The old TV show “Star Trek” introduced the phrase “Live long and prosper” as a blessing to others. Offered by Vulcan First Officer Spock, whose race lived according to the tenets of logic and reason rather than emotion, it caught on with we non-logical humans as a nice thing to say to others.
No one can argue with the wish for others to live long and prosper. It implies good things happening, an existence that is not just notable for its duration but also for growth and material success. A long life of challenges and woes wouldn’t be much fun, just as prospering but having no time to enjoy the fruits of one’s labour would also be, to use another popular (non-Vulcan) phrase, “a bummer”.
As a person of faith, however, especially one who follows Jesus, I would modify Spock’s logical blessing. I would replace the word “Prosper” with the word “Succeed”. To prosper is to growth in wealth and possessions. Jesus didn’t care about such things. John the Baptizer, pointing the way to a Christ-like life instructed the faithful to give away their second coat; Jesus himself called a rich man to give up all his worldly cash and treasures so that he could one day make his way to heaven. To follow Christ is to turn away from the prosperity prized by Vulcans and non-Vulcans alike and turn towards Christ-like action.
That’s why I suggest replacing “Prosper” with “Succeed” in the Vulcan blessing. I would like to succeed in giving up my material wealth for following Jesus more closely. I would like to succeed in giving away my second coat to the poor or needy. I would like to succeed in loving others as I would like to be loved. Success in following and serving Christ would be a worthy reason to live a long life. Actually, on second thought, following Jesus successfully would be the single best reason to live as long as possible.
This is my prayer for you my friends. I pray that you too will find greater joy in following Jesus than chasing after wealth. I pray that you will succeed in sharing your blessings, whether its coats or cash, with others. I pray that you will succeed in your attempts to love others as you would like to be loved. I pray as well that even if you don’t succeed in following Jesus perfectly and absolutely, that you will certainly have some success in trying. That too is a reason to live long. Do I want you to prosper? Prosperity isn’t what Jesus’ wants for us.
With that in mind, brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray that you will live long and succeed.