24 But they grew proud, being lifted up in their hearts, because of their exceedingly great riches; therefore they grew rich in their own eyes, and would not give heed to their words, to walk uprightly before God.
The people became rich, and as a result, “they grew rich in their own eyes.” What does that mean? Here are a couple of ideas:
- They were focused on their wealth – thinking about it and placing a high priority on it. This certainly meant that they were spending less time on the most important things: their obedience to Heavenly Father, relationships with family members, and service to others. So, their temporal prosperity had the unfortunate effect of reducing their investment in eternal things.
- They most likely believed that they deserved the blessings they had received. This may have had two side effects:
- They may have thought of themselves as superior to people less fortunate than themselves. This likely reduced their level of compassion for others and stopped them from forming relationships with people who could have blessed them immensely, if they were only able to see beyond their worldly status.
- As Mormon points out at the end of the verse, because they believed that they had somehow created their wealth through their own hard work and ingenuity, they were no longer inclined to listen to the counsel of the actual Creator of the Universe. Their inflated view of their own power had blinded their eyes to their true situation of complete dependence on God, who had given them everything they now possessed.
Today, I recommitted to keep the blessings I receive in perspective: to remember that everything I have comes from my Heavenly Father, and that I receive material possessions to help me better fulfill my purposes on earth, not to become a distraction.