We all have limited resources, and we have countless ways to spend our time, money, and energy. Ironically, some of the most valuable things in life are relatively inexpensive, while many things which consume our resources have an extremely low ROI.
That is the message of Isaiah in a passage which Jacob paraphrases in a sermon to his people. Here is how Isaiah said it:
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness (Isaiah 55:1-2).
And here is Jacob’s paraphrase of that same passage:
Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness (2 Nephi 9:50-51).
So how can we do a better job of spending our resources profitably? One way, as Jacob and Isaiah point out, is by identifying poor resource allocation decisions and breaking bad habits.
Why are you spending time and money on things that have no value? Maybe because you have been deceived into thinking those things are more valuable than they really are. Or maybe because you are not being intentional in your resource allocation decisions. So the solution is learning to identify things of genuine and durable value and then disciplining yourself to focus on those things.
President Dallin H. Oaks has given the following counsel about how we spend our time at home:
How do family members spend their free time together? Time together is necessary but not sufficient. Priorities should govern us in the precious time we give to our family relationships. Compare the impact of time spent merely in the same room as spectators for television viewing with the significance of time spent communicating with one another individually and as a family (“Focus and Priorities,” General Conference, April 2001).
Today, I will spend my time and money wisely. I will set my priorities in the morning and will strive to use the limited resources I have been given on the most important things. I will remember that the most valuable things are not necessarily the most expensive or time consuming, but that they can be easily crowded out by worthless things if I am not careful.