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Question

 

Gramps,

As I understand it, the Bible is very clear that we should be either giving away our possessions to the poor or sharing them. There are so many desperately poor people right under our noses but lots of very wealthy people too. Yes, some of them tithe or donate according to their church’s teachings but they are still living a very privileged life which seems incompatible with scriptural injunctions.

Liz

 

Answer

 

Dear Liz,

It’s all about the Law of the Harvest, you sow what you reap.  However, I’m not talking about “rich” people here.  What I mean is we each have only the ability to change ourselves.  We can’t sow in other people’s fields.  We can’t reap other people’s rewards, but neither will we be punished for their mistakes/sins.   So in the case of rich people, whether or not they are right or wrong is not our concern.  Remember, the scriptures are for our instruction and gain, not so we could use them to compare ourselves with others, and judge them unrighteously.  The only person we can change is ourselves. When I read your question Liz, one of my favorite talks came to mind.  I would like to share a few quotes from it.

“There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.”  Ezra Taft Benson, Beware of Prideemphasis added

You see, Liz, while your point about rich people may or may not be true, the more immediate concern for you is what is happening in your own heart and each of us has more than a lifetime-worth of work getting our own selves prepared to meet God.

You might ask, “But aren’t rich people prideful too?”  Again, they may or may not be (President Benson does address pride of the rich also), but again that is not within your stewardship.  As President Benson says pride is easy to see in others, but hard to see in ourselves.  And it is a far too common problem.

“Pride affects all of us at various times and in various degrees. Now you can see why the building in Lehi’s dream that represents the pride of the world was large and spacious and great was the multitude that did enter into it. (See 1 Nephi 8:26, 331 Nephi 11:35–36.)

 

“Pride is the universal sin, the great vice. Yes, pride is the universal sin, the great vice.

 

“The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness. (See Alma 7:23.) It is the broken heart and contrite spirit. (See 3 Nephi 9:203 Nephi 12:19; D&C 20:37; D&C 59:8Psalms 34:18Isaiah 57:15Isaiah 66:2.)”

This talk was given in 1989, and since then I have studied it regularly.  It is a wonderful way to check how I am doing in conquering my own pride.  Are there people more prideful than I?  Perhaps so, but that is not my concern.  I just need to work on myself, and that is the advice I give to you as well, Liz.  I hope you will take the time to read the whole talk, even if you have read it before.  There is much wisdom and great counsel there for all of us.  Each time I read it, I feel renewed in my efforts to overcome the great sin of pride.

 

Gramps

 

 

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