personal finance: another perspective another perspective on wealth
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Personal Finance:Another PerspectiveAnother PerspectiveOn Wealth
ObjectivesA. Understand the Importance of Perspective B. Understand the key principles of understanding and using wealth wiselyC. Understand other principles about wealth
Understand the Importance of PerspectiveWhat is the importance of perspective?The historian Will Durant wrote of the human need to seize the value and perspective of passing things. We want to know that the little things are little, and the big things big, before it is too late; we want to see things now as they will seem foreverin the light of eternity. (The Story of Philosophy (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1927), p. 1. )How do we see things as they will seem forever--as they are, were, and are to come? (D&C 93:24)How do we get this eternal perspective?
The Importance of Perspective (continued)Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote of those without this perspective. He wrote:Living without God in the world brings a functional lack of consistent perspective. If there were no eternal truths, to what principles would mortals look for guidance? If not accountable to God, to whom are we ultimately accountable? Furthermore, if nothing is ever really wrong, then no one is ever really responsible. . . Why should we be surprised, then, at so many disturbing outcomes, including the lack of community, when every man does that which is right in his own eyes? ( Take Especial Care of Your Family, Ensign, May 1994, 88.)
The Importance of Perspective (continued)Benjamin Franklin knew about the importance of perspective and how it influenced choice. He wrote: Those who believe there is one God who made all things and who governs the world by this providence will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe that mankind are all of a family and that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man will make many choices different from those who do not. . . Those who subscribe to the morals of Jesus will make many choices different from those who do not. (The Art of Virtue, 1986, 8890).
The Importance of Perspective (continued)Perspective is important because it impacts choiceHow you look at things makes a difference in how you make choicesDo you recognize your difference in perspective as you look at the world around you?Do you recognize the implications of your differences in outlook, the differences of an eternal perspective?
The Importance of Perspective (continued)Elder Neal A. Maxwell commented: We see the world and the people in it differently, because, as C. S. Lewis observed, it is by the light and illumination of the gospel that we see everything else. . . The gospel is like the lens of a cosmic kaleidoscope that, instead of showing life, man, and the universe as senseless, unconnected fragments, shows us pattern, beauty, and purpose! It is this vision that can give us a special sense of proportion about the things in life that matter most. . .This perspective can make so many differences in so many ways that, unintentionally, we may be unconscious of the implications of our difference in outlook. (Talk of the Month, New Era, May 1971, 28)
The Importance of Perspective (continued)The purpose of this section is to help articulate this other perspective on wealth, this eternal perspectiveThis perspectivethis difference in outlook will have a major influence in how we make choices.The Lord, through the prophet Joseph Smith commanded:Hearken ye to these words. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds. (D&C 43:34) We must let the solemnities of eternity rest on our minds
QuestionsAny questions on the importance of perspective?
B. Key Principles of Understanding and Using Wealth WiselyElder Richard G. Scott commented:Joseph Smiths inspired statement, I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves, still applies. The Lord uses that pattern with us. You will find correct principles in the teachings of the Savior, His prophets, and the scripturesespecially the Book of Mormon. . . Your consistent adherence to principle overcomes the alluring yet false life-styles that surround you. Your faithful compliance to correct principles will generate criticism and ridicule from others, yet the results are so eternally worthwhile that they warrant your every sacrifice. (Richard G. Scott, The Power of Correct Principles, Ensign, May 1993, 32.)
Principles (continued)What are those principles that we must adhere to whose results are so eternally worthwhile that they warrant our every sacrifice?Let me propose a few correct principles, particularly principles that relate to understanding and using wealth wisely that may be helpful
Principle 1: Ownership1. Ownership: Everything we have is the LordsThe Psalmist wrote:The earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1) The Lord is the creator of the earth (Mosiah 2:21), the supplier of our breath (2 Nephi 9:26), the giver of our knowledge (Moses 7:32) and our life (Mosiah 2:22), and all we have and are (Mosiah 2:21).Nothing we have is our ownits all Gods
Ownership (continued)As such, there should be no feeling of pride for the things we have, are, or will becomeThese things do not belong to us, but are on loanOur blessings should encourage greater obedience to Gods commandments as we realize they are gifts from a loving Father in Heaven (Ecclesiastes 5:19) and we try to thank Him for the things he has blessed us with
Principle 2: Stewardship2. Stewardship: We are stewards over all that the Lord has, is, or will share with usThe Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith stated: It is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. (D&C 104:13)The Lord through the Brigham Young said:Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward. (D&C 136:27)
Stewardship (continued)We are stewards, not owners, over the things we possessAs wise stewards, it is our responsibility to learn everything we can about our stewardshipThe purpose of this class (and the website) is to help you understand and manage that stewardship better, that we all might be approved in all things, and be accounted as wise stewards. (D&C 72:22)
Principle 3: Agency3. Agency: The gift of choice is mans most precious inheritancePresident Marion G. Romney said:Agency means the freedom and power to choose and act. Next to life itself, it is mans most precious inheritance. (Ensign, May 1976, p. 120.) President David O. McKay:Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is Gods greatest gift to man. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give (in Conference Report, Apr. 1950, p. 32; italics added).
