Similar to the Book of Enos, the Book of Jarom is also only a single chapter as Jarom, the son of Enos, continues the Nephite record. Jarom records that during his lifetime the Nephite people “became exceeding rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things” (verse 8) in accordance with the word of the Lord which had said, “Inasmuch as ye will keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land” (verse 9).
If you read the entire Book of Mormon, you find that there are many occasions when the Nephite people become prosperous as a result of keeping the commandments of God. However, on almost all of these occasions, what follows the period of prosperity is an attitude of pride such that the Nephites drift away from God and are no longer prosperous in the land. Eventually, they get themselves right with God and become prosperous again, only to be lifted up in pride again, turning away from God again. The cycle repeats itself over and over again.
Perhaps some might say they wish that prosperity could be associated with serving God for all of us today. I can hear such people assuring the Lord that they wouldn’t become prideful if they became wealthy; they wouldn’t drift away from God or stop keeping His commandments. This in spite of the example of the Nephites and in spite of the words of Jesus regarding how difficult it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
What does it mean to be “rich”? According to one dictionary definition, being rich means “having more than enough to gratify normal needs or desires.” Looking at it this way, being rich is not an absolute term but a relative one. If what you have exceeds what you need or want, then you are rich. Consider these two scenarios:
- Person 1 earns a million dollars per year. He lives in an expensive home, drives expensive cars, etc. It costs him well over a million dollars per year to maintain this lifestyle. And he would really like to eventually move into an even larger home. Each year, he is further and further in debt, but he hopes to find a way to earn more money to cover his expenses.
- Person 2 earns $60,000 per year. His modest house is paid off, and he drives a used car. His expenses are about $30,000 per year. He is content with what he has and uses some of his excess income to donate to the church and other worthy causes. He has enough money and available time to enjoy his life.
Which is the rich man?
If we compare our personal level of wealth with our own desire for natural possessions, and we find the wealth lagging behind our desires, then we have two basic options: increase our wealth to meet or exceed our desires or adjust our desires such that we can be truly content with what we have. Which option is more consistent with what the Word of God teaches? Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (the passage that says the love of money is the root of all evil). The first of these verses reads, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Saying it another way, to be godly and content with what we have is to be exceedingly rich!
Of course, there is a minimum level that we require in this life (what we truly “need”). However, as Jesus stated about food, drink, and clothing, “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:32-33).
Limiting our desire for natural gain and being content with what God provides for us — these are the steps to being exceedingly rich in this life. Seeking first the kingdom of God and storing treasures in heaven rather than on earth — these are the steps to being exceedingly rich for all eternity.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.