The Lord is My Helper
When I returned from my mission I ended up working for an insurance company out of Birmingham, Alabama, and I loved my job. I loved utilizing the people skills I had honed while serving the Lord to make a profit in my temporal life. However, like so many, I lost sight of things of eternal value and eventually began to worship the mammon I was working so hard to gain each day. Sure, I was an active, happy, temple attending Latter-day Saint, but I wanted so much in life. A new car. A big home. People to admire me for what I had accomplished. I coveted for the things of the world. But luckily I was still close enough to the Lord to ask half-heartedly, “Lord, help me be humble.
Needless to say, He answered my half-hearted prayer not just in full measure, but in exponentially increasing abundance. I went from living a financial dream as a 21 year old kid, to borrowing money for a U-Haul to move back into my parent’s basement at the age of 23.
The Lord, in His great mercy, taught me some eternally important lessons.
I love some of the Apostle Paul’s closing counsel to the Saints of the early Church,
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
I love what Paul says about the Lord: He will never leave us. He will never forsake us. And in knowing that we can boldly say that the Lord is our helper and we won’t fear what the men of the world shall do to us. – I love that!
Of course the Lord wants us to be prosperous. There’s innumerable Scriptures that say such. However, prosperity in the eyes of the world should not be our goal.
On my desk I have a framed verse that reminds me daily,
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all [temporal needs] shall be added unto you.”
Now that verse shouldn’t be taken out of context. The Lord was speaking to the Twelve here. They were heading forth into consecrated lives, to fulfill missions, and serve Him fully. But how many of us have consecrated ourselves to the Lord and His Church?
In The Book of Mormon one of my favorite prophets teaches rather plainly that it’s okay to seek for riches if (and that’s a BIG “if”) we do it with the right reasons. After speaking plainly of living a consecrated and giving life, he says,
But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
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.
Jacob set the members of the Church straight on priorities.
- The Kingdom of God
- Then Everything Else
He says after we’ve obtained our hope in Christ, then we can seek for riches if…And then he gives a great list of qualifications. We must seek them for the intent to do good, clothe the naked, and feed the hungry. Those are great things. Great temporal things. But then he moves on and says we must also seek the riches with the intent to liberate the captive and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. While those also might be taken in a temporal light, also think of those who are captive in the Spirit World. Could we not liberate them? Could we not administer relief to those who are not just sick and afflicted in their bodies, but also in their souls?
Jacob gives a principle with a promise there. But in order to “obtain” our hearts must first be in the right spot.
As I’ve learned and matured over the past few years I’ve come to know that the only true things of worth are my testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Gospel, and my family and friends. Nothing else really matters in life. I won’t be able to take all my books with me, and the Lord doesn’t care if I drive a BMW 5 Series or a Toyota Camry. And in so knowing that, I’ve grown increasingly simple as to the things of the world.
The Lord has indeed been my helper, and I can say, as do the lilies of the field, that He has clothed me and fed me and provided for me in every single way.
Do you serve God, or do you worship the false idols of a brand new SUV and an inflated mortgage? Only you can answer that for yourself honestly. But if those idols are taking away from administering relief, service, and the love of the Savior to others, then you may easily know the answer.
As Elder Neal A. Maxwell put it beautifully,
Let us once and for all establish our residence in Zion and give up the summer cottage in Babylon”
– Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “A Wonderful Flood of Light”, BYU Devotional, 26 March 1989
I am thankful that at a young age the Lord taught me such important lessons that helped me to flee from the things of the world (Babylon) and run back to Zion. It isn’t always easy to not notice those pointing and inviting us back to the great and spacious building of pleasures, but the longer we hold to the iron rod, the easier it becomes to ignore the invitations of carnal temporal things.
The Lord is my helper, and for that I am eternally grateful.
If you would like more information about selling that summer cottage in Babylon the Church has some excellent resources and guidelines here.