The Riches of Eternity

There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing:

there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

Proverbs 13:7

The prophet Jacob counseled his people to prioritize heavenly blessings over earthly ones: “Before ye seek for riches,” he said, “seek ye for the kingdom of God” (Jacob 2:18).

The Savior urged us all not to spend time and energy accumulating “treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal” but to focus instead on acquiring “treasures in heaven” (3 Nephi 13:19-20, Matthew 6:19-20).

In modern revelation, four times the Lord used the phrase “the riches of eternity” to describe these heavenly treasures:

  • “And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:39).
  • “Mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give” (Doctrine and Covenants 67:2).
  • “Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them;… they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness” (Doctrine and Covenants 68:31).
  • “The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:18).

What are these riches?

Elder John H. Groberg once visited an elderly Tongan widow of modest means named ‘Ofa. She insisted on making a donation to help the poor, telling him that she could afford it, because she was rich. “Things haven’t turned out the way I thought they would,” she said, “but I know I will be with my husband soon…. I know I have not done all I could do, but I know the Lord is pleased with what I have done.”

Now listen to his experience as he stepped out of her small hut:

As I left, the sun was very low and I realized that a soft transformation had taken place. The golden “huelo ‘oe la’a” (afterglow of the sun) had turned the mud into veins of gold; and the run-down hovel into a beautiful mansion. The final rays of the setting sun colored the tattered coconut leaves with an amber-like richness that made them glow and sparkle like precious jewels. What a magnificent close to a beautiful day, heralding a similar close to an equally beautiful life!…

‘Ofa has long since passed away, but even today I often think of her. She had sought for and found the riches of eternity. She knew in whom she trusted. Not only has she gone to a great reward, but she tasted some of it while still here.

The Fire of Faith, Deseret Book Company, 1996, 48-49

Today, I will seek for heavenly treasures. I will remember to keep earthly possessions in perspective and to focus instead on the riches of eternity.

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