Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. Isa 9:7 NIV
The “Chicken Little” mentality – I have lived all of my life under the threat of catastrophe…. over-population, nuclear winter, peak oil, acid rain, global cooling, ozone layer depletion, pollution, and now global warming and economic collapse. I have also been in church most of my life where we have worried about the identity of the Antichrist, wars, rumors of wars, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, tribulation, and persecution.
Now, I’m not sure whether this outlook on life is part of our carnal propensity for fear, or enemy deception, or both. I would merely point out that the number of new believers, span of life, income, health and happiness has been growing steadily for thousands of years. The dooms day predictions have been wrong for centuries even though they have always been present. Guess What? They will continue to be wrong in the future!
I’ve been listening to an audio book, The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley. (summary video is here) Although Matt is agnostic, his message is part of the gospel.
An ever-increasing Kingdom – While listening to Matt, the Lord spoke something into my heart about the nature of the Kingdom. The increase of Jesus’ Kingdom is without end. That doesn’t mean the Kingdom is just getting bigger and bigger. It’s growing at an ever faster rate throughout eternity; starting 2000 years ago. We have the privilege of living in the most blessed time in history right now. The Kingdom we are building is like a mustard seed that grows into the largest tree.
He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR come and NEST IN ITS BRANCHES.” Matt 13:31-32 NASU
The future is bright – So how should believers view the future? We are here to establish the Kingdom and presence of Jesus as the King of Kings. Although the world will have an occasional setback, the future is destined to be much better than the present. And our attitude is that our personal future will also be much better than the present.
If I’m expecting problems, I will find them. If my heart and my faith are focused on pessimism or the will of devil, I will miss my personal opportunity to be an overcomer. I will be consumed with managing risks, staying safe and preserving my lifestyle and possessions.
However, I believe my future and that of the Kingdom and the world we are called to bless is very bright. I am disciplining my mind to see solutions, not just problems, to see provisions, not just needs, to see opportunities even when doors seem to be closed. I’m called to multiply and be fruitful.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:20-21 NIV and Isa 6:3
And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. Ps 72:19
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule… Gen 1:28 NASU
Prosperity assessments – In the engineering community we have assessments for risk, accidents, failures, and safety. We imagine everything possible that might go wrong, and try to plan for it. It’s a great formula for cultivating “the sky is falling” mentality. As believers, we should understand and manage risk as good stewards (see Faith and Managing Risk). However, we should do another kind of assessment. We should review our lives, assuming that God will bless us beyond our expectations (immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine), and we should assess the possibility of prosperity, success, increase, multiplication, opportunity, promotion, and triumph.
Have I invented something new? No, creative people who dream up new ideas, create new products or generate wealth have always thought this way… it’s just that I haven’t! Cups run over because we expect them to, and we do the things that cause increase. That process happens for optimists; pessimists need not apply. If you have succumbed to the negative expectations of the press or the prophetic, my suggestion is that you tweak your Kingdom theology and start expecting increase and blessing. It’s going to happen for Kings whether or not you expect it or participate in it, so you may as well join the party. It’s quite fun and beats the poverty mindset and lifestyle every day.
Get to work – Your and my job is to imagine the greatness of what God wants to do, and volunteer to make it happen. Our job is to shape the future in His image and according to His will, starting with our own lives. For you and me personally, it means having a plan to implement our personal dream. Since wealth is a common denominator required to implement dreams, we also need to navigate prosperity in the Kingdom. Stop waiting for God to do something miraculous and stop pretending you’re too spiritual to go out and create some wealth. The goal is rich in every way, so we can be generous on every occasion. It never happens for pessimists, procrastinators or pseudo-spiritualists. God prizes initiative in His kids and He’s fine with a few mistakes. That’s why he invented repentance and forgiveness!
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase (multiply) your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Cor 9:10-11 NIV