If given a choice, I’d rather prosper than not. Wouldn’t you? I’d rather thrive than languish, succeed than fail. I’d like for the psalmist’s line, In all that they do, they prosper (v. 3), to describe me.
At the same time, I can get hung up on the ways this verse and similar texts have been employed to buttress a prosperity theology that contradicts larger biblical truths and the life and teaching of Jesus.
But after indulging my judgmental side, I need to return to the psalm’s promise that those who follow God and live as God intended will be like trees planted by streams of water (v. 3), trees that become strong and healthy, that do more than survive—they thrive and bear fruit.
Deep down, I want to prosper in the way the psalmist describes. I want to be wise and faithful. I want to be spiritually alive, vibrant, and growing. I want to be like the healthy trees that sink their roots into fertile soil nourished by streams of water. And I want to bear fruit like those trees. The Apostle Paul offered a list of such fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
All of us want to prosper. But are we eager to prosper in ways that truly matter? Are we eager to plant our lives in the rich soil of God’s love, then bear the fruit produced by the Spirit who lives within us?
Is there a stream, perhaps in the form of a spiritual practice, that you need to dip into more regularly in order to thrive as God intends?
God, this psalm reminds me of my need to access the life-giving streams of holy scripture daily so that I may follow your path. Please give me the reminders I need to help me to do so. Amen.