Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week we considered two important assurances God gave us in relation to our wealth. It was that our wealth was hinged on our covenant with Him and His favour to us! We learnt that our God is the One who promised to make us not only rich but extremely rich as we see in Ezekiel 16:7 “I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments.” Our wealth is a confirmation of the covenant God made with our ancestors and He is a God who honours His covenants. (Psalm 89:34). We also learnt what the Bible teaches about handling wealth and the terms and conditions for the biblical rich. In today’s study we will be considering the topic: “The Heart of Prosperity”.
A. Biblical Definitions of True Prosperity.
The most common Hebrew word for "prosper" is tsalach (tsaw-lakh') it means "to advance, make progress, succeed, be profitable. To bring to successful issue; to experience prosperity."
Prosperity is a blessing from the Lord when people follow his ways.
• Psalm 1:3[KJV] “and he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
• Joshua 1:8 [KJV] “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
• Prov.10:22 [KJV] “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
• Prov. 8:21[KJV] “Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures
• 3 John 2-3 [KJV]. “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
The Greek word "prosper" in 3 John 1:3 is euodoo (yoo-od-o'-o) which means "to have a successful journey through life.” The Hebrew word shalom (shaw-lome') can be translated "prosperous" also (as we see in Zech. 8:12); which means "completeness, safety, health, soundness, and contentment."]
Another Hebrew word for "prosper" is sakal (saw-kal') [same word for "success"] which means "to be prudent, to consider, be circumspect.” See 1 Kings 2:3. In other words, to be cautious and good stewards of what God gives us. (1 Timothy 6:17-18)
B. True Prosperity as defined by Kenneth Copeland
1. True prosperity is the ability to use the power of God to meet the needs of mankind in every realm of life—spirit, soul, body, financially, socially.
2. True prosperity is when you make it your need to get salvation into the hands of people and when you make it your purpose to feed the gospel to the unsaved.
3. True prosperity is the ability to look a man in the eye in his moment of impossibility and take his needs on as your own.
4. True prosperity is walking with God to be able and equipped to do for others whatever He needs done, whenever He needs it done and with whatever He requires.
5. True prosperity is not for keeping your bills paid and your body well just so you can lie around and watch TV in comfort. God is not prospering us to get us out of debt so we can get into bigger debt. He is not prospering us so we can buy and buy and buy. He is prospering us so we can give and give and give.
Having defined prosperity, we will look at the “heart” of prosperity. “Heart” referred to here, implies the core - the part of something that is central to or the reason of its existence.
C. Giving Is at the Very Heart of Prosperity
Our Motivation (reason) for accumulation of wealth should be for distribution. It’s not for our selfish purposes. 1 Timothy 6:17-18 (LB) confirms this: “Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them.” Emphasis mine
Proverbs 11:24 says: “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
We are God’s stewards on earth with the responsibility to distribute His wealth.
a) Genesis 12:2 (AMP): “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favours] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].”
b) Zechariah 8:13 (NLT): “…I will rescue you and will make you both a symbol and a source of blessing.”
c) Galatians 6:10: “Let us practice generosity to all while the opportunity is ours, and above all, to those who are one family with us in the household of faith.”
d) 1 Corinthians 10:24: “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.”
e) Philippians 2:4: “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
f) 2 Corinthians 9:6 - 11 (NIV): Emphasis on verse 11: “[As a result of your giving] you will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” Emphasis added.
We are a source of God’s blessings to the world. The prosperity He sends our way is not for us only but for others as well. Zechariah 8:13 (NLT) says: “…I will rescue you and will make you both a symbol and a source of blessing.” We have been prospered to be a source of blessing to others. We are God’s stewards on earth with the responsibility to distribute His wealth so we should seek ways to empower others to be rich as well and not be selfish. The very heart of prosperity is giving! So let’s give happily to those in need, and be always ready to share with others whatever God has given us!