For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.
And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
But it must needs be done in mine own way….
For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.Doctrine and Covenants, 104:13-17
I love these verses, for a few reasons. They set out the Lord’s way, and it is so good. So comforting, and excellent, fair, and complete. They demonstrate how logical and balanced the universe, including this earth, actually is. It’s all set up perfectly; there are laws we can rely on – and those laws make sense. If men follow them, this way will work for everyone.
So, what do we find here about that way?
All things in this earth were, of course, created by God. It’s all His handiwork. Two things arise from this:
(1) Everything about it belongs to Him. It’s not ours – our role is as stewards, not owners.
(2) He has prepared everything necessary for life to flourish here – plant, animal, and human.
(1) means that there’s a correct way to use whatever it is that we have. Whatever work we’ve done to acquire it, or if we’ve received it through the gift of circumstances, it is still the Lord’s, not ours. As stewards of His gifts, we need to use it in His way – because that’s how it was created to be used.
(2) means that there’s enough – enough for every one and every thing. Enough for us and the animals; enough for me and you. The reason some don’t have enough and others have too much is because the abundance God gives isn’t used in His way.
I love that God makes it so clear that His way is abundance. Scarcity is Satan’s lie. It leads to competitiveness (enmity), fear, and violence. So much of the stress – everyday stress for so many – and conflict in the world comes from this false message of scarcity. It’s so ingrained that while the Lord was teaching His saints in the beginning of this dispensation how to live in a way that shares this abundance correctly, many couldn’t let go of their fear of not having enough, and kept working against it. In the end, they couldn’t do it consistently – and the Church grew, the world changed, and it was no longer practical to live the principles in that way. But there is still abundance, still enough and to spare. The Lord’s way of providing for His people remains the same.
Each person is accountable for their use of the abundance God has prepared for His creatures. How’s your stewardship going? In some ways, I think I’m using mine well – not wanting more than I need and really want, trying to be fair in what I use and how I live on the earth and share this world with others. In other ways, I’m doing poorly – not using my gifts abundantly and fearing scarcity too much; holding things close to me so I don’t lose them, and not reaching for other things – there in God’s abundance – as a result. It’s part of the conundrum of ‘seen’ and ‘unseen’ things: scarcity can appear so much more evident before our eyes, and the abundance can be a lot harder to see, if not impossible. But it’s there, behind the seen things. Everything is prepared, and we really do create our own hell, and that of others. It’s not a foregone conclusion – God said that He has given unto us to be agents unto ourselves. To see and equitably use His abundance; to accept more light and share it, or to ignore it and see the darkness only, and let it smother us and others. God gives good gifts; bread, not stones. “Yea, I prepared all things“; God has “made and prepared for [His] creatures” all “earthly blessings”. Two months before this section, He said, “Behold, this is my will; ask and ye shall receive; but men do not always do my will” (D&C 103:31). (I have an exclamation mark and smiley face after that last phrase, because it’s such an understatement).
May you and I see the unseen things, believe the light, and rejoice in the good gifts that God is pleased to share with us. May we create Zion in our hearts because we believe God that there is enough, and to spare, for all – enough earthly resources, enough opportunity, enough love, enough salvation. May we create it around us, because we use this abundance in God’s way.