Live Long and Prosper

“Live long and prosper.” The inspiring Vulcan blessing uttered by the late Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed “Mr. Spock” in the 1960’s television series, Star Trek, will be remembered well beyond the original show’s three season run. While certainly not a “Trekkie,” I was intrigued by the prospects of space travel and the discovery of alien worlds as I watched numerous reruns of the show during my
formative years. Mr. Spock was one of my favorite characters and he seemed to be a man (or creature) of impeccable wisdom, discernment and composure. Mr. Spock always seemed to hold it together during a crisis while “Scotty” and the other characters were losing it.

   Mr. Spock’s admonition to “Live long and prosper,” seems like a positive message in itself, but it doesn’t go much beyond that. How do we live long and prosper? Certainly, we don’t know how long we will dwell on this planet, but we can take steps to improve our health through diet and exercise. Even then, many of us are susceptible to accidents and diseases that may shorten our lives, regardless of how careful we are. How does one “prosper?” From an early age, we are told that to succeed in life that we must get good grades, achieve the best test scores, attain acceptance into the best schools, and choose a high-paying career. Prosperity is measured by the amount of wealth we acquire, the neighborhoods in which we reside, and the types of cars that we drive, among other things.
     The Bible also advises us how to “Live long and prosper.” We are to “Honor our father and mother,” as God has commanded us, so that we may “live long” and it may go well for us. (Duet. 5:16 NIV). We are also “to observe the demands, decrees and the laws of the Lord so that, “you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life” (Deut. 6:2 NIV). This type of disciplined living should certainly lead to prosperity as well, but how do we define prosperity? John reminds us that everything that we need to prosper in life is found through Christ. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b RSV). Jesus was referring to “prosperity” in other than worldly concerns. Perhaps Mr. Spock was referring to other-worldly concerns as well.

   In the book of Revelation, the writer shares his other-worldly vision. Our youth group concludes a two-year voyage through the Bible this morning, studying these passages. John boldly describes, in explicit detail, where no living man has gone before, the glory and majesty of the Lord in His heavenly realm. We find that we were not simply created to “Live long and prosper,” but that we are designed to live forever and abundantly. Accordingly, we are to live today in the fullness of God’s grace with the joyful anticipation of living forever with Him in heaven! That is far more exciting than the advice Mr. Spock encouraged his friends to follow! While we can still heed the wisdom of Mr. Spock’s Vulcan blessing, it is assuring to know that God’s grace is sufficient and free. I prefer the blessing with which
the apostle Paul commonly closed his letters to the churches and his friends; “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” (2 Thess. 3:18 RSV).

Blessings and peace!