“What the Scriptures Say about Pursuit of Wealth,” Ensign, Dec. 1972, 59
What are the dangers of wealth? What is the proper attitude about seeking wealth? Will righteousness bring wealth? For what should riches be used?
In over 100 references the scriptures give answers to these questions. Reviewing some of them may help us maintain our perspective.
1. What are the dangers of wealth? Most scriptures mentioning it give strong warnings about the dangers of riches:
“But wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures. …” (2 Ne. 9:30.)
“Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for … they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.” (D&C 68:31.)
“They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother. …” (Ps. 49:6–7.)
“… and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word. …” (Matt. 13:22.)
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (1 Tim. 6:9.)
2. What is the proper attitude about seeking wealth? In the eyes of God, other things are of more importance than riches;
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” (Prov. 22:1.)
“… if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” (Ps. 62:10.)
“… let not the rich man glory in his riches.” (Jer. 9:23.)
“… he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. … He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye. …” (Prov. 28:20, 22.)
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God. …” (1 Tim. 6:17.)
3. Will righteousness bring wealth? It may open the door to wealth, but generally riches need to be pursued:
“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 2:19.)
“Because … thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour … but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself … Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth. …” (2 Chr. 1:11–12.)
“And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceeding rich. …” (Alma 1:29.)
4. For what should riches be used? They are to help the poor and build the kingdom and not for personal comfort and luxury when others are going without:
“And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
“Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
“But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.” (Mosiah 4:16–18.)
“Impart a portion of thy property, yea, even part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family.
“Pay the debt thou has contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage.” (D&C 19:34–35.)
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal. 3:8, 10.)
“If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven. …” (Matt. 19:21.)