Abundance Through Jesus Christ
When many people think of an abundant life, they picture nice houses, cars, computers, and other material luxuries. However, these items have a limited ability to add true happiness to life and having an abundance of them does not bring any type of lasting satisfaction.
True abundance is found only in Jesus Christ. This abundance brings joy that lasts not just a lifetime, but an eternity. It can’t be taken from us in an economic downturn or during illness or trials. It is ours if we are willing to accept it and take the necessary steps to obtain it.
Jesus Christ was approached by a wealthy young man who wanted to know how to obtain eternal life. Jesus began to name some of the commandments, but the man stopped Him. He said he had done all those things since childhood and wondered if there was more to it than just that. Jesus said that if he really wanted eternal life, he should give all his worldly goods to the poor and follow Jesus. This the man was not willing to do and he went away sadly. His possessions meant more to him than eternal life.
Many people today build their eternities on a shallow platform of things that end when life ends. Then when they reach eternity they have nothing at all—no foundation of faith, sacrifice, love, or obedience. They may think they are having a great life, but this life is such a short period of time in the eternal scheme of things. If we are willing to make some sacrifices in this life, eternity will be filled with an abundance of the things that truly matter.
Mormons are taught that certain things have eternal significance and should be the focus of our mortal life. These things can give us abundance in Jesus Christ because they are Christ-centered choices.
The gift of a family is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. We are each given a family at birth, but later, many of us also have the opportunity to choose a family, or at least a spouse. It is our responsibility to choose wisely and then to make our families, those we choose and those we are given, a priority in our lives. Friends, jobs, and hobbies are fun and important, but none have the eternal significance of a family. Mormons believe God planned for families to be forever, meaning they need not end at death. We can have the people we love most with us forever. This is one of the things made possible by the atonement of Jesus Christ because He made it possible for us to repent of our sins, return home to God, and to live forever.
Mormons are sometimes known for their many commandments. They do not find these commandments to be a burden, though, because they came from God and Jesus Christ. Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15). For Mormons, obeying the commandments is a way to show Jesus Christ how much we love Him. We know they are given to keep us safe, both in mortality and in eternal life. They help us discover the full measure of abundance in Jesus Christ as we see how much better life is when we do the things we are asked to do.
The atonement gives life its meaning and purpose. Without it, the trials of life would seem meaningless. Knowing we are here for a reason helps us develop a life of purpose and knowing we can be forgiven of our sins gives us the hope we need to get through challenging times. Without the atonement of Jesus Christ, we could not return to God because we could not live a perfect life. When Jesus Christ took on our sins in Gethsemane, He suffered terribly for each one, but He made it possible for us to be forgiven of our sins. His choice balanced mercy and justice.
Gordon B. Hinckley, past president and prophet of the Mormons, said:
“He lives, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind, whose Atonement came as an act of grace for the entire world. … He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. He has brought meaning to our mortal existence. He has given us the gift of eternal life. … God be thanked for the gift of His Son, the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of mankind, the Prince of Life and Peace, the Holy One” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Testimony of the Son of God,” Ensign, Dec 2002, 2–5)
Abundance in Jesus Christ means to always focus on gathering the riches of eternity and not the riches of mortality. Thomas. S. Monson, the Mormon prophet, told the following story:
“I recently visited with a woman who has been battling a life-threatening disease for over two years. She indicated that prior to her illness, her days were filled with activities such as cleaning her house to perfection and filling it with beautiful furnishings. She visited her hairdresser twice a week and spent money and time each month adding to her wardrobe. Her grandchildren were invited to visit infrequently, for she was always concerned that what she considered her precious possessions might be broken or otherwise ruined by tiny and careless hands.
And then she received the shocking news that her mortal life was in jeopardy and that she might have very limited time left here. She said that at the moment she heard the doctor’s diagnosis, she knew immediately that she would spend whatever time she had remaining with her family and friends and with the gospel at the center of her life, for these represented what was most precious to her” (Thomas S. Monson, The Race of Life, April 2012).
When we turn our priorities in the direction of Heaven, we can experience the full measure of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice and God’s perfect love for us. The things of the world will seem insignificant when viewed from an eternal perspective.