As we strive to take good care of ourselves and our families, one of our greatest challenges is to find peace in the midst of an uncertain future. We may have the basic necessities of life today, but what about tomorrow? The prophets have urged us to live providently—in other words, to live in a way that will allow us to live well not only today, but tomorrow as well.
The wisdom of living providently has been recognized since ancient times. Joseph encouraged the Egyptians to store grain during the seven “fat” years against the lean years to come. From the ancient Greek storyteller, Aesop, comes a fable about the ant and the grasshopper, which illustrates in a very simple way the principle of provident living. In time of plenty, the grasshopper took no thought for what he might need when the winter came. But the ant worked busily, preparing and providing for a time when food would not be so plentiful. The ant could look to the future with confidence, while the grasshopper—if he thought about the future at all—could only hope for the best.
But living providently is more than just putting aside food for future need. It encompasses all areas of life. If we want to face the future with confidence and peace of mind, we must prepare ourselves in six areas: literacy and education, career development, financial and resource management, home production and storage, physical health, and social-emotional and spiritual strength. When we strive to prepare in each of these areas, we can enjoy peace of mind as we face the uncertainties of the future.
The general president of the Relief Society, Sister Barbara W. Winder, has told what it means to live providently: “Provident living means to prudently and frugally use our resources, to make provision for the future as well as to provide wisely for our current needs.”
Our leaders have given us general guidelines to follow in living providently. But we are the ones who must decide how to make them a way of life. In one ward, the sisters decided that they would each like to make an emergency preparedness kit. Each week in Relief Society, the leaders would show one item that the sisters needed in their kits. Many of the sisters finished the kit in time to give this gift of preparation to their families for Christmas
When we live providently, we are also in a better position to help others. In the Solo Branch in Indonesia, sisters set aside a spoonful of rice every time they cooked, then gave that rice each week to people in need. Even though these Indonesian sisters had an average income of only $140 per year, they were able to bless each other by wise planning.
How well prepared are you? Think about the six areas in which we need to prepare. Invite the Spirit of the Lord to help plan for your own needs in each of these areas. “Living providently today is the very best preparation for tomorrow, for a lifetime of tomorrows, whatever their challenges may be,” says Sister Winder. “The Lord has promised that ‘if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.’” (D&C 38:30.)
1. Discuss why all six areas of preparation are equally important for personal and family well-being.
2. Discuss why balanced preparation brings peace of mind? Why is peace of mind important for spiritual growth?