Agency (continued)Agency is one of the greatest gifts of God. Instead of using this gift wrongly, we should do all in our power to make wise choicesAnd then we should thank a loving Father and Son for this wonderful right to chooseand then use that agency wisely!
Principle 4: Accountability4. Accountability: We are accountable for every choice we makeThe Lord through the prophet Joseph stated:Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. (D&C 58: 27-28)For it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. (D&C 72:3)
Accountability (continued)While the blessing of agency is an unconditional gift from God, how we use that gift shows how much we love Him and His SonWe will all be held accountable for our use of our agencyWe should do all in our power to use choice wiselyAn additional purpose of this class is to help and encourage you in the choices you make
What is Really Ours? (continued)On this subject, Elder Neal A. Maxwell stated:The submission of ones will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on Gods altar. The many other things we give, brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in Gods will, then we are really giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give! (italics added, Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 22.)
QuestionsAny questions on the key principles for understanding and using wealth wisely?
Understand Other Principles About WealthAre there other principles that are important in helping us understand and use wealth wisely?Following are a few ideas that may be helpfulThey follow the previous principles of:OwnershipStewardshipAgencyAccountability
Ownership Principles (continued) Ownership Principles1. Wealth is not a Sign of RighteousnessWhile financial blessings may be a result of righteousness, more often than not the blessings from righteousness are spiritual. The best sign of righteousness is not wealth, but how well we follow the example of our SaviorDo we have His image in our countenances?Are we trying to follow His example in all we do?
Ownership Principles (continued) 2. Since God gives us blessings freely, we should share them freelyThe prophet Jacob taught:Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. (Jacob 2:17)God does not ask us to be rich to help Him. God gives us wealth so we can show the world--and ourselves--what we will do with that wealthWould He be pleased on how you earn and share your blessings?
Stewardship PrinciplesStewardship Principles3. We have not earned the things we possessIn D&C 130:20-21 it tells us: There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicatedAnd when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.Blessings are not earned; rather, they are given by a loving Heavenly Father. Do we thank Him for his blessings?Do we show by our actions we love Him?
Stewardship Principles (continued)4. Wealth is not a necessary qualification for service in the Lord's kingdomPresident Gordon B. Hinckley said:If that is the perception, I am sorry, because it is a false perception. Out of the experience of nearly a quarter of a century in organizing and reorganizing scores of stakes, I can say that the financial worth of a man was the least of all considerations in selecting a stake president. Wealth and financial success are not criteria for Church service. (Tithing: An Opportunity to Prove Our Faithfulness, Ensign, May 1982, 40.)
Agency PrinciplesAgency Principles5. Wealth can be a Blessing or CursePresident N. Eldon Tanner said:The Lord gave the greatest success formula that I know of : Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Constancy Amid Change, Ensign, Nov. 1979, 80.)President Brigham Young stated:"The worst fear ... I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church. ... My greatest fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth." (This Is The Place, Tambuli, July 1977, 25.)
Agency Principles (continued)If wealth is bad, should we ever seek riches? The Nephite Prophet Jacob counseled:But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good-to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2:18-19)Our first goal should be the Kingdom of GodOnly then should we seek riches. And we will seek them for the right reasons, to do good, to serve God, to help others
Agency Principles (continued)President Gordon B. Hinckley said:The Lord will love us, I think, to the degree to which we lift and bless those in distress. I believe that with all my heart, mind, and soul. The accumulation of means is not a bad endeavor when those means are used to bless the needy of the earth. (Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Volume 2, Intellectual Reserve, 2005, p. 593.)
Agency Principles (continued)6. Love of money is the root of all evilElder Theodore M. Burton commented:Paul did not say that money itself was evil, but that the love of money is the root of all evil.(1 Tim. 6:10.) Love of money, status, possessions, or position more than righteousness begets a kind of false pride that must be avoided. That is why the Lord also told us that 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,. . .but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old. (D&C 38:39) (A Disease Called Pride, Ensign, Mar. 1971, 26.)
Accountability PrinciplesAccountability Principles7. Money will not Bring Happiness or Solve your ProblemsHenrik Ibsen said: Money may be the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness; days of joy, but not peace or happiness. (in James E. Faust, Our Search for Happiness, Ensign, Oct. 2000, 2.) My wife Anne added: If you cant be happy without money, you will never be happy with it.
