Thursday, June 6, 2024

The Source of our Prosperity: Retaining the Knowledge of Where our Blessings come From

It's so easy to begin to take for granted all we have. That is the cycle of nations in fact. Israel would often forget that God was the source of their prosperity. And as soon as they forgot the source of their prosperity, they began to believe it came from their own genius. And the path to destruction was paved, and they began to walk it. 

Do you understand how absolutely vital this is? Where is my prosperity from? Heaven or Earth? If I get this wrong or right, it will guide me either down the right path or the road of disaster. 

I am truly privileged to live in a nation that has such prosperity and wealth. I look at everything I have, the things I own, the fact that I have electricity, a motor vehicle, a warm house, a safe neighborhood, and it reminds me that billions around the globe don't have access to half of these amenities. At the same time many Americans don't, and I have to remember that as well. But it makes me feel extremely grateful to live in this nation where I enjoy religious freedom, freedom of speech, abundant food, shelter, and endless entertainment.

I'm extremely privileged. I grew up in a two parent household. I've never seen war out my bedroom window. I never was homeless. I never went without food. I have internet, movies, television, videogames, insurance, investments, on and on the list goes.

I think the worst assumption that arises out of the numerous privileges that I enjoy is the danger of assuming that all this abundance came from the genius of the people of the society. Or from my own abilities. I think most people assume that the United States is so prosperous because of the ability of the people. That is certainly not the case.

The only reason I enjoy so many blessings is because God has provided all of this abundance. Unfortunately the abundance has led to a nation that has forgotten God. Why? We didn't steward the blessing. We took it for granted.

I try to stop and pause, in my prayer times, and say, "God, I don't take any of this for granted. I know every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of the Heavenly Lights."

It reminds me of Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation (1863) in which he stated, "No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy." During that time the United States was brutally divided along ideological lines. It's similar today in our country we find a nation deeply divided over ideological lines. He reminded the people, that we need to refocus our attention on God. We need to remember every good gift comes from God.

That's the danger of privilege. We have many blessings. I have many blessings. So I must learn to steward this privilege I find myself in, with so much abundance, wealth, influence, and higher learning, by always remembering that anything I have is from God. I must "Give God all the glory."

I must always make sure I never let the privileged state I find myself in become an excuse to mistreat someone, or to think that I'm better than anyone else. Wealth can easily make us assume that we're better than someone who is poor or who lives in a hut or shack. But it's not true! We're both made in the image of God. We're entirely equal in value before God. We've got to steward the privilege by seeing it as a gift from God to have wealth and influence, while at the same time making sure we use our wealth and influence to bless those who have less than us.

Lastly, I think it's staying very humble as well. It says in James 1:9-10, "9 Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower." 

People like us, who are devastatingly wealthy compared to the rest of the world, ought to stay intensely humble. Take pride in their humiliation. Because we will pass away, and all the wealth and influence will pass away with us.