In a previous blog post, I discussed the many ways that the word prosper is used in scripture when the Lord blesses us. Financial blessings are just one of many aspects of that, but it is definitely something we find in the scriptures. There is a purpose behind it which the Lord informed Moses of.
Deuteronomy 8:18 But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
So we see that one reason the Lord blesses his people with wealth is to establish his covenant with them. What covenant? The Abrahamic covenant contained promises of land and wealth to Abraham and his descendants which was discussed a little in last week’s blog post.
We further read in scripture that obtaining riches, wealth, and food by our labor, is a gift from God. It is the reward of a productive life.
Ecclesiastes 5:19. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
We see in the writings of the prophets that they desired the financial prosperity and blessings of the earth upon other people.
3 John 1:2. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
They didn’t want people to struggle in temporal matters any more than spiritual.
It may be that Christ was also wealthy to some point through his industry and skill. It would make little sense that he wasn’t an accomplished tradesman who didn’t produce quality goods and take care of his family, particularly his mother after Joseph was gone.
Yet when the time came for his mortal mission, he abandoned personal wealth in favor of a life without script or purse in order to bring about the riches of eternity for God’s children.
2 Corinthians 8:9. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Paul also wrote:
1 Timothy 5:4. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
Requite means to repay for good or evil that has been done to you. We know Christ loved his parents and honored them. In the absence of Joseph, he provided for his mother, surely even during his ministry, probably through savings accumulated during his working years. He probably provided for her until the end when he charged John, “behold thy mother” so that she would continue to be provided for (John 19:26-27).
Paul also warned:
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Surely Christ was not an infidel but provided for his own, just as we are to provide for our own.
1) To establish his covenant as mentioned above in Deuteronomy 8:18.
2) To build a house unto his name. In 1841, a revelation was given to Joseph Smith that allowed the saints to perform ordinances for deceased ancestors outside a temple, until one was built.
D&C 124:30. For this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.
3) To provide for those that cannot provide for themselves. The Lord commands us to not be idle and yet there are those that are truly in need and the Lord expects us to share our blessings with others through the proper use of our agency. Without this, the world offers solutions as you’ll see in a quote below.
For example, in Proverbs 11:24 from the New Living Translation (much clearer than the KJV on this verse) we read:
Proverbs 11:24 Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
4) To provide for our families. Solomon wrote:
Proverbs 13:22. A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
It is our duty to provide for our children and grand-children, and even our parents when needed, as we saw Christ did above.
5) The ultimate goal of the Lord blessing his people with wealth is to establish Zion. He wants the people to become wealthy and share with the poor. This is the law of consecration in action.
Moses 7:18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
The rich provide for the poor and thus humble themselves, while the poor (those unable to help themselves) are exalted above their station.
D&C 104:16. But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.
In the absence of this program, the world steps in by force. In fact, the philosophies of man are often used to justify and correct what they attribute to the unrighteousness of mankind. Not that the world wants man to be righteous and turn to God, but they do recognize a problem and produce solutions that aren’t godly.
Elder Howard W. Hunter:
“What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms . . ..
If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through ‘a democratic process’ he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the ‘haves’ and give to the ‘have nots.’ Both have lost their freedom. Those who ‘have,’ lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who ‘have not,’ lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got ‘something for nothing,’ and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift.
Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms, which they have lost. (Speeches of the Year 1965-1966, pp. 1-11, “The Law of the Harvest.” Devotional Address, Brigham Young University, 8 March 1966.)
Why is it that the poor don’t appreciate the gift or giver of the gift? Perhaps they lack gratitude due to the anonymity of the gift, not knowing the giver or the knowledge that the gift wasn’t freely given. Perhaps it’s a false tradition that they were wronged by others (Mosiah 10:12) and they feel like they are getting their due.
It reminds me of this verse:
D&C 88:33. For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.
I think God is more than willing to give us gifts but we often don’t want the gift because of the law upon which the gift is based. If we pray for charity, are we willing to follow the promptings of the spirit that will help change our nature to become charitable? If we pray for riches for the right reasons, are we willing to follow the spirit’s direction to do what is required to obtain them? It may take learning something new. It may take changing our belief system so unbelief or false traditions don’t sabotage our efforts. It may take giving up anger and pride and adopting an attitude of gratitude for what we have and then asking the Lord for next steps to better provide financial freedom to our family. (See Confidently Seeking the Gifts of the Spirit)
We should know by now that money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is.
1 Timothy 6:10. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
This is a warning to both the rich and the poor. Anyone who centers their love on worldly goods is partaking of Babylon, and not the gospel.
