Poverty vs Prosperity
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]S[/mk_dropcaps]omewhere along the road people have morphed the definition of prosperity into greed and poverty into modesty. To be clear here are the proper definitions of all these terms according to Merriam- Webster: Prosperity- a state of being successful in material terms, flourishing financially
Greed- intense or selfish desire for something, especially power or food.
Poverty- the state of being extremely lacking in sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in society
Modesty- the quality or state of being unassuming, moderate, limited or small in amount, rate or level.
Prosperity has become vilified where poverty has been praised. The issue being that with the politically correct, mediocrity mindset of this generation, people think it is best to live a life that does not rock the boat, to pursue big things would be to rock the boat. That stays small and contained. The perception is that to dream big, to stretch beyond what is seen as normal, and to have an expectation of excellence is asking too much and is outright selfish. But who says so?
I do not know who started this, but I do know who it is not from, God. We are created to live a BIG life, because we serve a big God. After all we are made in him image and He is limitless. We have His creative power within us. We are built to do great things, to be visionaries, to be creative, and then to get to work and make it reality. Whomever set the standard that small is good was afraid of the abundant life God promises in John 10:10.
Fear restricts and confines. Faith expands and increases what we can see not only for today but what is to come in the future. I am passionate about unlocking this truth in myself and others. For too long (almost 5 years) I lived stuck in a poverty mindset. I was isolated, fearful, lonely and hopeless. God met me in that place and I am grateful for it now as I see what it was training up in my character. In a season of isolation God sought me out and I will forever be grateful. I can take no credit for where I am today because he was the one directing me along the way. God meets us in the midst of our poverty, not to keep us there but to draw us out. As believers in Christ we are not to pity the poor, but love them enough to help and encourage them to grow beyond it.
The need to squash the prosperity and bold expansive ideas/missions of others comes from the enemy. For it is in those places of victory and success that we see God's glory. A life that is built on the word of God, that expands, and is successful shines a bright light for others to follow. Not because their success is to puff themselves up but rather to bring others to Jesus. That kind of prosperity should be encouraged, fostered, and nurtured.
One other lesson I learned when I had a poverty mindset is every time we face restriction or opposition it is an opportunity of growth and increase in trust of the Lord. If it was not for this season I would not have the grace in my heart for others who walk through a similar valley. My pain has become part of the purpose in which I do things, it has given life an ease that was unattainable when I was imprisoned in the selfish restrictions of the poverty mindset.
At the heart of the issue between prosperity or poverty is really the issue of selfishness. The truth is having abundance can be seductive. But only having resources to care for you can be simpler and equally seductive as you can rationalize abdicating responsibility. In either place we can begin to worship the provision over the provider of provision. At that moment it is the love of the stuff that turns a heart inward and selfishness takes root. Remember 1 Timothy 6:10-
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.[/mk_blockquote]
In this battle to redeem what prosperity means, and clarify the nature of poverty let me finish with this. It all comes back to where is your heart? You can be poor and have the most generous heart with what you have, or you can be poor and the biggest headache for those around you due to your selfishness. You can be wealthy and give generously and teach others from what success you have had, or you can be wealthy and be wasteful with the abundance you have been giving it spending it frivolously. The issue all comes back to, who is master of your heart? If it is the Lord then he is calling you to live a prosperous and abundant life. That will however look and be different from person to person. Quit trying to compare your success to others. After all you can not compete with an original.