The blessings of prosperity

Right now, people who lack health insurance and need a government subsidy to pay for it are being asked to sign up for the program on their computers.  Think of that.   It can be assumed that even those who need financial assistance have computers. Even us ordinary folks have a standard of living that goes far beyond what kings had not that long ago.We live in a society that is so prosperous that our major health problem is not starvation–as it has been for most of human history–but obesity.  Even those in poverty in this country tend to have electricity and running water, television sets and stereos, refrigerators and microwaves, heating and air conditioning, automobiles and a substantial roof over their heads.  This is in stark contrast to the plight of the poor in many other countries, who must live in huts made of corrugated steel, in slums with no sanitation, scrounging for scraps of food just to survive.

I by no means want to minimize the plight of those who struggle to make ends meet here in America.  Economic times are hard.  Many are unemployed.  Many are hopelessly in debt.  Many are having a hard time providing for themselves and their families.  I’m just saying that virtually all Americans, maybe not all but most of us, nevertheless have a lot to be thankful for.

That our prosperity and high standard of living do not make us particularly happy simply gives more evidence for the wisdom of the past, which warned us that this would be the case.  Indeed, it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of the needle.  We are much like those heavy-laden camels.  And yet what is impossible for man is possible for God.

The beginning of a proper attitude for our prosperity, including the eagerness to share what we have with those in need, is to realize that everything we have–including what we have earned from our God-given talents and opportunities–comes to us from the hand of God, who deserves our thanks and praise.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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