Stock markets rise, unemployment drops and again America rushes into the fall season with an air of expectancy as to the remunerations held in store for it.
In the midst of this, God’s people are also faced with bounty on every side of them. Prosperity, not only in terms of the silver and gold with which we do our exchanging, but also in that we have a gift of supreme worth in Christ Jesus, our Mediator.
In particular we, as a distinct Reformed body, have a gift of the truth as we see it by the grace of God.
This is only a very small beginning in the enumeration of all the blessings bestowed on us. Truly the manifold number presents us with the realization, that certainly there can be no “recession” in the Christian’s economics of living. Psalm 1:3 reassures us of this in the words, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
This blessed and constant prosperity demands unceasing thanksgiving from the Christian for the grace bestowed on him. This is not a case where God needs man’s praise and thanksgiving. But rather, it is a willful desire of the Christian to show his heartfelt thankfulness in all humility.
Thankfulness is not an occasion for man to come before God in all his pride, wallowing in his ego and repeat before the Most High God that he is thankful for all his prosperity, while deep down within himself he confesses that he considers himself a “pretty good guy” and that God couldn’t have picked a better person to bless, for after all “I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps.” God hears it and rejects Cain’s offering.
Thanksgiving must he given in all reverence and sincerity.
The wicked can never give thanks because they never prosper, never did and never will. They hoard unto themselves large vasts of money and work for all the luxuries and goods for this earthly existence, but they can never prosper. Prosperity indicates favor and God will never find favor with the wicked. Their hopes are all in terms of time, whereas, the Christian finds his hopes in terms of eternity.
The Christian must always be aware of the fact that all this prosperity is only by grace from above and God is always near. It is so very easy to search out God when adversity besets us on every hand. Then, as soon as we regain our former status, we forget about God and lose ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the Twentieth Century.
God is a jealous God and demands thankfulness and tribute from His subjects – tribute both in prayerful thanksgiving and in the outward exercising of the giving of a portion of our material possessions each Sabbath. This means giving all that the Christian is able, not merely tithing when it is possible to give more. This means giving until it hurts – sacrificing. God demands tribute from every talent you have within you at all times. Hebrews 13:15 tells us, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.”
Philippians 4:6 exhorts us: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The Christian’s life task is found in giving thanks and praise unto his Creator. All thankfulness can only be given by the grace of God. For we are so inclined by nature to walk into God’s house and give thanks with the Pharisee, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are: extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” Luke 18:11, 12.
The Christian’s thankfulness for prosperity also lies in eternity. It is thankfulness for a saving grace which assures us of eternal life. It reveals to us a far greater prosperity beyond this realm. Sorrow and sickness shall be strangers after we enter the pearly gates into the streets of gold.
Oh, what a prosperity to be thankful for! Is it no wonder we shall constantly he praising our Most High God in heaven?
Woe be unto the Christian if he can come to God only in adversity and becomes too involved in the materialism of prosperity to acknowledge God’s gifts to him in humility.