I received an email from my mother recently, which just goes to show how much my thoughts and feelings about the principles have been influenced by her. She wrote:
Scripture couldn’t be clearer that wealth is ‘given’, albeit it must include the willing of it by the person seeking it. It either is used to build the kingdom or it becomes a test that is meant to refine; or it is withheld as it would harm.
A man of great wealth and recognition said to me once, “Plough thru it! Just DO IT!”
But he lost it all because he couldn’t understand it had been allowed, and so pride and greed took over. Some of his children who had been raised with such privilege felt entitled and made huge mistakes in economic wisdom as adults. They now are learning the hard way that ‘laws’ of governance warn against ego which is an antithesis to what Christ teaches. I look at the ensuing beauty but also the ashes that remain after he lost a fortune and an empire that he ‘willed’.
But how beautiful when love, respect, effort, caring and sharing move something forward to benefit all. Or when in an individual effort willing instead of wishing brings wealth that builds and benefits many.
The ashes of this great man’s fall has hurt him the most. He willed self gratification on every level. His broken family still wishes he hadn’t.
So this brings up the topic of wealth. Is it bad? Is it good? How can we pursue it without doing damage to ourselves or our family?
Over the years we’ve experienced no money, to relatively a lot of money, to back to no money, and have in more recent years been working on building wealth with greater wisdom and prudence.
Interestingly, we experienced fear in both places: when there was a little, and when there was a lot. We’re now learning how to live in faith as we pursue longer term goals built on the timeless principles of patience, diligence, hard work, and delayed gratification, while also integrating the principles of Rare Faith to overcome each of the obstacles that try to get in the way.
It’s a powerful, unstoppable, glorious combination: the marriage between Rare Faith and Wisdom.
We’ve learned there’s a fine and careful line to walk between settling for less than one’s highest potential, and brazenly achieving quick or impressive success. Pay attention to the voices, which entice you to the one or the other. All good things taken to either extreme can be harmful.
Alma the younger taught, “I trust that ye are not lifted up in the pride of your hearts; yea, I trust that ye have not set your hearts upon riches and the vain things of the world. …I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things.” (Alma 7:6, 23)
He later instructed his son (and us) to “be diligent and temperate in all things,” and to “see that ye are not lifted up unto pride,” (Alma 38:10, 11). According to Kent D. Watson, “Being temperate means to carefully examine our expectations and desires, to be diligent and patient in seeking righteous goals,” (emphasis added). Click here to read his excellent analogy, comparing a temperate person to tempered glass.
But too many of us read these verses and carelessly sum up their message by lazily associating the words, thus:
- Riches, pride, vanity = bad
- Humility, no riches, suffering = good
A careful re-examination of the verses shows us that this is not their message at all. They simply remind us that we should 1) not set our hearts upon riches, but that we should 2) be humble, 3) live patiently, and 4) exercise temperance. We are also reminded to have righteous goals. What are righteous goals?
Jacob 2:19 advises that, “after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and [but] 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,” (emphasis added). These are righteous goals, and these are what we should seek riches for.
Yes, we can seek riches for any reason we want. We can even use the principles of Rare Faith to make anything of our life that we choose. But if we use the power without caution, if we activate it’s power without wisdom and restraint, there will be pain. We can make our choices, but we do not choose the consequences connected to those choices. There is a way to have it all, but it must be done in the Lord’s way. Any other way will lead to heartache and regret.
Here is where humility comes in.
Are you able to learn how to use the power of Rare Faith, and still be humble enough to let God instruct you on how to use it wisely? Are you willing to get in tune with, and follow His divine inspiration that helps you get the timing right?
Proverbs 4:7 advises, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore …with all thy getting get understanding,” (emphasis added).
So getting wealth is not the problem. In fact, it is even biblically idealized, as we see how God delighted to bless Job with material abundance, after proving that he would honor and praise Him, no matter the pain or devastation suffered.
Many of us understand this on a conscious level, but deep down, we still feel the effects of these word associations in our mind: Riches, pride, vanity = bad. Humility, no riches, suffering = good. This false belief keeps a lot of people suffering unnecessarily, and even worse, it continues to hinder the accomplishment of many great things that God has planned for His children. What great thing does he want to accomplish through you? If you obtained wealth with wisdom and prudence, and achieved your goals in their proper order, what service would you render to his children?
