The Key to True Prosperity
The Key to True Prosperity
It was a young Billy Graham who arrived in my native Scotland in March 1955. Just 36 years of age. His invitation was to preach for six weeks in the city of Glasgow’s vast Kelvin Hall. Seated for 11,000 people, it was filled every night. A time of remarkable blessing was enjoyed, and many lives were changed by the power of Christ.
But it isn’t Billy Graham or his Scottish mission that I want to write about so much as the huge sign that hung above the doors of the Kelvin Hall all through those memorable six weeks. It read as follows: LET GLASGOW FLOURISH BY THE PREACHING OF THE WORD AND THE PRAISING OF HIS NAME.
The first three words are familiar to many of today’s Glaswegians. Let Glasgow Flourish is the city’s motto. Visit the city, keep your eyes open, and you’re bound to see it somewhere. It does what a motto often does. It expresses something wished for. Glasgow’s city fathers (like all city fathers) wanted their city to prosper.
What most people don’t know, however, is that the motto was originally much longer: Let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of the Word. Those words embodied clear and strong convictions. The key to Glasgow’s true prosperity lay in its citizens’ relationship with God and the ordering of city life in accordance with his Word (the Bible). And nothing would better promote those ends than the preaching of that Word.
The same conviction about preaching is what explains the structure of our worship services at North Preston Evangelical Church. We meet for about an hour and a quarter, morning and evening, every Sunday (10.30 and 6.00). About half of that time is taken up with the preaching of God’s Word. Why? Because like the Glasgow city fathers of long ago we are persuaded that there is nothing like it to promote true prosperity, whether it be of individuals, families, communities, or nations.
But what is true prosperity? Having money? Far from it! The God of the Bible is our Maker (to whom we owe allegiance), our Lawgiver (whom we have offended by our sins), and a very gracious Saviour (who through Christ his Son has made provision for our restoration to his friendship). True prosperity is to know his blessing, especially his favour and forgiveness.
And that’s where preaching comes in. For preaching shows us how the blessing of God becomes ours. It appeals to us to come humbly to God as sinners and receive from him salvation through Christ. It instructs us how we are to afterwards live so as to please him. Furthermore, when heard with faith, preaching actually conveys God’s blessing to us. Christ becomes our Saviour. Our lives get radically changed. We begin to live as God himself would have us live. And as we do so, every other relationship of life, by the Lord’s blessing, is impacted for good.
The conclusion? Come and listen!