46 … [The messenger] added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father’s family), to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building his kingdom …
59 … the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.
Thinking this morning about our motivations for why we do what we do and who really provides for our needs.
We live in a temporal world with temporal needs. We have to have money to survive. It’s a fact of mortality. We have to go to work. We have to earn a living to provide for the basics to survive. No one, no matter how righteous, can exist in this temporal world without fulfilling temporal needs.
However, the adversary twists that need with greed, selfishness, and (what I think is infinitely more dangerous) a false impression that providing for those temporal needs is about us and up to us.
Don’t get me wrong. We have to work. “By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Moses 4:25). But we are not the providers. God is. We just work because that’s our part. He takes care of us because that’s His.
When young Joseph Smith was being instructed about the plates he would translate, the angel Moroni warned him that he would be tempted to use the plates for money to provide for the needs of the family he loved and wanted to care for. Not for riches or fame. Just for the things his poor family needed to survive. But he warned, “Don’t do it. Focus on the glory of God and building His kingdom, and everything else will be taken care of.”
Later, Moroni warned, “Once you get these plates, all hell will come down on you. But IF you just do the best you can to protect them, that will be enough. God will make sure nothing happens to them until He collects them again.”
Joseph alone could not have kept them safe. But God said, “I will be able to see your efforts. If you work hard, don’t neglect your responsibility, and trust me, I’ll be the one to take care of them.”
This is how God works in our life. We have to have our temporal needs met. God knows this. It’s part of this temporal plan. He expects us to work hard. But He is the provider.
He takes care of us when we put His kingdom first, don’t get caught up in the temporal (temporary) needs, and do our part. He is willing and anxious to bless us, both spiritually and temporally. But we have to have the right motivation, the right understanding of the source of the blessings, and the right use of the blessings we’ve been given.