Please note that what I’m sharing with you in this article should not be viewed in a doctrinal manner at all. But it should be done so just as another opinion, which is based on my personal understanding and the practice of the scriptures, and the results that I saw when combining the two.
The subject of prosperity and poverty is often a very confusing one. More especially confusing because every time the issue is addressed one finds himself with a fresh or new view about it and all these come as a result of different speakers or writers bringing ‘new’ revelations that leave many more confused and often poorer than they were before. In my case I only became aware that our family was defined as poor or ‘under privileged’ when I came into contact with kids who came from families that were better off than ours.
All this while I thought we were just fine, especially because all that we needed as kids in our family was always there even though it was not in abundance yet somehow we had all the necessities and we were very content. I started looking around and saw how different every family in the neighbourhood was, each making a living on a different level and how fairly satisfied each seemed to be. What I’m saying is that the only problem I had with the state of our family was when I did comparisons between us and others. This became even more confusing when I further noticed that as much as there were families that lived better than ours there were also other families that were looking up to our family and feeling that our lives were superior than theirs.
I began to question whether we were interpreting our lack or abundance within the framework of our environment, be it within the framework of a family or a community or were we merely doing so as a result of comparing ourselves with others, or it was just based on our level of contentment or the lack of it. Every time I look at documentaries about people who live in the remote, uncivilized parts of the world. I can’t help it but I have to always go back once more and re-look at the definition of poverty. According to the English dictionary poverty is defined as; ‘(1) the state of being poor, or (2) want of the necessities of life often followed by scarcity or lack.’ Now the definition always make me to be tempted to look differently at these people and maybe sometimes fail to see what everyone sees about them. The second definition describes poverty as ‘want of the necessities of life often followed by scarcity or lack.’ I look at these ‘poor people’ who seem to be having a ball of a time eating tree roots and insects and using leaves to cover their bodies, and obviously seemingly satisfied and I ask myself if its possible for a whole nation to become poor but never realize it. It is either these folks are in fact poor but obviously oblivious about it or they are not poor at all according to their interpretation of poverty. This led me to believing that the meaning of poverty or prosperity cannot be universalized but that it must always be viewed in context, and my reason for that is simply based on my observation of people, societies and their ways of living both in urban and rural areas.
The next thing I observed from my personal experience is that the level of one’s contentment or the lack thereof makes that individual to miss the blessings that are within the framework of their society. If we go on and look at prosperity the American or British way we end up being frustrated and not recognizing God’s perfect plan by putting us where we are and including the ‘why’s of His purpose in doing so. In Acts 17:26-27 the bible tells us that: ‘From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us’. Now for us to believe in the perfect plan of God we must first believe in a perfect God of the plan. Otherwise the whole understanding of creation, purpose and predestination ends up not making sense at all. For me as a firm believer in God and a great opposer of evolution I look at the above scripture and realize that from the beginning God had a clear intention of dealing with us relative to where we live with regards to some issues and I believe that prosperity is one of those issues. Consider carefully the following fact; according to the latest survey the richest man on earth is Mr Symeon Davros Carnegie Freemanstein. He is worth $77,000,000, 000, 000 [seventy seven billion US dollars] but is it possible for us to point out the single most prosperous individual on earth? The answer is no, there is no single most prosperous individual on earth but there are too many such individuals.
The rich can be counted by there is a multitude of prosperous men and women out there, and they are literally scattered across the face of the earth. Some live in the Amazon forest, others in the Australian outback, the Kalahari Desert, Soweto and even Zimbabwe.
Let’s say if we took Mr Freemanstein to the Amazon forest for a month can you imagine how he would cope? My bet is that for the first time in his life he may become the most ‘wanting’ individual though remaining rich outside of the Amazon context. My reasoning is based on the understanding of the definition of poverty which is ‘want of the necessities of life often followed by scarcity or lack.’ Even though Mr Freemanstein will be able to learn to live there and even survive he will never be fulfilled simply because by divine destination God has ‘wired’ him differently. There are things money cannot buy. On the contrary the definition of prosperity is ‘the ability to meet any need through God’s power’ I hope that I’m not giving the impression that Mr freemanstein cannot reach out to the grace of God should he live under those circumstances, but what I’m trying to say is that God has already equipped us differently, and this He did in relation with where He has placed us. To freemanstein God gave the ability and the wisdom to create riches and to ‘Kunta Kinte’ He gave the ability and the wisdom to get the ‘necessities of life’. Both these men operate under the same grace that comes from above. There is a common word that accommodates both individuals under the grace of God and the word ‘wealth’. Wealth simply means riches, prosperity, assets, means, and possessions among many other meanings. It is clear to me that both the inhabitants of the forests and those who own luxury ships and jests can become prosperous right where they live. The problem is when we ignorantly despise where God has put us and we look over the fence of divine provisions and wish we lived elsewhere. This causes us to miss the goodness that our creator has in store for us. I hope that I’m making sense so far. To be continued. MVK