LDS Business College Devotional
June 7, 2011
“I invite you to think about what you might want to accomplish this summer.
What you want your outcomes to be.
I invite you to make a list of what you want to do before the summer is
over. If you can’t think of things you
want to include on your list, here are 15 ideas you might consider. Consider it sort of a potential “bucket list”
for the next 12 weeks. Most importantly,
these ideas can trigger your own personally tailored list of outcomes.”
Fifteen Ideas for Summer:
to the Temple more often.
It is a refuge from the summer
storms. If you can’t go in, go touch it, sit by it, stare at it…feel the spirit
of it. Do what you have to do to qualify
time to be still. Unplug. Take those ear buds out; turn the volume down
in your life. Learn to listen to the
voice within you and the song of your own soul.
There is good doctrine in the hymn “How
Great Thou Art” – when the lyrics state, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God
to thee. How great thou art, how great
thou art.” When was the last time you
listened to the song of your own soul?
a new friend. You have been put into a
human orbit to touch people only you can touch and lift.
something for someone when it is not convenient for you to do it – it will
bring you joy; you will be on the Lord’s errand and therefore entitled to His
a grudge, bury the hatchet, mend a broken relationship. Life is too short to be angry at anyone. Most of the time the only person it hurts is
you. It cankers your soul.
a long and slow walk. Ponder the majesty
of creation and your position in it. Be
grateful – truly grateful for life no matter what the current challenges may
a hymn like you mean it. A song of the
righteous is a prayer unto God. It can
change your attitude and perspective.
That is why we sing in church before we pray. When was the last time you took time to
really read the lyrics?
a gospel topic and study it. I mean
really study it. Study it in such a way that you discover new principles and
how they apply to your life. Write down
what you learn. It demonstrates to the
Lord that you can be trusted with personal revelation.
writing in your journal again. It has
been too long since you were caught up.
The act of pondering and writing can bring personal insight and sometimes
the Book of Mormon again. Don’t skip the
Isaiah Chapters. The Lord quoted Isaiah
more than any other prophet. There must
be something to it.
up one of your favorite sins. Get a
priesthood blessing to help if you need it. There is nothing heavier than the
weight of sin. To waste is a sin – all
sin is a waste. Don’t waste any more
time with the consequence of a former mistake when the Savior’s Atonement is
waiting to be applied. Drop your pride,
see your bishop.
yield to a small, seemingly insignificant temptation – You never know who is
watching and what the unintended consequence might be.
for the summer, because making a longer commitment might be too scary, live
after the “manner of happiness.” Read 2 Nephi 5: 6-10 to find the five ways for
yourself. It will be more meaningful to work and dig them out for
yourself. That way you will treasure
- Follow an impression and keep your heart open.
time to know the dealings of God in your life
We focus a lot at the
College on outcomes. Course outcomes in
your syllabi. Program outcomes. Like Jacob in the Book of Mormon we have
great faith in you and anxious regard and concern regarding what should happen
in your lives while you are here at the College. That is an outcome. We feel like Mormon when he wrote: “I do not
know all things but the Lord knoweth all things, which are to come, wherefore,
he worketh in [us] to do according to his will” (Words of Mormon 7).
of Heaven, or Celestial Economics
By President J. Lawrence Richards
Prior to coming to the college almost 10 years ago, I had a
career in banking. So when joining the
faculty, I was assigned to teach a number of courses including micro and macro economics. Those subjects may sound boring to some, but
to me they are important blocks in the foundation of any successful
society. In addition, they are a way of
understanding the secular world we live in and of forecasting the impact of
legislative policy in a free market. It
was a way of viewing and constructing a very complex world.
Concepts and principles such as supply and demand, the elasticity
of demand, barriers to market entry, and the ultimate reality of all issues of
consumption—the ever-worthy law of diminishing marginal utility, would get me
excited about getting students excited.
My goal was to help my students see things they had not seen before,
understand the consequences of decisions they had not considered, and value
things they thought did not matter.
I knew I had achieved my goal when a student wrote me a note
in frustration and said, “You have ruined by ability to read just the sports
page of the paper. I not only read the
national news but the business section as well.
And I understand it. You have
ruined my naiveté…thanks a lot!”
Now, 10 years later I have come to appreciate another view
of economics. Another way of
constructing my understanding of more a more important concepts—the workings of
Elder Bednar suggests that when we see what the world is
doing or suggesting, look in the opposite direction, as it often gives a clue
of what heaven wants done. This is a
foundational principle in the economy of heaven. For example:
A good portion of the world suggests that the accumulation of
possessions, influence and power is the goal of education, work and
relationships. Once accumulated, then we
seek to do good in the world to give back a portion of what we have gained. The principles governing the economy of
heaven suggest that we seek first the kingdom of God and then riches because we
will use those riches to do good.