QuestionsAny questions on these other principles on wealth?
SummaryPerspective is importantWe want, and need to know, that we are seeing things as they really areThat big things are really big things--that little things are really little thingsWe need to know that we are seeing correctlyPerspective is important as it influences choice.How we view the things of eternity will have a major impact on how we live our livesHave a correct perspectivean eternal perspectiveanother perspective- * -
Summary (continued)This other perspective is important for us to understand. It is based on four key principles for understanding and using wealth wisely. They are:1. Ownership: Everything we have or are is a gift from God. Remember that it is not ours2. Stewardship: We are stewards over the things the Lord has blessed us with. We must learn to be better stewardsthis class will help 3. Agency: The ability to choose is a God-given gift. Use it wisely4. Accountability: We are the final decision makers, but we will be held accountable for our decisions. We must learn to choose wisely
Summary (continued)There are other principles that can help us understand and use wealth wisely. They are:Ownership Principles1. Wealth is not a sign of righteousness 2. Because God shares freely with us, we should share freely with othersStewardship Principles3. We have not earned the things we enjoy4. Wealth is not a necessary qualification for service in the Lord's Kingdom
Summary (continued)Agency Principles5. Wealth can be either a blessing or curse, depending on our choices6. The love of money (not money) is the root of evilAccountability Principles7. Wealth will not bring happiness nor solve all your problems
Review of ObjectivesA. Do you understand the Importance of Perspective? B. Do you understand the Key Principles for using and understanding wealth?C. Do you understand other Principles about Wealth?
Case Study #1DataBrenda came from a family that had little of the worlds goods, but there was a lot of love in the home. The parents loved their children and the children loved their parents. She respects you for the wonderful example you have set.ApplicationShe asks you:1. What is the purpose of wealth in our lives? 2. What scriptures support that purpose?
Case Study #1 answers1. You have lots of good ideas, but you share the following: The Nephite Prophet Jacob shared with us one view of the purpose of wealth in our lives. He counseled us that if we seek wealth, we should do it for the right reasons: After ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good-to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2:18-19)
Case Study #1 answers2. Again, there are many different answers from scripture. You could respond: Riches are to help us to fulfill our missions here on earth, to help us become like Christ, to raise righteous families, to move the kingdom forward, and to help and serve others. Remember D&C 14:7 and 11:7: Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich.
Case Study #2DataBrenda continues to ask you questions regarding your perspective and principles for understanding and using wealth wisely. ApplicationShe asks:What are the four key principles for using wealth wisely? Why is each principle important? What can we do now to incorporate each principle into our lives now?
Case Study #2 answersThere are a lot of good answers for these questions. You might respond with: The key principles for understanding and using wealth wisely are:1. Ownership: Everything we have or are is a gift from God. It is important as the things we have are not ours, but are on loan from a loving Father in Heaven We can incorporate this principles into our lives by learning that when we share with others, we are only giving back to God what was His in the first place, and what He has loaned to us.
Case Study #2 answers2. Stewardship: We are stewards over the things the Lord has blessed us with. It is important as we must learn to be better stewards over our blessings as we will be held accountable for what we do with these blessings.We can incorporate this into our lives by learning as much as we can about the things we need to do so that we can become the best stewards we can over the blessings our Heavenly Father shares with us.
Case Study #2 answers3. Agency: The gift of choice is mans most precious inheritanceIt is important as we need to use this gift wisely so we can return and live with God eternally. We can incorporate this in our lives by studying all areas of our decisions and decision making processes so we can have the information needed to make the best decisions possible.
Case Study #2 answers4. Accountability: We are accountable for our choicesWe are the final decision makers in life. It is important as we must learn to choose wisely.We can incorporate this into our lives by setting good goals and then by making wise choices to help us attain those goalsgoals that our Heavenly Father would have us seek for.
Case Study #3DataBrenda was concerned as one of her friends was blessed with material riches, and made poor choices which caused him to lose his testimony. She asks: If wealth is so bad, should we seek for riches? ApplicationWhat did the prophet Jacob in Jacob 2:18-19 say about this question? What should we seek for first?
Case Study #3 answersThe prophet Jacob said seeking for riches is OK if we first seek the Kingdom of God, and if we seek riches for the right intent--for righteous purposes. "But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. "And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good-to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted". (Jacob 2:18-19)First, we should seek for the Kingdom of God and doing His will. Then we can seek for richesbut with the intent to do good
Case Study #3 answersPresident Gordon B. Hinckley said:The Lord will love us, I think, to the degree to which we lift and bless those in distress. I believe that with all my heart, mind, and soul. The accumulation of means is not a bad endeavor when those means are used to bless the needy of the earth. (Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Volume 2, Intellectual Reserve, 2005, p. 593.)