This post is part of a series. You can read them all by clicking here
So far, we have considered these keys to biblical prosperity:
- Cultivate a Trust and Obey Perspective on the Bible
- Steward with Generosity
- Eliminate Greed
- Watch your Entourage
- Invest in People
- Keep Your Eyes Open for Spiritual Prosperity
We have finally come to the seventh key to biblical prosperity, and it is the hardest one for us to grab in our world today because our world is far more about getting rich quick than it is about slow patience, and the seventh key requires the greatest patience ever.
7. Keep an Eternal Perspective
Let’s just go straight to the Bible on this:
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. — Hebrews 11:13-16
Every verse in this chapter leading up to these tells us about the incredible faith of someone. They were people who completely loved God and trusted him. They were people who had received promises from God, and some of those promises included the promises of prosperity. However, regardless of the promises, regardless of the faith, regardless of what was actually received in this lifetime, the verse tells us clearly that the people didn’t receive what was promised!
This is the final key to biblical prosperity! God’s biggest promises are never fully realized in this lifetime. Even the greatest heroes of the faith didn’t receive the full reality of God’s promises to them!
The rest of the chapter gives us more heroes of the faith who accomplished great things and some heroes of the faith who suffered great tragedies and personal persecution. In light of those heroes of the faith, our own desire for worldly prosperity falls flat. Consider what it says about them:
Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. — Hebrews 11:36-38
This hardly sounds like worldly prosperity! In light of what God’s people have endured through the centuries, our own discussion of the biblical promise of prosperity takes on a completely different meaning. Obviously, the promise is sometimes about earthly possessions, but it’s always about something more. God’s promises of prosperity remain true even if the earthly possessions are never given. The prosperity itself is deep and eternal.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. — Hebrews 11:39-40
These closing words of Hebrews 11 bring our discussion of biblical prosperity to a conclusion by reminding us of what real prosperity is all about.
Real prosperity is knowing Jesus and being part of the family of his followers.
See, God made all these promises of blessing and prosperity to the people of old, but God had planned “something better for us.” The writer of Hebrews is clearly making a reference to Jesus and his followers. The “us” there is literally “we who live today” and the “something better” is in context “the knowledge of Jesus and his work.”
More than that, we are told the people of old will not be perfected in their own prosperity unless they are united with us. This reminds us that prosperity in God’s eyes is about the whole family prospering together instead of one individual or one portion of the family receiving greater blessing.
Jesus is the greatest blessing.
The blessings are only fully received in the unified fellowship of God’s family.
The blessings will not be fully received until the whole family is united again in the end of days.
A Final Word
Yes, I firmly believe that God has promised prosperity to his people, but I firmly believe that our expectation of prosperity is darkened by both a misunderstanding of the prosperity promised and motivations that are often selfish in nature.
We should always take more pleasure in the giver than in the gift because nothing in all creation is as great a blessing as the Creator himself.