The economy of heaven suggests that we give of
our accumulation even in our poverty. We
call it tithing.
In the economy of heaven, success is not to have or hoard power,
influence, or control but to lose yourself in the service of others, lifting
and empowering them.
Contrasted to the temporal economies, the economy of heaven
has a very different approach to the concept of social welfare. Listen to the
words of President Ezra Taft Benson: “The Lord works from the inside out,” he
instructs. “The world works from the outside in. The world would take people
out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out
of the slums. The world would mold men by changing
their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The
world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”
The world’s economy thrives on the accumulation of free
capital that can be stored as wealth and used to buy goods and services,
invest, and leverage. But the economy of
heaven suggests that we store up our treasures in heaven where moth and rust
doth not corrupt.
One grounding principle of secular economics is
scarcity. That is, we have limited
resources of time, talent, and treasure with which to make decisions about
life, what we will do. Therefore, there
will always be those who seek the accumulation of time, talent, and treasure
for their own purposes and comfort at the expense of others. Because of this principle, there is secular
wisdom in the saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But to the rich
man, the Savior invited him to sell all he had, take up the cross and follow
contrast to the principle of scarcity, the economy of heaven is built upon the
principle of abundance. For all who will
may come unto Christ and be joint heirs in all the Father has. Listen to the words of the Savior: “Yea,
verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye
shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and
whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed
are those who come unto me.”
“But to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons; and even so
will I give unto as many as will receive me, power
to become my sons.”
“And he that receiveth my
Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall
be given unto him.”
And now the testimony of
Paul to young Timothy: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day;
and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
The economy of the world works on the principle of spending
to satisfy immediate wants and needs. If
no one spends, the economy grinds to a halt.
The economy of heaven is based upon the principle of deferral. That is, we do not spend that which is
precious in the wrong season of our life to gratify our desires and temporal
wants. “To everything there is a season
and “a time to every purpose under heaven.”
Happy are we if we live and act consistent
with the season we are in. We withhold and abstain now for the greater
blessings and rewards promised by a loving father in heaven. Those blessings include peace, a quiet
conscience and the assurance of the greatest possibilities of eternal life.
This applies to us in very practical ways:
Simply put, it is not in the economy of heaven for the Lord
to send an angel when a priesthood holder or a relief society sister will
do. It was President Monson who
declared: “I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom
Monson will run that errand for Him.”
Here is a true story told by President Monson in the April
1993 General Conference. It is from the
journal of Joseph Millett, an early member of the Church. It illustrates how heaven works and the
blessings that come from fulfilling our callings, including just being there
when the Lord needs us.
“One of my children came
in, said that Brother Newton Hall’s folks were out of bread. Had none that day.
I put … our flour in sack to send up to Brother Hall’s. Just then Brother Hall
came in. Says I, ‘Brother Hall, how are you [fixed] for flour.’ ‘Brother
Millett, we have none.’ ‘Well, Brother Hall, there is some in that sack. I have
divided [it] and was going to send it to you. Your children told mine that you
were out.’ Brother Hall began to cry. Said he had tried others. Could not get
any. Went to the cedars and prayed to the Lord and the Lord told him to go to
Joseph Millett. ‘Well, Brother Hall, you needn’t bring this back if the Lord
sent you for it. You don’t owe me for it.’ You can’t tell how good it made me
feel to know that the Lord knew that there was such a person as Joseph
The Lord is as capable
of planting a temple anywhere at any time as he is to have flour show up on the
doorstep of Newton Hall’s home. It would
be wonderfully efficient and tremendously practical. But he does not work that way. Why?
It is not in the economy of heaven to sacrifice
effectiveness for efficiency. We see in
the life of the Savior so many instances that he ministered to people
one-by-one when it would have been far more efficient to have blessed others in
another way. He touched the rocks
presented by the brother of Jared “one by one.”
Nephi we read that the
Savior took the children and blessed them “one by one.”
All came “one by one” to feel the prints of
the nails in his hands.
On that same occasion he healed the sick one at a time. When you go to the temple to do proxy work,
wouldn’t it be more efficient to take several names through at a time? Certainly, but that is not the economy of
Heaven. The greatest work you will do
for others in your life will be by the process of “one by one.”
Personal growth and godly refinement come from the struggle
and the sacrifice. It is not very efficient, but it is very effective. Paul reminded the Hebrews that though Christ
was the Son of God, “yet learned he obedience by the things he suffered.”
