Yesterday I was reading my copy of the Summer 2005 Marriott Alumni Magazine*, and came across an article by J. Michael Pinegar, a BYU professor of Finance, entited "The Lord’s Goods." After discussing issues of stewardship and consecration, Pinegar quotes one of his students as follows:
Money is one of God’s tools to help us become like him. [As] with many of God’s tools, Satan manipulates money’s use and tries to bring us down…Money is the power of this world. The priesthood is the power of heaven. [When] we use money how God intends for us to use it, then He will also show us how He intends for us to use the priesthood.
This statement immediately provoked and intrigued me; messages against money and its evils flashed through my mind, from the Scriptures and from the Temple. And yet I find it hard to argue against this student’s claims. All things are God’s tools to help us become like him, in a general sense; although money is a human invention, I can see how its use and management can affect our ability to be in tune with the Spirit and to come closer to God. Its misuse can damn us.
So then let me introduce for discussion this quote, and a couple of hypotheticals that many of you will no doubt find familiar. First, let us assume that you are relatively wealthy, or at least have sufficient cash flow for now. A sibling or other relative makes some poor financial decisions, and lacks the acumen or discipline to keep his or head above water on a going-forward basis. They come to you and request a bailout, or cash to fund their immediate needs. How do you reply?
Second, let us assume that you are relatively poor, and have become unemployed or put into some other situation that immediately threatens your ability to provide for yourself and your family? To whom do you first turn? What do you ask of them?
Third, a question: how much money do you wish you had?
* – It’s not really my magazine. It was sent to our former roommate, but since he didn’t bother to get it forwarded we just kept it. Each page is laden with guilt.