Looking out my window today I’m pondering words. While that might sound a little odd, let me tell you why I’m pondering words. Last week we had our first snow day of the year which led to many people saying “We got a lot of white stuff!” The word “stuff” always brings to mind my writing Professor who passionately drilled into our head what very well could be the 11th Commandment. “Thou shalt never use the word ‘stuff’ when writing”. Stuff, as he would explain, has no real content. It’s just “stuff” and he would always ask – “What is ‘stuff’?” Define what you’re writing about in a clearer way.
Words are important and the choice of words when describing situations are also important. I remember preaching with a translator on a mission trip to Venezuela. I’d never worked with a translator before so speaking and then waiting for the translation was a little odd. At one point in the message I used the phrase “Our God reigns”. There was silence in the room as the translator looked at me and said, “What do you mean?” For him the word “reign” meant “rain” that falls from the sky. After stumbling around with English words in an attempt to convey what “reign” meant, I suddenly blurted out, “rules!” Our God “rules”. The translator smiled and said, “Oh okay! That I can translate”.
When you hear the word “prosperity” what comes to mind? The dictionary definition says it is “the state of flourishing, thriving, good fortune and/or successful social status. Prosperity often encompasses wealth, but also includes other factors which can be independent of wealth to varying degrees, such as happiness and health”. Over the years – especially in some circles – the idea of prosperity has taken a bad rap as what is known as a “prosperity gospel” has been preached. Excess does not equal prosperity. When I think of prosperity I do not think of what I sometimes call the “Name it claim it, have it grab it” mentality. But, I do believe God wants His people to prosper.
A few months ago I wrote about praying for our leaders and also praying for the “prosperity of the nation”. While many people know the importance of “praying for our leaders” it is altogether another thing to pray for the leaders and also pray for the “prosperity of the nation”. It’s even harder to pray this way if you don’t happen to agree with the current leadership. But, as believers that should not come into consideration at all. We are simply encouraged to “pray for those in leadership” and “pray for the prosperity of the nation” so that it “might also go well for us” (Jeremiah 29).
A couple weeks ago I found myself in Zechariah where it reads, “This is what God says: ‘My towns will once again overflow with prosperity” (Zechariah 1:17). I then wrote in my journal; It’s interesting that Zechariah is written at the end of the 70 years of exile the nation of Israel experienced in Babylon. As I headed out the door that morning I said to my wife, “I should see what happened in Canada 70 years ago. The research led to an amazing discovery of two main events that took place in 1946.
May 14, 1946 – The Canadian Citizenship Act is passed meaning a Canadian citizen is no longer classified as a British subject first.
October 14, 1946 – The government introduced Canada Savings Bonds.
While I believe God is amplifying the fact that He plans to bring prosperity to our nation as we pray for our leaders, I think He’s also magnifying the fact that as we discover our citizenship is in heaven and our treasures are stored up in heaven, He will in turn release “great treasure and prosperity” not only into individual lives, but also into the nation.
Where is your citizenship and treasure today?
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.