Live… And Prosper
Updated: Aug 5, 2022
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
OK, I admit it: I’m a big Star Trek nut. I didn’t go so far as to take the program “Where No One Has Gone Before” when I was at Evergreen State (imagine classes using Star Trek as the base for cultural studies, psychology and neurobiology), but I have watched every series through, seen all the movies, have countless scenes and characters implanted in my memory, and even (briefly) got into the collectible card game. But whether you’re a die-hard fan or have never seen an entire episode, odds are that you’ve heard the hallmark phrase “live long and prosper.”
This phrase is more than the tagline Vulcan salute, because it actually draws a close parallel to God’s original command to humanity, and our mission as followers of Christ. The key word is prosper. Although it is commonly associated with acquiring wealth or at least financial comfort, its basic dictionary definition is “to be successful or fortunate; to thrive; to flourish”. It is derived from the Latin word prosperare, which means “to make happy”. God indeed wants each of us to prosper, and we can do so in so many ways – through family, work, fellowship and unique individual experiences, to name but a few. Best of all, it does not require money. God gives us this invitation to prosper in Isaiah: “Come, buy wine and milk, without money and without cost… Listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare” (Isaiah 55:1, 3).
In the garden of Eden, God blessed Adam and Eve and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Although this command has taken new shape through Christ and the great commission, the essence has not changed. As disciples of Christ, we strive to bring others into Him. In Him, we possess the authority on earth that was given to Him (see Matthew 28:18). And through Him we can truly live and be fruitful.
As we celebrate the resurrection and embark on the journey it leads us on, ask yourself: how can you prosper? Where is Jesus leading you? What changes and risks might be involved, and will you accept them? The answers may or may not seem “logical”, but we do not always have to understand – we just have to act on faith. He already has or will entrust us with the knowledge and abilities we need.
I’m not trying to suggest that there are many spiritual references in Star Trek, and the ones I’ve hinted at here may well be purely coincidental. But God does speak to us even through the worlds of science fiction and fantasy. He may well call us to seek out new life in some form, or boldly go someplace we’ve never gone before. And if our mission is to accept and follow Christ, His first order to us is likely, “Engage.”
Daniel can be reached via email here.