Prosperity & Poverty
I started this new forum from that of Men Going to Church so as not to overrun it.
1) Being fruitful and multiplying, prospering, having good success has been God's will for man from the beginning, into the Old Covenant, and continued to the New. (Gen 1:28)(Joshua 1:7-8)(Esther 10:3)(3 John 2)
Prosperity as a definition simply begins with being content with what we have, whether much or little, and this contentment is based on our soul's salvation and godly living (Phillip 4:11)(1 Tim 6:6).
Being 'content' with what we have does not mean we cannot have more, even as it does not mean we cannot have less. It simply means not to be seeking more or less through the lust of covetous and dishonest practices.
Let us be very careful of judging one another based on our own heart's desires. We can have all the personal standards of how much or little, how far or close, etc... that we want according to our own faith in Jesus, but when we begin to judge the liberty of another's faith by our own conscience (1 Cor 10:29), we become lawmakers and judges of evil thoughts (James 4:11-12).
Scripture teaches that it is the love of money and trusting in riches, to the denying of the faith of Jesus and the transgressing of His Word, that is sin, not having money and riches in itself. Paul teaches the rich not to be highminded about it, not necesarily to get rid of it (1 Tim 6:17). The rich young ruler denied Jesus because his greatr possessions possessed his heart, but there are just as many others who's possessions are not so.
To say that someone is guilty for buying a richer car, because they could have bought less and given the extra to the poor is the exact same error that Judas made when he found fault with Mary for 'wasting' money on the rich oil rather than settling for cheaper stuff and giving the extra to the poor (John 12:3-5). Let us be careful not to be highminded about not being rich (!) Pride is a sin, whether it is pride in riches or pride in poverty, but charity edifies all things (1 Cor 13:1-3).
2) The poor. Christians are commanded to provide for their own households first, and then exhorted to provide for one another in the household of faith (James 2:14-17)(1 John 3:16-17)(Gal 6:10). If any believer then desires to provide for any poor of the world, that is purely by personal pleasure rather than by doctrinal instruction.
To rebuke a believer for not caring to help his own family or others in the faith, when he is able, is to minister the judgment of God. But to try and rebuke another for not doing enough for the poor of the world, which has no Scriptural authority, is to throw guilt-trips on one another.
3) So far as being called to poverty, there is one area that such a case occurs in Scripture. That is the called minister of God, who is to forsake their own pursuit of prosperity while committing themselves to the ministry of the saints by a ready mind, rather than for filthy lucre. The minister of God is to live of the Gospel they preach, whether in abundance or in abasement, depending upon the cheerful giving of the believers (1 Cor 9:14)(2 Cor 9:7)(Phillip 4:12).
No person has this high calling of God, while they have yet to prosper in this world to their own heart's content. Jesus was not allowed of the Father to commit Himself to the ministry, until he had so prospered in his life with stature among God and man (Luke 2:52). So neither should any other believer commit themselves to ministry while yet seeking to prosper in their own lives, because then they will necesarily be seeking such financial ministering from the saints, rather than committing themselves to ministering to the saints' own wealth.