“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal…” -Matthew 6: 19-20
Through His prophets, God has specified the worthy reasons to seek prosperity. These include to build the kingdom, achieve eternal happiness, and to serve others. As Franklin D. Richards summed up, “…let us dispense the means which the Lord has given us to enrich the lives of others who are less fortunate than we are and to build the kingdom of God, that we may make of our life a good gift to God…”
These three ideals should be the foundation of the LDS financial plan — the starting point, rather than a future goal. Prosperity is not an appropriate end — it is simply a tool that can be used to help us achieve the end of eternal life, and to help others do the same. When prosperity becomes our end — however subtly and to any degree — the chances of us becoming prideful and selfish and straying from the gospel are significantly increased.
The world is swarming with advice on how to become wealthy. We’re bombarded with images and stories of the “good life” complete with extravagant homes, glittering cars, and lavish lifestyles. Especially in America, “fine-twined linen” in all its forms is readily available to those who seek it.
None of these things have intrinsic value; they are not good or bad in and of themselves.
However, would they be our primary focus if we were grounded in God’s true financial ideals? Would we seek them directly? Would we use the “law of attraction” to envision them consistently? Would we selfishly hoard material goods after gaining them? Would they become a source of pride, or a means of service? Would we value worldly profit over eternal progression?
These three ideals provide the context and standard for making all financial decisions, down to the most minute, most practical details.
Consider life insurance, for example. If a providing father dies without life insurance, what happens to his family and the productivity (which represents service) he could have created had he lived? Not only does his service in this world stop, but also the service efforts of his wife and children will be inhibited, since they will have to work to replace his income.
What about something as basic as budgeting? If we cannot manage our home finances properly, how can we build the kingdom effectively? If our small portion of the Lord’s vineyard is mismanaged, how does that impact the vineyard as a whole?
Money that services debt interest could be used instead to serve people. The more dependent we are, the less we can impact others for good. Money lost in risky schemes is money that could have been used to build temples and send youth on missions.
Viewing our personal finances in this light helps us understand the gravity of our daily decisions and actions. It directly connects our dollars and cents to the principles, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel.
“May God bless us,” Brigham Young entreated, “that we may always have enough, and know what to do with what we have, and how to use it for the good of all, for I would not give much for property unless I did know what to do with it.”
Answer the following questions:
- Why do I want to prosper?
- If I had $1 million, what would I do with it?
- Am I fully living the law of consecration? How can I live it better?
- If the United Order were to be instituted today, would I accept it, or struggle with it?
- Do my daily thoughts, words, and acts reflect eternal, or temporal, priorities?
- Do my financial habits contribute to, or detract from, building the kingdom?
- How can I better serve others and become more selfless?
- Who do I know that is struggling, and how can I help them?
- Create a plan to help someone in need.
- Create a long-term plan of how you will use your talents and material blessings to build the kingdom of God (i.e. serve a full-time service mission, grow a community garden, build a non-profit, etc.).
- “United in Building the Kingdom of God” by L. Tom Perry
- “Beware Lest Thou Forget the Lord” by Dean L. Larsen
- The Use and Abuse of Blessings by Brigham Young
- Helaman Chapter 12
- Pay an honest tithe and generous fast offerings.
- Help an individual or family struggling financially to become more self-reliant and prosperous.
- Volunteer to serve when opportunities present themselves, particularly in your Ward.
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