Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Anti Gospel of Greed: 4 Nephi 1: 4-8

4 And it came to pass that the thirty and seventh year passed away also, and there still continued to be peace in the land.
5 And there were great and marvelous works wrought by the disciples of Jesus, insomuch that they did heal the sick, and raise the dead, and cause the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear; and all manner of miracles did they work among the children of men; and in nothing did they work miracles save it were in the name of Jesus.
6 And thus did the thirty and eighth year pass away, and also the thirty and ninth, and forty and first, and the forty and second, yea, even until forty and nine years had passed away, and also the fifty and first, and the fifty and second; yea, and even until fifty and nine years had passed away.
7 And the Lord did prosper them exceedingly in the land; yea, insomuch that they did build cities again where there had been cities burned.
8 Yea, even that great city Zarahemla did they cause to be built again.

(Book of Mormon | 4 Nephi 1:4 - 8)

About thirty years pass away in peace. The Lord’s disciples perform great miracles in His name. The people were blessed and prospered. Somehow this happened without the people going through their normal pride cycle, i.e. the Lord blesses them, they begin to prosper, they take the credit for their prosperity themselves, they don’t feel that they need the Lord, they turn away from the Lord, they fall because of their pride.

Here, the people remembered the Lord in all circumstances, and gave Him the credit for their blessings.

I see the pride cycle in society today. The church grows much quicker in less developed countries where the communities are not lifted up by their pride. I served my mission in a well developed country. I taught six people that eventually were baptized and joined the church. That was three times the mission average. My son, who is serving in Brazil, had one Saturday where he baptized more people than that.

Point being, when life is going well, we have a tendency to take credit for it ourselves. We don’t feel that we need God in our lives. It is when life becomes difficult that we have a tendency to reach out to a power greater than ourselves. The question is frequently asked, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The answer very well may be, “To keep them good. We can handle a lot of things, but few can handle both humility and prosperity at the same time.”

Turn on the T.V. Sunday morning and flip through the channels. You will find many pastors of pride teaching their gospels of greed. If prosperity was the reason for our existence, then why did Jesus come to earth two thousand years ago instead of today? Having created the earth, He knows where the oil is and He knows where the precious metals and gems can be found. For all that, He could do a weekly pay per view where he raised a few dead people. He would be a billionaire several times over.

The Savior appears to have lived a life of relative poverty, as can be seen in Matthew 8:19-20:

19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Jesus relied on others for His temporal needs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m trying to get ahead just like everyone else. However, I hope that if I become more prosperous, I will always remember the source of all blessings, and rightly give Him credit for all that I have. What do you think? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why wasn't Jesus born in today's society?


Tristi Pinkston said...

Good thoughts, as always, Dan.

Here are some from me:

Bad things happen to good people because God wants to bless them as much as He possibly can. He wants to give all of us eternal life, which is a huge reward, and He can't give a huge reward for only a little effort. You wouldn't give your teenager a car for putting the bread back in the fridge. God tneeds to truly see how we will react to the most challenging trials in our lives before He can give us the greatest reward. For those "good people" who are enduring much, He already knows they are faithful in a few things, and so now He needs to see if they'll be faithful in all things. And if they are, their reward will be even greater.

Dan and Wendy said...

Hi Tristi,

I agree. Eternal life is what Heavenly Father wants for us, and will try to help us achieve. Sometimes that help is in the form of challenges and trials. I don't recall any of the prophets, past or present, talk about how easy their life was.

Thanks for commenting.

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Tristi Pinkston said...

Hey Dan,

I just did some casting. Come tell me what you think.