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Ownership Principles

1. Wealth is not a sign of righteousness. The bestowal of material blessings should not be seen as an indicator of righteousness, nor should we assume that people who struggle financially are somehow unworthy to receive Heavenly Father’s blessings (see Job 1:8-22). The Bible and Book of Mormon provide several examples of people who were blessed in many ways—including material blessings—because of their obedience. The scriptures also tell of many groups of people who sacrificed material wealth in order to be obedient to God’s commands and still other people who became wealthy despite their breaking the commandments of God.

Instead of feeling prideful about our blessings, as if we have earned them, or envious of the blessings we perceive others as receiving, we should strive to develop humility and express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all His wonderful gifts to us. While financial blessings may be a result of righteousness, more often than not the blessings are spiritual. William Jennings Bryan wrote in the book The Prince of Peace, "The human measure of a human life is its income; the divine measure of a life is its outgo, its overflow, its contribution to the welfare of all" (quoted by Rex D. Pinegar, “Become Rich Toward God,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 32).

The best sign of righteousness is not wealth, but how well we follow the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

2. Since God gives us our blessings freely, we should share them freely. God does not bless us with temporal wealth so that we can enjoy the luxuries of the world; He blesses us so that we can learn to govern our stewardships wisely in strengthening our families, in serving others, and in building His kingdom. In Jacob 2: 17–19 the prophet Jacob wrote:

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 afflicted.

Since God gives us blessings freely, we should be willing to share our blessings freely with His other children.

If all our blessings come from God, it logically follows that when we give back to Him in tithes and other offerings, we are only returning to Him things that were His in the first place. The only things that we can truly give the Lord are our will, our mind, and our heart, and God asks for these things. In speaking to the people on the American continent, the resurrected Christ commanded:

And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 9:20).

When we give our will to Him, we are truly giving Him something important to Him: the only thing that is truly ours to give.


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