For example, consider the life of John Rowe Moyle, who left
his Utah County home every morning at 2:00 a.m. to walk 22 miles to Salt Lake
to work on the temple. He had an
accident that crushed his leg, and it was amputated. Sitting in bed he carved a wooden leg and
built up his endurance until he could walk to Salt Lake and work on the
temple. It was his hands that carved the
words “Holiness to the Lord” that graces the east side of the temple. Could the
Lord have prevented that accident to Brother Moyle? Certainly.
Could He have saved the leg? No question. How effective might this experience have been
in refining Brother Moyles’ character, faith, and spiritual endurance? Another example.
Consider the task before the Brother of Jared in the
construction of the barges. The Lord
gave him the design and how to solve the air problem. The Brother of Jared was left with the
problem of light. The Lord provided some
practical guidance and then asked him “What will ye that I should do that ye
may have light in your vessels?”
Here we see an example of the grand principle of acting rather than being acted
upon. If the Brother of Jared had
answered “well give me light” he would have “ask[ed] amiss.”
So he went to work. Imagine
how he felt when the best he could do to solve the light problem was to present
Listen to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s
description of that moment and how it is captured in the Book of Ether, Chapter
3. “Things – the brother of Jared hardly knows what to call them. Rocks probably doesn’t sound any more
inspiring . Here, standing next to the
Lord’s magnificent handiwork … these impeccably designed, and marvelously
unique seagoing barges, the brother of Jared offers for his contribution: rocks.
As he eyes the sleek ships the Lord has provided, it is a moment of
Wouldn’t it have been far more efficient for
the Lord to have given him the answer to the light problem? What was it that Heaven wanted to refine in
him? Efficient? No. Effective? Yes.
What was it in the struggle of obtaining the plates that
refined Nephi and prepared him for the work the Lord had for him? What is it that you are to learn from the
elongated tailored tutorials you may be in?
Efficiency is not necessarily in the economy of Heaven. President Packer is fond of reminding us that
“things that grow slowly live longer.”
So it is with you and your character. The trick is to learn what you need to learn
from the experiences you are having. Are
there times when efficiency and expediency are in the economy of heaven? Yes.
There are times when a Liahona may appear outside our tent doors.
Our Loss of Little
Joseph F. Smith, in the “economy of heaven, and in the
wisdom of the Father, who doeth all things well, those who are cut down as
little children are without any responsibility for their taking off, they,
themselves, not having the intelligence and wisdom to take care of themselves
and to understand the laws of life; and, in the wisdom and mercy and economy of
God our Heavenly Father, all that could have been obtained and enjoyed by them
if they had been permitted to live in the flesh will be provided for them
hereafter. They will lose nothing by being taken away from us in this way. …”
In the economy of Heaven, there is charity, justice,
Our Need to Work Out
Our Own Salvation
In the economy of heaven, we all must work out our own
salvation. It cannot be hired out for
someone else to do for us. From the
parable of the 10 virgins, we learn there are no shortcuts, there are no
Brigham Young, “[For a person to be] saved in the celestial
kingdom of God without being prepared to dwell in a pure and holy place, it is
all nonsense and ridiculous; and if there be any who think they can gain the
presence of the Father and the Son by fighting for, instead of living, their
religion, they will be mistaken, consequently the quicker we make up our minds
to live our religion the better it will be for us ... The economy of heaven is
to gather in all, and save everybody who can be saved.”
here is a little sidelight on this issue of following the counsel of the
brethren as we strive to “live after the manner of happiness.”
Elder Henry F. Acebedo shares an insight that
helped him as a new convert to the Church.
When he was in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college, his
commanding officer told the trainees, “Obey first before you complain.”
applies to the following the Honor Code including the dress and grooming
standards. President Packer’s suggestion
is wise counsel when applied to living the gospel and honoring the covenants
you made regarding attending the College.
He advised: “ ‘Don't
knock it till you've tried it’ .... If you haven't tried it yet, you are as yet
no witness on the matter.”
Exercise your faith and put the Lord’s promises to the test
Our Need to Understand and
Receive What Has Been Written
live in a time when the windows of heaven have swung wide open. Perhaps there has never been a time when the
volume of inspired instruction and counsel from living prophets, seers and
revelators has been so available to the world. Never has there been a greater need for the
ability to obtain personal revelation.
