Prosperity At Any Price?

Should we seek prosperity at any price? Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), our American 26th US president did not think so. He said, “The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”

Seems right on to me. And to think he said all of this nearly 100 years ago! Have some of us lost our sense of direction here? Our world today seems radically different than 100 year ago. If fact, the prosperity Mr. Roosevelt talked about then looks significantly different than the prosperity we think of today. Remember in his world there were no mass produced automobiles, no television, no airplane travel, no modern conveniences, and on and on.

The Scripture that always makes me sit up and take notice is Psalm 39:4 “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” What it does for me is to really put everything into perspective. You know, reminding me how short life really is and telling me that I should really have an eternal perspective in everything that I do, every decision that I make.

This perspective helps me to remember the fact that money and possessions are only temporary. At best, money only lasts a lifetime. At worst, it doesn’t last at all. It is very fleeting, only a vapor, just like our lives. So why should I spend all of my life trying to accumulate something that will never last? How much better it would be for me to spend my time investing in things that are eternal in nature.

Being the recipient of God’s provision and blessing and enjoying great wealth and prosperity is not meant for the purpose of accumulating earthly temporary gain. As I see it, any accumulation is to be used to build a foundation for heavenly gain. Instead of hoarding it all for personal enjoyment, it is to be used to further the kingdom of God. Any prosperity I have managed to gain on this earth is because I have learned good stewardship principles. The biblical prosperity here in this life is but a foreshadow of things to come on the other side.

At the end of my life, will I look back and wish I had owned a bigger home or a nicer car, or will I wish that I had spent more time with my family and friends? The truth is that the only thing you or I can (and will) take out of this life is our soul. How much time should I spent daily pursuing eternal possessions instead of temporal ones?

On judgment day, will God be able to say to me, “Well done my good and faithful servant”? Will He be pleased with the way I spent my days here on earth or will He be saddened by the amount of time I have wasted on accumulating material possessions instead of eternal ones?

Possessions are temporary for sure. I just hope that I won’t make the mistake of holding on to them too tightly. Job understood this when he said “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Hey, what do you think of all of this?

Content © Rich Brott, 2011

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Reader Comments

A very good one. I asked my staff in Ghana about the 1960s famous millonnaire, Onasis. Most them have never heard his name. Some thought he was a famous soccer player!

Biblical prosperity simply means God meeting our needs enough for us to give to those who may not have. In other words, it is God’s way of wealth re-distribution.

The poor, Jesus reminds us, will always be with us.

Thanks Divine. I agree with your thoughts. Blessings upon you and your business in the country of Ghana, West Africa!