The irony of life is that while we struggle with all of our might to have a better life, it is the better life that so often makes our lives worse.
In 1621, Robert Burton said, “If adversity hath killed his thousands, prosperity hath killed ten thousands.” History is replete with examples of societies that fought hard to gain a sense of prosperity, and then when finding that prosperity sunk to the depths of degradation in not knowing what to do with prosperity. The strength of the United States is found more in history than the news media of today. In our struggle to find a level of prosperity and comfort, we were united and strong. In gaining a large portion of that prosperity, we have become sluggish and divided. These social ills have crept into the body of Christ.
The church is becoming like the world around it. We are not persecuted nor is there great conflict against the foundation of the church. The real battle is found in being cursed with so many blessings and taking for granted what we have. Today we have greater ease of travel, higher levels of comfort, more prosperity to do more with, and more access to knowledge than ever before. Yet we travel less to refresh ourselves with God’s Word, find ourselves more willing to sit in a pouring rain to watch a ballgame than at the meeting house with saints, give less to the Lord and know even less about His will.
God warned the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:6-17 about forgetting Him when they entered the land of Canaan with all its prosperity. He repeatedly warned them about becoming too comfortable, but this is what they finally did —grew prosperous and forgot God. Earlier in the divided kingdom’s history, Hosea wrote, “The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me” (4:7). At the end of the divided kingdom’s history, Zephaniah said God was going to destroy Jerusalem because there were men who were “settled in complacency” (1:12).
The church today struggles to maintain the present level of interest in spirituality. The Bible is more readily available in more forms than ever before, yet fewer children of God know much about its content. Life is based on comfort in travel, comfort in sitting, ease of time, and availability of opportunities. Why then do we suffer so greatly to have Christians attend services on Sunday night, Wednesday night, gospel meetings, or home Bible studies? We are too busy for God — and the church is not our main purpose in life any longer.
Blessings turned to blight, blessings turned to a curse. Maybe it would be better for God to take the church away from us and give it to a people who are more willing to suffer and die for the cause of Christ than those of us who are living in the wealth of blessings and doing so little for Him.
Kent E. Heaton Sr.