But understand this about the economy of heaven. Elder L. Lionel Kendrick pointed out that: “In
the economy of heaven the Lord never uses a
floodlight when a flashlight is sufficient—and so it is in receiving personal
revelation.” Brother David McConkie of the Sunday School Presidency
stated, “It is contrary to the economy of heaven for the Lord to repeat to each
of us individually what he has already revealed to us collectively.”
Ours is the duty to (1) know what God has spoken directly and
what his word is through the counsel of the leaders of His church, (2) to
understand its application to our lives, and (3) then use our agency to act in all
diligence and not be acted upon.
that in the economy of heaven, we do not get answers to all our questions. The development of our agency to act and see
the consequences of our actions is more important than to get all the answers
when we think we need them. We
develop confidence as we learn to move in positive directions and receive a
confirming witness that our actions are pleasing to and consistent with the
mind and will of the Lord.
Our Need to Build Our
the economy of Heaven the more we try to do our best to do the work God has
called us to do and to live more righteously that we might be a better tool in
the hands of God to bless others, the more we have the capacity to do so.
are needed as laborers in the Lord’s vineyard.
Do not discount your capacity to serve and to contribute. In the economy of heaven, experience is not
necessarily a requirement for making a contribution. Elder Russell Taylor of
the Seventy stated, “Remember that it was through the instrumentality of a
young boy in his 15th year that the gospel light was given back to the world. Age confers no inherent advantages in the
kingdom; only righteousness does. You, in your youth, have the selfsame
blessings therefrom. There is much you can do to build the kingdom … Only Satan
would have you underestimate your worth.”
John C. Taggart, former Area Seventy: ““A man
should [not] run faster than he has strength.” We are all bound to honor
our covenants, but all are not asked to carry the same load. The parable of the
talents and the story of the widow’s mite teach that we will not be judged by
our output. Our charge is to magnify
what we are given by the Lord, however large or small it may be. We each
possess different gifts, abilities, and capacities. That we are to use them in
the service of others is King Benjamin’s main message, and it is a persistent
theme throughout the scriptures. There is nothing, however, in the revelations
to suggest that modest results from heartfelt effort are less valued in the economy of heaven than greater or more impressive
results. We are to thrust in our sickle with our might, thereby bringing salvation to our souls.”
And what does it mean to magnify what we have
been given? To simply use those things
to strengthen our faith and resolve, and to build up the Kingdom. Elder Ballard provided this summary that has
application to building our own capacities, “Brothers and sisters, be wise with
your families. Be wise in fulfilling your Church callings. Be wise with your
time. Be wise in balancing all of your responsibilities. O be wise, my beloved
brothers and sisters. What can I say more?”
Our Need to Labor
There is something noble and character-shaping in the doing
the work of the world and the Church. In the world, the longer and harder we
work, the more we are expected to be paid, especially if we are paid by the
hour. But as our responsibilities grow
in the church, the more time we will spend serving, helping, and lifting
others. There is no monetary pay for the
extra hours and the harder work. Even
the welfare program of the Church requires work. Work is character-building, there is
something ennobling about earning our way to self-reliance “by the sweat of
When we understand the economy of heaven and how it often
works in contrast to the economy of man, we are better able to fulfill our
mission in life and understand the purposes of our experiences. This semester, may we learn what we must
know, that we might do what needs to be
done, that we might continue our journey to become what we have already
promised we would become.
See Mosiah 18:8-9; D&C 43:16
Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign,
James 4:3; 2 Nephi 4:35
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Rending the Veil of Unbelief,” in The Voice of My
Servants: Apostolic Messages on Teaching, Learning, and Scripture
Scott C. Esplin and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel (Provo, UT: Religious Studies
Center, Brigham Young University, 2010).
“Some Things Every
Missionary Should Know,” Seminar for New Mission Presidents—
Chapter 15: The Salvation of Little Children, “ Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, (1998)
Chapter 40: Salvation through Christ, “Teachings
of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997)
Henry F. Acebedo, “Parables of Jesus: The Laborers.” Retrieved May 18, 2011 from http://lds.org/liahona/2003/09/parables-of-jesus-the-laborers?lang=eng&query=%22economy+of+heaven%22
Elder Boyd K. Packer, The other side of
the ship. Conference Report, October 1969
, afternoon meeting 36.
“Gospel Learning and Teaching,” Liahona
andEnsign, Nov. 2010, 13
Russell C. Taylor, “Where Would I Be?” New
John C. Taggart, All Things in Wisdom and Order (2010). Retrieved May 18, 2011, from http://lds.org/ensign/2010/08/all-things-in-wisdom-and-order?lang=eng&query=%22economy+of+heaven%22
M. Russell Ballard, “O Be Wise,” Liahona
, Nov. 2006, 20