As our first step to prosperity let’s define the terms:
PROSPER'ITY, noun [Latin prosperitas.] Advance or gain in any thing good or desirable; successful progress in any business or enterprise; success; attainment of the object desired; as the prosperity of arts; agricultural or commercial prosperity; national prosperity. Our disposition to abuse the blessings of providence renders prosperity dangerous. "The prosperity of fools shall destroy them" (Proverbs 1:32).
Webster’s Dictionary 1828
Prosperity is not simply having enough money or living in luxury. Contrary to popular thought, we don’t achieve prosperity by thinking affirming thoughts. The most important step toward prosperity is finding the true Creator God whom society increasingly denies: “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant” (Psalm 35:27). As we seek to find and obey God, a number of Biblical principles arise. It is these very principles that the world ignores as it continually degrades.
The following world-changing, timeless, cross-cultural principles guide our quest for prosperity:
Imagine a world where ISIS or Hamas terrorists set their AK-47s down and began to feed children and bind wounds on the street. Imagine politicians who complimented their opponents on issues where they agree and asked how they could assist their opponent in that area. The world would change overnight.
- “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).
- “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
In this terribly divisive point in our culture, we must turn the tide of hostility before we tear our society apart. The horribly divisive and inflammatory examples coming from our politicians publicly deriding one another, Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) complaint and lawsuit-happy neighbors, and certain government agency personnel who are all too happy to issue citations and fines for ridiculously complex and unnecessary regulations, are tearing society apart before our very eyes. Food and sustainable living are rally points we all have in common.
- “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
- “Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Taking care of our environment and other people...making a difference, requires selflessness.
- “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Philippians 2:4).
- “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Galatians 5:14).
One of the greatest expressions of love, stewardship, peace, and goodness we can experience is a caring heart.
- “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
- “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).
An amazing experience is to note how you feel when a stingy neighbor refuses to loan you a tool, followed by a generous neighbor who says he’s happy to help, as he hands you the tool with a smile on his face. Generosity makes a better world.
- “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9).
- “He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour” (Psalm 112:9).
In the 1973 movie Papillon, Steve McQueen’s character, Charrière, has a nightmare where he’s condemned by the judge. The judge declares the verdict: “Yours is the most terrible crime a human being can commit. I accuse you...of a wasted life. Guilty. The penalty for that is death.” to which Charrière mutters, “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.” It’s a haunting scene...but it clearly calls to many in our society. And just maybe, it calls to us all. It’s certainly time for some soul searching. At the very least, we have a lot of work to do in the near future if we want to replace the artificial world we’ve created with something more meaningful and healthy.
- “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15).
- “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).
- “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
- “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).
Prosperity requires diligent study to acquire the knowledge and wisdom to positively affect change.
- “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).
- “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Discernment involves wisely dividing truth from fiction during study and social interaction. It also involves knowing how to appropriately employ various practices or actions both on the land and within the social context. Discernment is intricately linked with discretion.
- “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
- “The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness” (Proverbs 15:14).
- “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).
- “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Experience is the application of study. After research, training, talking with experts, you employ book knowledge on the ground, in your particular environment. You determine what works and how to improve your methods. Experience is also the ground where you resurrect forgotten techniques, pioneer new methods, and build confidence to move forward. From experience comes knowledge and wisdom.
- “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding” (Job 12:12).
- “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).
10. Creativity & Innovation
Think your life, career, or project through...seek inspiration in journals, blogs, or other people with similar interests to stimulate ideas...tap your God-given creativity and innovation and share in other people’s gifts. Intellectual capital is squandered as readily as financial resources in the modern world. We must also understand that God gives intellectual ability and guidance.
- “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us" (Romans 12:6a).
- “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
- “And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship” (Exodus 35:31).
Knowing when to speak, and when to be silent can be the difference between making an enemy or friend. Knowing how, when, and where to plant a tree or till the soil can make the difference between productivity and a sterilized, eroded soil that kills trees.
