His glorious Kingdom as it is in Heaven.
Recently Brother Daniel Olukoya of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries with Headquarters in Nigeria said this: “We must all take one day at a time, not a year, so that anxiety does not eat up the greater part of our lives”. Isn’t that like talking like our Master Himself? What is that ‘greater part of our lives’ that anxiety or not living one day at a time eats up? Our health and days you would say. Correct, but more than that! OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE AND SPIRITUAL STATUS IN GOD is eaten up as well. And this is even the greater danger!
Does Exodus 16:15-20 hold any lesson for us then? It reads: “And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, ‘It is manna’: for they knew not what it was. And Moses said unto them, ‘This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD has commanded, gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for everyman, according to the number of your persons; take you everyman for them which are in his tents’. And the children of Israel did so, and gathered; some more, some less.
And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered everyman according to his eating. And Moses said, ‘Let no man leave of it till the morning’. Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them.”
That passage held huge lesson for the early New Testament church and should hold for us as well. May our possession not breed worms! May they not stink! May they not be corrupted and cankered riches while we still have them! Let needy Christian brethren among us be lavished of them; let missionaries who have hazarded their lives for God be ‘ravished’ by them; let Israel, Jewry (especially the exiles looking forward to go to their Israel home-land, those who have already returned and need integration and sustenance, survival of the holocaust and the orphans, made so by countries like Russia) taste of the riches of the Church in this their trying times. The eternal destination of the nations after the Judgment of the nations and the separation into sheep nations and goat nations as we see in Matthew 25: 31-46 depends, as also alluded to elsewhere in this series, on how they treat Israel when they (Israelites) are in any kind of need.
We believe in prosperity. But the above summary represents in a nutshell God’s intention about prosperity, and this also is the essence of prosperity. We cannot have or rather hold more than enough – no matter how God has prospered us individually – while the people of God, the work of God and the Kingdom of God suffer. No man makes Heaven who causes such harm to God and those His three purposes which are actually one purpose.
There is a purpose for prosperity. We shall be deepening this truth as we continue with this series but a verse of Scripture that will help heavenly seekers when it comes to receiving from God and employing His provisions for the purposes God intends them is seen in a verse of Scriptures will hope to be visiting from time to time in the course of this series, and that is Jeremiah 45: 5: “And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not …” – emphasis mine.
“Have you had a kindness shown?
Pass it on;
‘Twas not given for thee alone
Let it travel down the years,
Let it wipe another’s tears,
Till in Heaven the deed appears-
Pass it in.
You can’t light a candle
To show others the way,
Without feeling the warmth
Of that bright little ray;
And you can’t give a rose all
fragrance with dew,
Without some of its sweetness
Remaining with you” – Henry Burton