Those in the secular world may scorn Scripture, but they are keen observers of human behavior. There's a saying in the business world, "Not everyone can carry a full cup." What this means is that prosperity will ruin most folks. Our Gospel reading this week, the Parable of the Sower, makes exactly that point.
We see examples of the inability to handle prosperity all around us in athletes and entertainers who rise from poor roots to fabulous wealth in a short time. Once the world has used up their talent, they often quickly fade back into poverty or destroy themselves by living in excess - witness Mike Tyson.
Y'shua makes this point in the Parable of the Sower where He says that the Word can be choked out by "...riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity."
Moshe, on the other hand, says the same thing about the Nation Israel. Their history has been that they hew closely to God when they are in difficulty but fall away when they prosper.
If so many people as well as nations cannot handle prosperity, why doesn't God just constantly keep things a bit tight for His people? You know, keep everyone living right on the brink of hunger. It would be better for our health and would certainly keep us focused.
The answer, of course, is that He wants us to realize that no matter how much wealth we gain in this world, it's not enough 1. The best this world can do cannot compare with what He has for us in the next world. We can neither learn this lesson nor pass it on to the world from a position of poverty. A poor person preaching that the things of this world are no match for those of the next will simply be brushed off by the wealthy.
A wealthy man or nation that dedicates itself to righteousness and spiritual pursuits is another matter. Faced with such a man or nation, the world is without excuse. Abraham was such a one. Fabulously rich, he walked with God and changed the course of history.
A wise old man once said, "The way to carry a full cup is not to look at it."
1 Insight from Apocalypse Now? by Rabbi Noson Weisz, Aish HaTorah.