When the righteous don’t prosper
But they’re supposed to prosper. Aren’t they? We know the verse in the Bible that says:
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:3).
So when the righteous don’t prosper, where is the problem? Are you not righteous enough? Is God incapable of taking care of the righteous? Are the powers of evil too strong for the righteous and for God?
Or, have we misunderstood the Bible? A tree will bear fruit of its own kind. So as the verse in Psalm 1 speaks of the righteous, we’d expect a fruit of righteousness. But today it’s common to equate fruit with material prosperity.
Centuries later Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:29-31).
This statement was in the context of a man asking Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. The man claimed to be perfect in everything that Jesus mentioned. Then Jesus asked him to sell all he has and give it all away to the poor. If he would do that, he would have treasure in heaven. But the man went away sad because he had great wealth and couldn’t part with it.
After the man walked away, Jesus continued this discussion with his disciples. It is clear they were to have their focus and values on the kingdom of God. In Mark 10:30, Jesus promised them they’ll get the basics “(homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields – and with them persecution), and in the age to come, eternal life.”
That’s a great bargain.
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