“All These Things Will I Give Thee”

When I was a teenager, my grandparents owned a board game called Careers. It’s similar to Monopoly or Life. You roll dice, move a piece around the board, and accumulate assets. The unique aspect of this game was that each player determined their own success criteria, which had to be some combination of money, fame, or happiness. You won by gaining the desired amount of each, which might be different from the goals of the other players. I always maxed out on money. Seemed easier to me than trying to balance three objectives.

A major theme of Jesus’ ministry is the futility of that strategy. “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” He asked (Matthew 16:26). “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” He counseled, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19, 21, 3 Nephi 13:19, 21). And in the Parable of the Rich Fool, He told the story of a man who worked diligently to prepare for retirement, building enormous barns to store his possessions and maximizing his contributions to his 401(k) plan. On the very day when everything was settled and he was ready to start relaxing, he suddenly died. “So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God,” concluded the Savior (Luke 12:16-21).

Since this principle was fundamental to the Savior’s message, it’s not surprising that He was tested on this very point at the beginning of His ministry. In the third of three temptations, He was taken to a high mountain and shown all the kingdoms of the world. “All these things will I give thee,” said Satan, “if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9; see also Luke 4:6-7). Jesus responded with a scriptural passage: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10; see also Luke 4:8, Deuteronomy 6:13).

Amulek faced a similar temptation, albeit on a smaller scale. A successful businessman, he knew the value of a dollar (or, in his case, a senine). (See Alma 10:4, Alma 11:5.) The lawyer Zeezrom couldn’t offer him all the kingdoms in the world, but he did offer six onties of silver, enough to purchase 42 measures of barley, if he would just deny the existence of God.

How much money would it take to convince you to deny God? Hopefully your answer would be the same as Amulek’s: My commitment to God is not for sale at any price. Or, as Amulek put it (a little more bluntly): “O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me? Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptations? Believest thou that there is no God? I say unto you, Nay, thou knowest that there is a God, but thou lovest that lucre more than him” (Alma 12:23-24).

Some things are simply not for sale. Their value can’t be measured in monetary units. What is the worth of soul? Priceless. No amount of money can measure it, because the soul will outlast the money itself.

Today, I will focus on eternal things, including my relationship with God and my relationship with family. I will resist the temptation to exchange priceless things for things of finite value.

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