- “Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee” (Proverbs 2:11).
- “That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge” (Proverbs 5:2).
The distractions of our modern saturation in social media and entertainment has made diligence a foreign concept. Diligence is critical to achieving sustainability and prosperity.
DILIGENCE, noun [Latin , to love earnestly; to choose.]
DILIGENCE is the philosophers stone that turns every thing to gold.
- Steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth; due attention; industry; assiduity.
- “Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:5).
- “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto me” (Colossians 3:23).
Patience is another virtue stripped by modern commercialism, where “You can have all this, and more, right now, for only $19.95 per month!” Why spend a year carving a longbow when you can swipe a plastic card and walk out of the store with a nice compound bow? Creating a sustainable landscape, food infrastructure, and wisdom take time and patience.
- “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:25).
- “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:8).
14. Disaster Preparedness
Covid 19 virus. 2017-2019 California wildfires. 2011 Tōhoku Tsunami. 2005 Hurricane Katrina. Do we need to say more? It’s no longer if OR when. It’s, “We weren’t ready and people died.” We can do better. One of the most successful disaster abatement stories in history was Joseph’s seven-year preparation for the horrendous famine in Egypt. We must also learn that reliance on and obedience to God is essential. More importantly, many will face the worst disaster in human existence if they meet God before they are ready...whether they believe it or not.
- “And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine” (Genesis 41:36).
- “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3).
- “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Hebrews 11:7).
- “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:44).
- “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
15. Legacy Building
Building a spiritual legacy built on God’s revealed truth is essential for a healthy environment and society. It is also critical if we want future generations to know the true Creator God and have eternal life with Him. This legacy involves knowing and obeying God’s law, and developing Biblical character to create prosperity for future generations. The powers of this world work tirelessly to rob us of this legacy, as seen by today’s selfish, rude, disrespectful behavior. Today’s world desperately needs to know the true God of mercy and grace.
- “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children” (Proverbs 13:22a)
- “Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed” (Psalm 112:12).
- “Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart” (Psalm 119:11).
- “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy” (Micah 7:18).
- “That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:6-7).
16. Eternal Focus
Life is short. As we get older and watch our friends, neighbors, and family pass into eternity it gets even shorter. We must make every minute count. We simply cannot afford to opiate our minds with the world’s mantras for rationalizing God out of our lives. And why would you want to? If what you’re doing doesn’t have eternal impact, it will burn up. It will be a waste of time. Papillon’s nightmare. God’s Word calls us today...
- “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:23-25).
- “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42).
- “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
- “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
- “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Like all nations before us, we are rejecting God’s laws and making our own way in the world. Like all nations before us, God will reject us and the land will spit us out if we don’t repent.
- “Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:...That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you” (Leviticus 18:26 & 28).
- “If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity” (Job 36:11).
- “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
Sorry, it’s just not the American way. But we can’t do it on our own. Science is cool, but when Aunt Bonnie has cancer and the doctor’s reach the end of their rope, God is the only hope. When the marriage is failing, only God can bring forgiveness. It’s time America wakes up to the power, love, and redemption God offers us...if only we’ll take His hand. Faith.
- “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
- “For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Humility is one of the greatest keys to serving others, creating peace, attaining God’s blessing, and healing the land. If people would humble themselves, the divorce rate would plummet.
- “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
- “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6b).
- “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Place yourself in the following situations. Someone gives you one million dollars. Someone donates the rare AB negative blood type to save your life in the hospital. Someone revives you with CPR at the scene of an accident. You’d be thankful. Why is it we thank God for blessings, provision, the air we breathe, and life itself? Some decide to pretend He doesn’t exist, despite all He’s given us. How often do we thank those around us for what they do in our lives? It’s something all of us can do more of. Especially as we realize how precious and short life is. God exists, and He’s working continuously. If you haven’t seen His hand, ask yourself why.
- “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day” (Genesis 1:11‐13).
- “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).
- “I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works” (Psalm 9:1).