To those blessed with riches Paul warned:
1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
There is nowhere in the scriptures that God condemns people who are wealthy who use their wealth for the right purposes. All things come to us as gifts from God, even wealth. Honestly sought for the right reasons, we can obtain that blessing, which in turn can help us to bless others, establish God’s covenants, provide for our families, and build Zion.
When Nephi established his people in righteousness, the Lord blessed them to “prosper exceedingly” (2 Nephi 5:11), while later, Jacob his brother warns the people who were seeking riches to be cautious. He said:
Jacob 2:18. But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
When we seek riches inappropriately, one of the dangers is pride. We should show gratitude by continually asking the Lord what to do with our wealth to bless our families and others.
Thinking we have become rich because we are righteous and the Lord has blessed us is a dangerous false tradition. Allowing it to carry on in our lives may bring about a situation where the Lord removes that gift.
Helaman 13:31. And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them.
Poverty can be a tool of the Lord to bring about humility so we are in a state to receive the word with gladness and hopefully change our hearts to repent.
Alma 32:15. Yea, he that truly humbleth himself, and repenteth of his sins, and endureth to the end, the same shall be blessed—yea, much more blessed than they who are compelled to be humble because of their exceeding poverty.
Alma took joy in the fact that this group of Zoramites he was teaching were afflicted with poverty, not because they were poor, but because they were prepared in a state to hear the word of the Lord (Alma 32:6). Yet he didn’t say it was good to be poor. He indicated it’s better to be humble than to be compelled through poverty to be humble.
There are many self-destructive thoughts we engage in that take away our belief in God blessing us financially, just as there are spiritually destructive thoughts.
One dangerous mindset that gets passed down to children is using the phrase “we can’t afford that.” Using this phrase can impact generations with a mindset of poverty that they can’t afford things. A better phrase would be, “that isn’t a good use of our resources.” While the former gives a mindset of poverty or lack of resources, the latter is an example of wisdom, analyzing what’s desired in accordance with our resources.
Here’s another false tradition:
“It’s good for me to not get rich and perhaps turn away from God.”
Not only is this condemnatory toward the rich and a position of pride in poverty, but it’s a destructive mindset. If your heart is truly centered on God, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got $10 or $10 billion in the bank. You will seek to do good.
The problem lies in obtaining things without a purpose.
Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
When you have a lot of property (things), you have to worry about them. They take up mental bandwidth and at some point it can become overwhelming. This doesn’t mean we need to lack for the things we desire, but we shouldn’t be obtaining things we aren’t going to put to use in some way. Owning something without using it is a waste of resources and a burden on the mind. Yet some people are very skilled at managing many resources and running large enterprises and there is nothing wrong with that. They are putting their talents to work.
I’ve made plenty of bad decisions thinking I needed a certain thing only to drop it in the garbage later when I realized I really didn’t. I needed to follow Alma’s counsel a little better to:
“Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good…” (Alma 37:37).
If we reason with God, and explain why we think we need a certain thing, he may enlighten us that we really don’t need it or else open the way to provide it. I know this is true from events in my own life.
I don’t think we realize how much life is tied up in personal agency and desires to act, and then asking God for permission and direction. I think he’s very willing to bless those who ask for right reasons because they have come to recognize the good they will do with that thing they are seeking.
I’ll close with this. For every gift or blessing from God there are laws that govern it. A prime factor in those laws is the belief that God can and will bless you. Faith in God and a belief that every gift is available to you lays the foundation.
Luke 12:28. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Gratitude and generosity are two of the prime laws that open that gift up to us.
Malachi 3:10. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
Have faith and believe that God wants to bless you. He takes care of his children. Be faithful and grateful. Pay an honest tithe and generous offering for the Lord’s house to grow the kingdom and take care of the poor. As we live the laws, we obtain the blessings.
Want to study more about this topic? Here’s a few searches I did in the scriptures:
Poverty Power and wealth Beloved and prosper
And read these Topical Guide entries:
TG: Abundant Life
TG: Family, Managing Finances in
Another short book based in abundant thinking is Stuart Wilde’s book, “The Little Money Bible.” I recently started reading this and have really enjoyed it. Each chapter contains an explanation of one of 10 laws of abundance and centered in gospel oriented principles. Here’s one quote from a section I’m reading at:
“All ideas that are holy and good and honest, ideas that serve humanity and yourself, will have a positive energy of their own. When you head out to materialize a moneymaking plan, it will gather momentum. It’s as if the Universe-at-Large leads you step by step, showing you the way. That’s flow. You meet the right people, you sit in the right seat on the plane, and next to you is the very person you need to connect with.”
(Featured image by Wisawa Chinnacotra @ 123rf.com)
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