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The Purpose of Prosperity

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 9:9

As it is written: He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.

General Gordon had just finished executing the distinguished campaign of Taeping. When leaving China, the Emperor, out of gratitude for the services he had rendered the empire, presented to him a large gold medal, the only substantial wealth he has now, home and abroad. When Gordon reached Plymouth, and saw the first copies of the English papers, he read of the famine among the silk weavers in and around Coventry. The people were starving, some were dying, and public funds were being subscribed for the relief of the distress. Gordon had nothing but his gold medal, which was his most highly cherished possession; and yet he took the medal, erased the inscription and then sent it anonymously to the treasurer of the Coventry relief funds: and he adds: “After all, this is the secret of bliss – to give away your medal!” In this story of General Gordon, we find a token example of the purpose of wealth – to be given away.

God’s prescription of prosperity is quite ironical. It requires not the amassing of wealth, but the giving away of it for the service of humanity. To experience divine prosperity is to shun hedonism. God does not prosper us solely for our own pleasure; He prospers us so we can be a blessing to others. In fact, continued divine prosperity is tied to our continued readiness to meet the needs of others with that which God has blessed us with. Our opening scripture makes an interesting case for this. If we disperse our gifts liberally to the poor, God will ensure our righteous act of giving endures forever. In other words, we will always have to give.

Our desire for prosperity must therefore remain in line with its purpose. We are not trying to keep up with the Joneses; we are seeking to serve humanity, thereby laying up for ourselves, in the world to come, a good foundation. I like this analogy found in the Record of Christian Work: When a traveller arrives a foreign land, one of the first things he does is to get his money changed into the currency of that land. It is impossible to take earth’s coins to heaven with us, but we can change it here into good works, distributing liberally, thus, “laying up in store…a good foundation” in heaven.

So let us, starting from where we are, commit to a life of liberality; to serving humanity with that which God has entrusted us with; to finding credible individuals and organisations we can partner with to further great causes that will bless the lives of many. God will help us as we make this commitment today. Indeed, our righteousness will endure forever, in Jesus’ name.

Memorise & Meditate

“There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than what is right but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters, will also be watered himself.” Proverbs 11: 24:25


Father, help me to imbibe the lifestyle of giving. Empower me to be a blessing to others in Jesus’ name. Amen.