I read a powerful post on Facebook today, which really punctuates the point I’m trying to make. With the author’s permission, I share part of it here:
GOD WANTS US TO HAVE LOTS OF MONEY… WHAT?!
So the giant church I belong to has come out with a global “Self Reliance” Program to help people around the world with their money beliefs.
Not me. I always thought it was a big “no no” to want to have money, to think about money, and to even think you need to have money because in our culture the idea of “trading” is so prominent.
This “I can’t afford it so let’s have a trade” is the first thing that comes out of a lot of mouths in my experience with doing business.
But I was invited to be part of this self reliance mastermind group and it is AMAZING what scriptures and quotes from wise people are packed into this course about starting and growing your business.
I’m thoroughly impressed with the down-to-earth-ness of the content of this program.
I mean, it’s totally like they actually understand this economy that we live in (and this economy thing dates back to ancient times when money was sheep or something) and that people need to have and spend the thing that makes the economy thrive.
It’s refreshing. (Did I say that already?)
It’s permission to be real about money, markups, ROI, profit and loss, and ideal customer.
I’ve had a lot of old, junky money beliefs because regular folks who didn’t understand the reality of life, and how God sees the reality of our world and national economy, taught me that it’s not okay to ask people to pay for the value I offer at a rate that will actually help me keep my head above water.
I think my friends who have their own business can identify with what I’m saying.
There was an example of a couple of guys who were selling watermelon at a roadside stand in our discussion last night.
The guys would drive all the way out to the farmer to pick up a load of watermelon at $1 per melon and then drive all the way back to their roadside stand.
Then they would sell the melons for $1 per melon and wonder why they didn’t have any money to do their life.
Money breakthrough moment:
I used to sell bread. I had a lot of customers who bought my bread at a price that I used to think was too much. (Note the too much thing from my previous post.)
Some people that I would approach would talk about how much it cost me to make the bread and then wanted me to sell it to them for my cost.
There was a time I almost bought into that thinking and quit what I was doing for my family.
Now I’m thinking… “Um… rude! I’m trying to improve my personal economy by selling bread! I must mark it up enough to cover my costs, time, pay my helpers, gas money to deliver, and profit my business.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; We HAVE to spend money and receive money if we are going to be part of improving our economy. I’m talking personal economy and national economy… world economy.
Economy is a big topic at our house.
Anyway, now that I have all the scriptures and quotes to back up what I was feeling was the truth… I must spread the crap shattering truth.
God does want people to have lots of money.
Let’s stop using that as an excuse for not using our God-given personal genius to go out there and make a difference in this world by offering value and asking for a price that actually supports our lives and increases our economy to the point where we can do some extra good in this world!
I personally have some big philanthropic dreams.
I see all of these homeless people and I want to take the ones who really would do something for themselves and provide a launch pad for helping them get back on their feet.
I see rescued women and I want to create a facility and hire professionals to help them heal their minds and emotions.
I would love to support an orphanage on a regular basis.
All of these things require a significant amount of money. And when I think of doing my part to provide for that kind of helpfulness it makes my heart SING!
Yay for stopping petting and protecting the poopy beliefs that kept me in a galaxy far, far away from thinking MONEY IS A GOOD GUY THING!
So yes, Bronwen, I agree. Let’s prosper!
Let’s be anchored in the gospel of Jesus Christ and seek wealth for righteous purposes. Yes, the pursuit can become a trap. The problem, the danger, lies in chasing wealth without wisdom, patience, and prudence. The good news is that ALL good things can be achieved when wisely pursued in the right order. Wisdom and prudence. Wisdom and order. Patience, delayed gratification, diligence, vision.
Don’t keep one law so passionately that you break several others in the process. It’s not necessary!
All truth, all principles, all laws, when used properly, can be kept simultaneously for the greatest, highest outcomes and achievements possible.
But sometimes it means stop when you want to go. Sometimes it means go when you want to stop! And sometimes it means slow down when you want to run.
Related: Getting the timing right