It is true we can be good, faithful, dedicated, Spirit-filled Christians even while living under the controlling power of men. Paul experienced peace and joy even in prison, but none of us want to spend our lives there. We can be subject to the rule of a Pharoah-type political system (socialism, communism, fascism, or totalitarianism), but we will not live well. Our ability to freely share and bless others by meeting their legitimate needs diminishes greatly. Support of Christian charitable work, churches, mission outreaches, and meaningful relief including natural disasters will be hindered drastically. This is why throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament God wanted the family of faith to be free, fruitful, and productive first in their personal lives and then as overseers of all God created and made available for our own benefit and to also bless others while giving Him glory.
In Luke’s gospel the first time Jesus spoke in the synagogue, He announced that “He came to deliver good news to the poor” which includes the fact they don’t have to stay poor and feel hopeless. They can also enter into the land of promise and prosperity. Jesus cautioned, however, that, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Possessions can bless us or drag us into awful bondage and personal defeat – a living death, sometimes like hell on earth even while drowning in rotten riches.
Learning to live with the bountiful blessings and prosperity freedom offers will always be a challenge. History reveals that many people, if not most, do not handle it well. This is why God must always be first. Because people so often tragically fail to respond properly to success, do not make the mistake of opposing, resisting, and even beginning to resent the freedom, opportunity, and blessings God offers. Israel found prosperity, experienced it, then tragically stopped worshipping God and began to worship the blessings freedom and life in the Promised Land made possible. Don’t blame the Promised Land for the idolatrous failure of those who turn from God andreturn to Egypt to live again in bondage. Jesus warned us about the danger of falling in love with material things. “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” It is interesting to notice that the problem is greed, not blessings, prosperity, or possessions.
If people do not make wise choices, some government or power will readily impose someone else’s will on each of us denying our freedom while ignoring the importance of personal responsibility. When the population refuses to live under the control of God, His Spirit and truth, control will be imposed by those who most often lack both principle and wisdom. We experience judgment for turning from God when excessive government control takes over and our freedom wanes. Abundance and prosperity decreases along with the ability to freely share with others meeting their pressing needs.
Jesus shared a parable about the rich farmer who obviously had a fertile farm, great production, an abundant harvest, and was blessed with true prosperity. His success necessitated building bigger barns to contain the vast production and to contain the abundant harvest. It is evident that good workers were involved who were fortunate to have a job. The story clearly reveals God was not first – greed was. It is likely the second mistake after not keeping God first was to mistreat His workers and His laborers who were worthy of their hire. James 5:2-5: “Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment. For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire.” So it is with those who are trapped within their own self-centered, empty soul.
This farmer who obviously received the benefits of the fertile land and the freedom to produce is typical of our own great, blessed, free, and prosperous nation, the USA. The farmer made the same mistake many are making today – forgetting God – and, as a result, forgetting others. Jesus said he was going to lose everything and his soul would be required of him. Jesus called him a fool! The parable reveals the farmer did not make provision for his own family because he didn’t properly care for anything. Jesus asked the greed-driven farmer, “Now who is going to get what you prepared for yourself?” It is clear the farmer had not given good oversight of all God had entrusted to him. He was not a good steward. He did not even care for his own family. He did not care about others. He did not leave the corners of his field for the poor. He lost his soul first in himself then in the things of this present world and the earthly riches that can easily rob us of eternal riches. God said he was a fool and his soul was required of him that night. It was too late. All was lost. “So it is for all who lay up treasure and are not rich toward God.”
Don’t miss the truth in this story. The fertile field of opportunity was not the problem. The fruitfulness and abundant harvest and even the wealth it produced were not the problem. The need to expand in order to protect the produce from the harvest and build bigger barns was not the problem. Bigger barns and great gain was not the problem. It was the smallness of his character and his soul caused by the lack of love for God and others that brought him down.
Now to you the reader, concerned Christian friend, and fellow American, do not blame the God who blesses us and others. Do not blame the fertile fields of opportunity along with the productivity and fruitful potential that it makes possible for us to be blessed, to bless our families, and assist others. Think of all the opportunities these blessings provide for Jesus’ sake, for your sake, your children’s sake, and the sake of everyone in need. If we make the foolish mistake of opposing and limiting that which actually helps make possible many blessings of the Lord, we will miss what God desires to provide for our benefit and the benefit of others. Don’t make the mistake of contributing to the destruction of the freedom and the fruitful fields of opportunity given to us by God and our nation’s founders by replacing God with excessive government. You will not like the result – ask the Israelites in the Old Testament, those who suffered under Soviet rule, Cubans who still flee to American shores, and all who find a substitute for not keeping God first. Like Chuck Colson says, “The more cops you have on the inside, the fewer you need on the outside.” No rule of man can ever replace the rule of God over man.
Let us rise up together in faith and reclaim the land for the glory of God by first giving God the cultivated field of our own lives.1 Corinthians 3:9 says, “…we are God’s cultivated field…” Let’s be fruitful and multiply, obeying the commandments of the Lord. Pray that God will “send more laborers into the fields for they are white unto harvest.” This is the day to become more fruitful than ever for the glory of our Father. Let us not give satan one inch of our lives or our land. The farmer was a fool and we will prove to be foolish if we fault the fields and the God who gave the increase, the potential for fruitfulness, freedom and, yes, the free market opportunities we are blessed to have in America. Remember, no government power can better do for us than what God desires to do for and with those who put Him first! We will prove to be fools if we worship what we have rather than the “God who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above and beyond anything we imagined!”