OUR OPINION: Prosperity is a test of faith

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Luke 12:32-34

Living surrounded by plenty provides paradoxes. The typical American wants many things he does not have and has many things he does not want. We have bigger homes housing smaller families, yet many of us “need” more room yet to use, display and store our belongings. When our garages no longer hold our vehicles, we rent space to clear the carport even more stuff until either we lose track, lose interest or lose the ability to pay the storage rent.

Husbands are astounded that their wives can “need” so many shoes or dishes or decorations. Wives are astounded that their husbands can “need” so many hats or tools or guns.

Books and magazines purporting to help us organize our stuff stare at us from every checkout counter. When those don’t prove helpful enough, we can sign up for seminars or hire personal organizers.

And it’s not just the pursuit of material things that keeps us off balance. We’re told again and again by society that we have to measure up in countless other ways – from losing weight and whitening our teeth to raising more successful kids and competing in the marketplace.

Throw in constant reminders about retirement planning, 80 kinds of insurance, teeth whitening, skin softening and being the best party hosts ever, and it’s enough to guarantee perpetual discontent and uneasiness.

Jesus told the rich young ruler that his rule-keeping was not sufficient to secure eternal life.

“Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me’”

Whether voluntary poverty is prescriptive for all believers is debatable. That believers should invest their time, talent and treasure in eternal purposes is certain.