The gift of eternal salvation is priceless. It can’t be bought. No amount of time, effort, or money would match its value. Perhaps that’s why Isaiah emphasizes twice that money is not required to receive it:
Thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.Isaiah 52:3
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
Both of these passages also appear in the Book of Mormon. The Savior quotes the first passage during His visit to the American continent. (See 3 Nephi 20:38.) And Jacob paraphrases the second passage during a sermon to his people. (See 2 Nephi 9:50-51.) Jacob’s brother Nephi subsequently references that same passage in 2 Nephi 26:25.
In both passages, the parallelism is dramatic. We are dedicating significant resources to empty projects, projects which will yield unsatisfying results. And at the same time, the greatest, most satisfying gifts are available for free if we will only claim them. The first passage is a reassurance to someone who has already lost everything, and the second is a warning to someone who is in the process of squandering valuable time and energy, but both arrive at the same conclusion. This doesn’t have to be so hard, if you recognize what God has made available to you.
We all have finite resources. We can easily determine the balances in our bank accounts, and we can estimate the value of our other assets. None of us has more than 24 hours in a day, and our productive time is further limited by our health, our employment, and other demands on our time. Would we allocate our limited resources differently if we had a clearer understanding of the expected return on our investments? Would we spend money differently and work differently if we knew that many of the things we are currently purchasing will leave us utterly unsatisfied? What if we knew that greater happiness was available for effectively for free? What would we be willing to give up in order to be able to receive it?
Today, I will reevaluate how I am spending my time, energy, and money. I will recommit to dedicate time to the things that matter most, and I will let go of some things that matter far less. Above all, I will remember that the most important things in life cannot be bought. They are gifts from God, available “without money and without price,” and our work is simply to draw near to Him and receive them.
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