In the western world material civilization has attained the highest point of development, but divine civilization was founded in the land of the East. The East must acquire material civilization from the West, and the West must receive spiritual civilization from the East. This will establish a mutual bond. When these two come together, the world of humanity will present a glorious aspect, and extraordinary progress will be achieved. This is clear and evident; no proof is needed. The degree of material civilization in the Occident cannot be denied; nor can anyone fail to confirm the spiritual civilization of the Orient, for all the divine foundations of human uplift have appeared in the East. This, likewise, is clear and evident. Therefore, you must assist the East in order that it may attain material progress. The East must, likewise, promulgate the principles of spiritual civilization in the western world. By this commingling and union the human race will attain the highest degree of prosperity and development.We could say that spiritual prosperity is found in a desire to give of oneself freely in worship to God and service to others; and that it is characterized by qualities such as love, joyfulness, reverence, and a thirst for justice. And we might say that material prosperity is found in the health and well-being of our bodies; that it is characterized by such things as the ability to eat a strong, balanced diet, possession of adequate comfortable shelter, and freedom from disease.
-Abdu'l Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace p.16
So often we think that we must choose between one or the other; that if we want to progress spiritually we must live an ascetic lifestyle; or that if we want to progress materially, we must set aside religion and morals. Certainly, they are different from each other. But they are not opposed. Rather, they assist in the development of the other. For example, it’s difficult to pray when hungry. Physical health is conducive to a life of worship. Conversely, spiritual qualities provide the motivation for advancing material prosperity. If I love you, I will work with you to ensure you have good food to eat and a safe place to sleep.
Spiritual and material prosperity are like a doorframe and a door. They are separate objects; and they have separate functions. But they are united by a hinge. And with that hinge the door and the doorframe work together to fulfill a broader function. Human life is divided into a material aspect and a spiritual aspect. But they are joined together and work in concert.