By Joe Slater
We are prosperous people living in a prosperous nation. By global standards, the poorest among us is wealthy. We might credit any number of things for this happy condition: good education, hard work, and favorable government economic policies, to name a few.
I fear, however, that most citizens have totally lost sight of the real source of our prosperity. “Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shifting shadow” (James 1:17). That doesn’t refer only to material wealth, but certainly includes it.
God warned His people Israel not to forget Him when they enjoyed the prosperity He would give them in the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 6:10-12 & 8:11-18). But forget Him they did! As early as Judges 3:7 they were straying, and it continued until the captivity.
Hosea the prophet, who lived in the late 700’s B.C., warned his brethren in the Northern Kingdom (Israel) of their impending doom. What had Israel done to offend the Lord? “For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink’” (Hosea 2:5). Yes, the people thought their prosperity came from alliances and trade deals with their pagan neighbors! God continued: “For she did not know that I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold – which they prepared for Baal” (v. 8). Think of it! The very blessings the Lord graciously gave them, they used to worship their idols!
Not only during holiday season, but every day of the year, let us remember the source of our prosperity and humbly, thankfully honor the Lord with it!
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com