- Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you.
A few days back, I read one of those "riches" scriptures as part of
my "one-a-day" study. At one time in the past, I did a rather in-depth
study of the whole idea of money and the Lord's feelings on the subject.
I can't say that I found any amazing insight into the subject, but I
did learn that the manner in which one becomes rich and how it is used
are of more vital interest to the Lord than the wealth itself.
For most of us, it is better not to have or pursue riches in the
first place. The whole endeavor can cause spiritual problems that are
just as well avoided. But one must also understand that wealth can be the consequence of obedience to the Lord and his desire to increase your stewardship.
- Behold ye, the people of this great city, and hearken unto my words;
yea, hearken unto the words which the Lord saith; for behold, he saith
that ye are cursed because of your riches, and also are your riches
cursed because ye have set your hearts upon them, and have not hearkened
unto the words of him who gave them unto you. (emphasis mine)
The problem with wealth is that we often pursue it for its own sake, having our "hearts (set) upon them". If you seek riches simply for the luxuries that riches can bring, you are not listening to the Lord, who has other plans for the things he permitted you to acquire.
This scripture brings up the truth that, if you have riches, you must
remember who provides it, which is the Lord. We don't have a thing that
the Lord hasn't generously provided. Also, he has the absolute right
to take such away from us, including our lives if it pleases him. He
lets us have these things and even lets us misuse them, for a while. We
must always remember that we must give an accounting for the use of
everything, as we are merely stewards of our possessions and bodies. As
it says in the first scripture, you can't take it with you!
- For behold, the Lord had blessed them so long with the riches of the
world that they had not been stirred up to anger, to wars, nor to
bloodshed; therefore they began to set their hearts upon their riches;
yea, they began to seek to get gain that they might be lifted up one
above another; therefore they began to commit secret murders, and to rob
and to plunder, that they might get gain.
Boy, does that sound like us? We have been so blessed, especially in
the United States of America, with such abundance. I am trying to lose
weight that is a result of enjoying the riches of this land more than is
good for myself! It is a magnificent blessing that also comes with its
evil sisters of pride and greed, which quickly turn such richness into a
curse. We think we are better than the poor. We think we are rich
because we are better people. In the end, we might even steal and murder
to increase our riches and status.
- And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches,
if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to
clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive,
and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.
Of course, the result of righteousness is to be blessed and some of
those blessings may include riches. It becomes important that we have
the right heart when dealing with riches, and that must be to share it
with others in need. If you are generous with what you
have, the Lord will help you acquire more so that you can expand that
generosity! The goal is that everyone will be rich, or rather more
Doctrine and Covenants 38:39
- And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give
unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the
riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth
are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of
And now, the Lord's modern rendition which is a nice sum-up of the subject.
Be careful in seeking riches - your only intent in doing so should be
the blessing of the needy. Don't fall into the constant cycle of the
Nephites, where they were humbled into righteousness, blessed, grew prideful
in their wealth, and were punished, over and over again. Trust that the
blesses righteousness and punishes pride.