I wrote a few days ago that temporal things have spiritual impacts. One of those temporal things is our financial well-being.
After teaching his people to give generously to those in need, King Benjamin reminded them to do all things “in wisdom and in order.” Then, perhaps as an example of the kind of “order” we must maintain, he reminded us that we must fulfill our obligations to one another:
I would that ye should remember, that whosoever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.Mosiah 4:28
The book of Proverbs teaches, “The borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
To Martin Harris, who was helping Joseph Smith publish the Book of Mormon, the Lord instructed, “Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage” (Doctrine and Covenants 19:35).
Of course we all have obligations to other people. Some of those obligations may involve money, others may relate to tasks that we have committed to fulfill or things that we have committed to look after. The two principles that I see in these scripture passages are these:
- When you have an obligation to another person, you need to fulfill it.
- Before incurring a new obligation, you need to consider whether you have the ability to fulfill it.
President Heber J. Grant encouraged us to avoid excessive debt in order to manage our emotional and spiritual health:
If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet.Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham , 111, quoted by Gordon B. Hinckey in “To the Boys and to the Men,” General Conference, October 1998
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given the following counsel to church members:
We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve.
If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts.All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances; see also Family Finances on churchofjesuschrist.org.
Today, I will review the obligations I have to other people and ensure that I am meeting those obligations. In particular, I will review our family finances and make good plans to ensure that we are living within our means, building an appropriate financial reserve, and avoiding obligations that we cannot meet.