“In business settings, power has been defined as the resources available to Person A to influence Person B. Influence is a perfectly good thing to strive for. In fact, one way to think about priesthood authority and power is righteous influence in others’ lives (see D&C 121:41). But there are also important differences between what power accomplishes in the world and what it accomplishes in the kingdom of God. In the world, having power generally entails amassing money, goods, knowledge, and authority, and using those things to gain influence, approval, status, or control over other people. The ways power is gained and used in this world can make power seem suspect. Many powerful people aren’t especially trustworthy with power.
By contrast, in the kingdom of God, the purpose of having power, resources, knowledge, and authority is to pass them on, using them to empower others to get power of their own, become more like God, and enter His presence.” (Wendy Ulrich, Live Up To Our Privileges: Women, Power, and Priesthood, pg. 7)
When I read this, a light bulb went off. This makes so much sense to me…especially in relation to what I read in the Book of Mormon this morning…
“And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.
And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.
And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.
O that he would show you that he can pierce you, and with one glance of his eye he can smite you to the dust!
O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination. And, O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands, and let not this pride of your hearts destroy your souls!
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 2:12-19)
Every time that I have read these verses before, I’ve read the word “riches” literally … money.
But this time (with help from David Butler and Emily Belle Freeman), I see it differently. Riches most certainly can be money… but it can also be so much more than that. Riches can be anything that you possess in abundance – resources, skills, tools, talents, knowledge, etc.
So this got me thinking. What am I rich in right now in my life? What do I have an abundance of?
-testimony, commitment, excitement for the Gospel of Jesus Christ
-marriage tools and resources
-vision and perspective
-resources for teaching children
-resources for educating hearts
-ideas for connecting with ancestors and doing family history
-passion and ideas for record keeping
-good and beautiful books
-time management tools (morning routine)
-personal growth resources (Jody Moore, Brooke Snow)
-peacemaking (apologizing, asking for forgiveness, getting back up and trying again)
I know that these riches are gifts from God. He is the source of these riches. They haven’t come to me because of my own efforts alone. It is the Lord who has empowered me with His power. (knowledge, resources, tools, skills, talents… those are power). He has blessed me with these gifts.
I want to be more intentional with sharing my riches with others.
I’ve always liked sharing with others, but before, I kind of thought of it as “well, I don’t want to overshare, or “force” my ideas and resources upon others.” “I don’t want them to feel like I’m just trying to solve their problem or like my way is the only way to do something.” I don’t like giving unsolicited advice (maybe I should clarify, sometimes I like to give unsolicited advice. haha… but I don’t like when it doesn’t seemed to be received well.)
But I feel like seeing these verses in a new way, I can see that Heavenly Father wants me to share my resources. He wants me to help to empower others. … of course they have their agency and don’t have to accept my help (and sometimes it’s just not the right time or right thing for them), but I shouldn’t let my doubts and insecurities keep me from offering and sharing what I have to give.
As the Savior has said, “freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8)