Zoom! Zoom! The sound of a Porsche 911 whizzing by me as I chug along down the highway. Then a Land Rover Discovery cruises by followed by a Volvo XC90. Ummmm?? What would I have to do to end up driving a rig like that? What changes could I make in my life to eventually own a luxury vehicle or a mansion on a lake or a concert grand Steinway piano? How could I ever take a year off and travel the world and enjoy one of those exotic African Safari adventures? It all smacks of prosperity, success and a life of ease and pleasure. But is that what success looks like from a christian perspective?
From the vantage point of a believer, what constitutes prosperity?
There’s not much written about Gaius in John’s third epistle, but there is a great deal said about him. The Apostle John says to Gaius in 3John verse 2: “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in good health, even as thy soul prospereth.” See what I mean? Just 20 words in the KJV, but those 20 words say a great deal about Gaius.
I doubt if Gaius spent much time dreaming and drooling through the pages of Luxury Living and he probably didn’t subscribe to Gold Matters magazine. Prosperity for him was intimacy with Christ. The riches that mattered to him were those found in Christ Jesus. Soul prosperity – not tinsel, fleeting material prosperity. Not a robust investment portfolio – but a flourishing heart overflowing with appreciation and a love of the Truth. Material prosperity is a lie. It does not bring joy or security. Christ is the Truth – He alone can flood my heart with joy and He alone makes me secure.
The Apostle John prayed for Gaius that everything else in Gaius’ life would prosper as much as his soul was prospering. In other words, Gaius had his share of problems. Maybe it was poor and painful physical health. Maybe his bank account was in the red. Maybe he had heart-wrenching family problems. Despite whatever was happening in his life, his soul was prospering. Listen to him sing:
HE then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand. “
Circumstances couldn’t rob him of his joy in Christ. A despot-like tyrant as an elder ruling with an iron fist in the local church was no reason for Gaius to grow bitter. Through it all, Gaius made sure that his heart was sweet before the Lord. Proverbs 4:23: “Keep and guard thy heart with all diligence…” He busied himself with hospitality and occupied himself with the Truth. That’s true prosperity. Anything less than that is shallow, temporary and cheap.
What are you striving for: spiritual or worldly prosperity? One is eternal in nature and the other abruptly ends at the coffin. Which one is captivating, stimulating and motivating you today?