One of the most oft quoted (misquoted) verses I’ve heard from friends is 3 John 2, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers…” It is a popular verse used to justify a certain theology (Word-Faith/Health-Wealth-Prosperity). So, the line of argument goes like this: Christ’s work on the cross accomplishes all things for the believer, securing soul, body and even financial prosperity for them. This verse then becomes a proof-text for this belief.
Unfortunately, that’s not the meaning of the verse. And a plain reading of this text in its context will reveal as much. In short, it is a prayer of one brother on behalf of another. So while this verse is not a blanket promise, we must also fully embrace praying for one another; even praying for God’s blessings!
But here’s the thing, do you realize that the prayer wasn’t for self? It was on behalf of another. The apostle John wasn’t praying for his own needs and desires, he was praying for a brother. It is worth pondering how much of our focus in prayer is for self: our health, our finances, our spiritual growth. Again, while entirely valid, this cannot be the sum total of our prayers.
This idea is substantiated in the subsequent verses in 3 John 5-8 “Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth.”
I would suggest that in Scripture, this principle plays itself out over and over again: Our responsibility comes with God’s blessings.
Here, the needs of workers in God’s ministry come into focus. I would suggest that in Scripture, this principle plays itself out over and over again: Our responsibility comes with God’s blessings. When God so blesses us financially, for example, it is not only to provide for our needs, it is also that we might supply the needs of God’s ministry. May we do so for His sake and glory. Amen.