The Paradox of Prosperity

Financial peace of mind can be a paradoxical topic.  One would think that with increased wealth would come increased financial peace.  In my experience, I’ve found just the opposite to be true.  I’ll never forget a trip to the bush land of Africa during which I met with a pastor in his family’s mud hut.  He was bemoaning the fact that the materialism invading his culture was causing deep discontent and a general lack of peace.  I was shocked as I looked around and saw almost a complete lack of materialistic evidence, but realized that his assessment of the forces in African culture were so much more powerful in our American culture.  Financial peace of mind is often sacrificed on the altar of prosperity and materialism.

Jesus Himself said to His disciples, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24 WEY)

As a culture, we are lost when it comes to finding true financial peace.  The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22 – 23, NIV). Often I am frustrated as I try to manufacture this list of fruit in my own efforts, rather than abiding in Christ so that fruit becomes a byproduct of my relationship with Him.  As we pursue financial peace, it is wise to remember that the fruit of the Spirit comes from abiding in the Holy Spirit. We cannot exhibit any fruit consistently in our own strength.

“We cannot exhibit any fruit consistently in our own strength.” 

So, how do we rely on the Holy Spirit to grant us peace, and specifically to grant us financial peace of mind?

In the video below, I tell you that I believe that financial peace of mind is often times easier for those who have less money than for those who have more.  Time and again, I’ve seen people with relatively few resources exhibiting greater peace than those with abundant financial resources.

Why? When we possess a relatively small amount, three things are true:

  1. First, we must rely on God to provide, knowing that we really are incapable of providing for financial needs.

  2. Second, we are more willing to manage our money according to God’s simple principles because we face fewer “complex” choices with our money.

  3. Third, surrender of that smaller amount to the Lord is easier since we are aware of the finite-ness of our own resources.

All three of the above outcomes in a person’s life boil down to one thing: trust.  Do we trust God?  Do we trust His future provision for us?  Do we trust His simple advice about our finances?  Do we trust His ownership of our resources?  Really, the question becomes:  “Do I trust God’s heart toward me?

“we are called over and over to trust His character and His heart toward us.”

As you and I abide in a relationship with the Lord, we are called over and over to trust His character and His heart toward us.  The fruit of the Holy Spirit that is peace – financial or otherwise – comes from a trust relationship in which I have come to a place of believing that God’s loving and righteous character is true in my life.  The peace of this trust relationship is authentic, no matter our resources…few or many.