Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

A friend of mine and I were in a downtown area building when he pulled me to the side one day. It’s been at least 15 years ago. We went into one of the vacant offices. I couldn’t recognize the odd expression on his face, and that concerned me. If I had to describe his expression, I’d say it was a mixture of fear, worry and anxiety.

He said, “I have something to share with you, and I’m only telling you; I’m not even telling my wife.” I sat beside him at a table in that office, and he continued to speak. He told me that he had a very special financial request before God. He said, “I’ve prayed, and I’m believing that God is going to bless me with $500,000 in 30 days.” He said more, but honestly, I don’t remember what else he said. Why don’t I remember? The Holy Spirit was speaking to me at the same time, and His voice was my focus.

This particular friend of mine had been going through many financial struggles. My heart ached to see the troubles he and his family often faced, and to hear him cry out for help touched me even deeper. I felt so helpless, so sad for him, but I still had to say what the Holy Spirit told me to tell him.

After he finished sharing, I looked at him. He wanted me to agree with him in prayer that it would happen. I looked at him and said, “ ... you’re not going to get the money.”

His face displayed the emotions that were stirred within him, seemingly in a particular order. He looked shocked that I would say that, hurt as to why I did say that and then open and receptive because he could tell that I had evidently heard from God. He asked, “Why do you say that?”

I told him what the Holy Spirit told me. I said, "The Holy Spirit told me that you're not going to get that money. He also said that the reason you want that money is because you are tired of trusting God, day to day, week to week and month to month." I continued, "He also said that you just want a way out of trusting, and you're spiritualizing it by asking God to do it."

He took his eyes off of me for a brief moment, and his expression changed to one of humility. He discerned that I had accurately heard the voice of the Holy Spirit because he could immediately and perfectly apply that Word to his reasoning. He looked at me with a reassuring grin and jokingly said, "I don't like your ministry." We both laughed.

Was it wrong for him to want abundance? Of course not. His motive was wrong because he had his own, misguided understanding concerning abundance. There is nothing wrong with having the abundance that God gives for a particular purpose, but can it really be enjoyed?

Yes, it is permissible to enjoy abundance as long as you are willing to be responsible for the abundance you have been given. Having an area in your life blessed with wealth should not result in a selfish state of being. (It is well noted that selfishness is an act that transcends all income levels.)

Even God enjoys our having abundance. The Bible declares that God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant (Psalm 35:27).

Dr. Shane Wall is the Senior Pastor of The Feast of the Lord in Orangeburg.