For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. —Matthew 6:21
My friends, pure truth does not get any simpler and straight forward than that; a simple statement that even a child may understand, and yet the depth of our Savior’s words is endless.
Even from the beginning, one of Lucifer’s greatest vehicles to further his purposes is the use of the treasures of the world to sway mankind to take part in evil doing. His “gospel”, if you will, is based on greed, selfishness, pride, and secret combinations. Perhaps, this is why the apostle Paul makes this observation in his first epistle to Timothy:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. —1 Timothy 6:10-11
This is not to say that money in and of itself is the root of all evil, but that the love for it is.
It is precisely in this, then, that we must learn and truly know that one of our main objectives and challenges in mortality is to overcome our natural senses and passions. If we do not they likely will quickly and quietly overcome us, as Christ also taught us specifically regarding the love for money:
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. —Matthew 19:24
Consider the actual incident during Christ’s ministry with the young rich man who approached Him with the question of how to obtain eternal life, whereupon the Lord answered him by saying it is by obedience to the commandments that we fundamentally obtain that gift. The young man replies by telling Jesus that he has done these things from his youth. Finally, the Savior extends yet a personal commandment to this young rich man to sell all of his great possessions, give of his wealth to the poor, and then to follow Him, whereupon the young man turned away sorrowful, because of his love for his earthly treasures (Matthew 19:16-21).
From this and other examples alike, the Lord has taught us:
Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men —Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-35
And thus we see how tightly knit our heart is to that which we treasure, whatever that my be. And thus the Lord admonishes us:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal —Matthew 6:19-20
So, knowing here that we are directly instructed by Jesus Himself, how do we lay up treasures for ourselves in Heaven?
The answer to this question resides in yet another paradox of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is that as we give of our substance to the poor and the needy, together we all become recipients of greater blessings, not only in the temporal aspect, but also in things pertaining to our spirituality, including our final and eternal dwelling with God.
This paradox begins with the two “great commandments:”
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.—Matthew 22:37-39
In this same vein, a Book of Mormon prophet, Jacob, taught his people the following, beautifully tying in how the treasures of the earth are meant contribute to fulfilling the great commandments:
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.
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 2:17-19
King Benjamin, another Book of Mormon prophet and king expounds upon this further in his final words to his beloved people:
And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love of God, and always retain a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
And ye will not have a mind to injure one another, but to live peaceably, and to render to every man according to that which is his due.
And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.
But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.
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.
For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.
And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.
And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.
And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. —Mosiah 4:12-26
We can find various instances in the scriptures where this paradox or principle was put into practice. I invite you to pay particular attention to the outcome:
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. —Acts 2:44-47
And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them. —Moses 7:18
This, my friends, is pure economics. It is also known as the divine law of consecration, established by God. How interesting it is that as we unitedly seek to build God’s kingdom in this way, and make all that is ordained and sactified by God our treasure here on earth, we defy greed, we defy selfishness, we defy pride, we defy and conquer the Evil One. And we all prosper in all things to the point that there are no poor among us.
Let us learn throughout our lives to live this law, and “see that all these things are done in wisdom and order,” (Mosiah 4:27). May we find the courage and will to make truth our treasure, and thus setting our hearts on that which will never fail, is my humble hope and prayer.