28 And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it.
In Ether 10, Moroni describes the prosperity of the Jaredites under the reign of Lib. Here are some of their accomplishments. As I reviewed this list, I was at first impressed with their initiative and diligence. But as I pondered the list further, I noticed something else: every one of these opportunities was available to them because of the land where they lived. It is true that they made good use of the advantages they had inherited, but it is also true that they were building on privileges over which they had little or no control.
- The poisonous serpents which had blocked them from traveling to the southern lands were destroyed. They began to hunt in the south and had much success (verse 19).
- They built a city along the isthmus separating the northern lands from the southern wilderness (verse 20).
- They designated the southern land as a hunting area and agreed to live only in the northern land (verse 21).
- They engaged in commerce with one another (verse 22).
- They mined gold, silver, iron, and copper and used them to create “all manner of fine work” (verse 23).
- They created fine clothing from silk and from “fine-twined linen” (verse 24).
- They built tools and weapons from the materials that were available to them (verses 25-27).
There is no question that their diligence contributed to their prosperity. But there is also no doubt that they were making use of materials which God had made available to them and without which they could not have been successful.
Today, I will apply the principle taught by Moroni in the passage above: I will work hard, but I will never forget that my work builds on opportunities provided by God, opportunities which I could not have provided for myself. I will be diligent, and I will also be grateful for the opportunities I have been given.