GCBC Week 21: “The Lord’s Richest Blessings” by Elder Carl B. Pratt

As I looked over this talk again, I quickly remembered the great story he told about the bag of coins.  It’s worth studying one more time:

“The Lord’s Richest Blessings”

by Elder Carl B. Pratt

Of the Seventy

I love to pay my tithing because I need to pay my tithing.  With many years of schooling between Matt and I, there have been many (and will still be many) years of financial instability.  I love to write that check and turn it into the bishop because I don’t even want to know what would happen to our budget without paying off that debt to the Lord.  And though I can testify that our monetary needs have often been miraculously okay thanks to tithing, in my heart I also know that this is true:

He fulfills His promises, and if we faithfully pay our tithing, we will not lack for the necessities of life, but He does not promise wealth. Money and bank accounts are not His richest blessings. . . . I have come to understand that the Lord’s richest blessings are spiritual, and they often have to do with family, friends, and the gospel.

What stands out to you as you study this talk?  I would love to hear some of your experiences and testimony related to tithing.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you’re new to GCBC, go here to learn more about it, then join us!

Faith in times of finance.

Does anyone else start to lose their mind when finances become precarious?

We have been bit hit with some unexpected, huge expenses that have extended beyond the limits of our savings account, and I have become paranoid. I’ve always tried to be a careful spender, but now I’m so tight-fisted, it hurts.

I was running errands yesterday and my mind was doing a number on me. I worried how this is all going to fix itself. On Monday night, I watched an old BYU devotional by Elder Holland that I had recorded: “Remember Lot’s Wife.” (It’s great, by the way.) Among many other really cool things, he said,

“… When we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future ‐‐ faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives.  So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she had.”

So, in my van, I thought to myself, Is it possible to have faith about this? To believe it will all work out just fine, even when the money is simply not there to back up that kind of faith? I believe in God, and I know He has carried me through many other difficult situations, so why not this one? This is new territory for me, and I’m hoping that it’s just a chance for God to prove himself to me again, in a new way.

Can somebody reassure me that faith can work in ways of the wallet?

Just say no.

I just read this article.  Don’t waste your time on the link, really.  It’s basically about a group that is suing McDonald’s for using toys in their Happy Meals that lure kids in like little marketing drugs.  According to one intelligent group spokesman, it’s almost like having a salesman come door-to-door trying to sell products to your children.

Um, sure it is.  Except that it isn’t at all, since McDonald’s isn’t in your home nor does it visit there.

My favorite part was this claim he made:

“At some point parents get worn down,” Jacobson says. “They don’t always want to be saying no to their children. We feel like an awful lot of parents would be relieved if this one pressure was removed from them.”

Wow. Isn’t it a parent’s job to say no?  A lot?

I am not trying to make any statements about fast food, childhood obesity, or even about the level of stupid some lawsuits have reached; however, Continue reading

Budgets and other things that make me want to throw bricks

Goals are good things because they help you measure success.  They also help you measure failure.

I logged onto my bank account this weekend and I saw that I had earned $4.12 interest in my savings account.

For the entire year of 2009.

*banging head on computer desk*

We have maintained a very strict budget for several years.  In fact, it’s so tight, it’s almost impossible to comply with, but the striving for it keeps us much closer to our goals.  If I could only list the many areas in which I feel we have measured great restraint (would you like to see my wardrobe? or our dinner menus the last week of the month?), and yet . . .

Sigh.

The good news is, we’ve managed to steer clear of consumer debt (and pay off any minor lapses in judgment before falling prey to interest and fees) and always pay our bills.

The bad news is . . . well, we’re not rich.  And I’m ticked.

I just wrote that because that’s how I feel sometimes, and writing it out makes me realize how stupid it is.  My version of “rich” is this:  to have money piled up in savings so whenever I really want to buy something (or travel somewhere— that’s usually the big one for me), there are funds just sitting there waiting to be used.  And I’m not kidding when I say that there are about eleventy-billion times that I have wished I could anonymously help someone out or bless someone’s life with money.  I would love to be some secret benefactress and go about stealthily doing good while still living the most normal lifestyle and never being suspected.  Is that weird?

Anyway, money stuff makes me crazy.  Not because things are horrible (Good heavens, we’re blessed!),  but because it seems so HARD to get to that place where you feel “ahead.” And the fact that Matt’s law school student loan payments start kicking in this month pretty much seals the fate on $4.12 interest for a few more years to come.

So maybe I should change my focus to the fact that we are lucky to have all we do have and we are able to pay our bills.  Maybe I should realize that sticking to our budget has prevented us from a lot of pain and worst-case scenarios rather than squelching all my dreams.  Maybe I just need to take a deep breath and eat a Toblerone.  :)

This is a dumb post.  It doesn’t even really have a point or ask any specific questions.  But I already spent too much time typing it, so it stays.  And I’m not a bitter or unhappy person, I promise.  I just kind of unleash a little monster inside of myself when I start thinking about budgets.

The end.

p.s.  Your response to my post for book requests ROCKED.  Man, what are all you educated people doing reading my blog when you have so many books on hand?!  I am so excited to add them to my request list at the library and get reading.  I shall probably finish your recommendations in the Spring of 2017.

General Conference Book Club Week 12: Elder Hales

dnews halescesfiresideThis week’s talk is the first talk that was given in April 2009 Conference.  Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about relying on the Lord and taking steps to overcome any addictions, excesses, or patterns that can harm our spirits and our relationships.  This was a great talk, and oh, so timely.

>> Click here to read “Becoming Provident Providers Both Temporally and Spiritually” by Elder Robert D. Hales<<

This talk was the topic of our Relief Society lesson at Church today.  Most of the talk appears to focus on finances and staying out of debt and such, but our teacher did an excellent job of encouraging us to look at all of that counsel and figure out what the spiritual application is.  The title, after all, suggests that message is there.

I think so many of us have some kind of addiction or excess that keeps us from greater success and happiness, even if it is negative patterns of thought or mood, so I loved reading the article in that light and realizing that we have been given tools to overcome those challenges.  Great article.  I’m anxious to hear your thoughts as well.

If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it. You’re welcome to join us at any point along the way, and we’d love to welcome back many of you that we haven’t heard from in a while.