As I studied section 48 of the Doctrine and Covenants today, I noticed that the Lord instructed members of the church to do three things in relation to their assets: give generously, save aggressively, and buy carefully.
Joseph Smith received this revelation after asking the Lord what to do about the influx of members of the church in the Kirtland area. The new arrivals needed property, so that they could establish themselves in the new community. The Lord explained what they should do to accomplish this goal:
- Give generously – Members of the church who already owned property in the area should share with the new arrivals: “Inasmuch as ye have lands, ye shall impart to the eastern brethren” (Doctrine and Covenants 48:2).
- Save aggressively – To members who did not have sufficient funds to purchase land, the Lord said, “Save all the money that ye can, and…obtain all that ye can in righteousness” (Doctrine and Covenants 48:4).
- Buy carefully – When all had arrived, a group of people should be selected to decide which land to acquire. “And they shall be appointed to purchase the lands…and then shall ye begin to be gathered with your families” (Doctrine and Covenants 48:6).
This advice is based on sound principles, some of which are also taught in the Book of Mormon. For example, after witnessing the dramatic conversion of his people through the atonement of Jesus Christ, King Benjamin emphasized the importance of sharing their possessions with those in need:
If God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.Mosiah 4:21
But he qualified that counsel, reminding them that they should be aware of their limitations and not try to give more than they have:
See that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.
And the prophet Jacob, paraphrased a passage from Isaiah to emphasize that we ought to only purchase things that matter, things that are meaningful and valuable:
Do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.2 Nephi 9:51 (Compare Isaiah 55:2.)
Today I will strive to apply these principles in the management of our family’s resources. I will share with those in need, save and invest for the future, and be wise and disciplined in my expenditures.