True prosperity comes from God

By Scott Livingston

For Mormon Times

Published: Saturday, April 23 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

They always recognized the source of their prosperity, e.g., “They were not slow to remember the Lord their God.” They did not set their hearts upon riches. They were “liberal” in their care for the poor and the needy, “having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need” (see Jacob 2:17-19). Perhaps most importantly, they remembered “how great things the Lord had done for them.” Constantly remembering the source of our blessings seems to be an essential element in retaining the Lord’s favor and thus qualifying ourselves to truly prosper. One additional insight may be worth noting. When we think of prosperity, our minds seem immediately drawn to the idea of financial prosperity. But is this the Lord’s definition of what it means to prosper? Speaking to Latter-day Saints during the daunting days of the Great Depression, President Heber J. Grant taught the following truth:

“The law of financial prosperity to the Latter-day Saints, under covenant with God, is to be an honest tithe payer, and not to rob the Lord in tithes and offerings. Prosperity comes to those who observe the law of tithing. When I say prosperity I am not thinking of it in terms of dollars and cents alone. …  But what I count as real prosperity, as the one thing of all others that is of great value to every man and woman living, is the growth in a knowledge of God, and in a testimony, and in the power to live the gospel and to inspire our families to do the same. That is prosperity of the truest kind” (Gospel Standards, p. 58).

It is abundantly clear the Lord wants to bless His children. “And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. 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” (Doctrine & Covenants 104:15-16).

It is equally clear God’s view of true prosperity is very different from the world’s perspective. If we would enjoy the blessing of true, abiding prosperity, we must first and always turn to the Lord with “all our heart, might, mind and strength.” Then and only then can we be recipients of his “loving kindness,” both temporally and spiritually.

If we are focused on our own prosperity, then we are in spiritual danger. But if, instead, we are focused on loving the Lord, keeping his commandments and seeking to care for our neighbors, then our Heavenly Father will prosper us in the manner he sees fit. The test, as always, is in what we will do with what we are given.

Scott blogs about creativity at sleye1.com and about the uphill climb of becoming a writer at smashingstories.blogspot.com

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