Conference talk – living providently

So it’s conference talk time yet again! I find it interesting that, if you don’t count the auditing and statistical reports, and not counting the Sat. evening Priesthood session which I attended in person (well “in person”), there are exactly 26 talks! Just enough to read one every week till next conference.

This week’s talk was from Robert D. Hales (plays the piano) – called Becoming Provident Providers: Temporally and Spiritually. A subject near and dear to my heart. I found it very interesting, especially the examples that he gave about buying gifts for people (his wife in his examples).

The first lesson was learned when we were newly married and had very little money. I was in the air force, and we had missed Christmas together. I was on assignment overseas. When I got home, I saw a beautiful dress in a store window and suggested to my wife that if she liked it, we would buy it. Mary went into the dressing room of the store. After a moment the salesclerk came out, brushed by me, and returned the dress to its place in the store window. As we left the store, I asked, “What happened?” She replied, “It was a beautiful dress, but we can’t afford it!” Those words went straight to my heart. I have learned that the three most loving words are “I love you,” and the four most caring words for those we love are “We can’t afford it.”

Then she taught me an unforgettable lesson. She looked me in the eyes and sweetly asked, “Are you buying this for me or for you?” In other words, she was asking, “Is the purpose of this gift to show your love for me or to show me that you are a good provider or to prove something to the world?” I pondered her question and realized I was thinking less about her and our family and more about me.

It amazes me the insane amount of gifts and expensive birthday parties that people give for their kids. I mean, as I have stated before, I have a “unique” relationship with money, but I think that my son was very excited and happy with the $1 “Coin Grabber” that I got him for his birthday. Last night, he was very excited when I brought him home a map of Ohio and one of Cincinnati that I got for free from AAA and spent some time pointing out the various roads and our house, and the counties (start ‘em young! :) ). Kids, for the most part, do not want expensive toys. They want you to spend time with them

Some more quotes from the article:

Our world is fraught with feelings of entitlement. Some of us feel embarrassed, ashamed, less worthwhile if our family does not have everything the neighbors have. As a result, we go into debt to buy things we can’t afford—and things we do not really need. Whenever we do this, we become poor temporally and spiritually. We give away some of our precious, priceless agency and put ourselves in self-imposed servitude.

When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”

Whenever we want to experience or possess something that will impact us and our resources, we may want to ask ourselves, “Is the benefit temporary, or will it have eternal value and significance?” Truthfully answering these questions may help us avoid excessive debt and other addictive behavior.

Elder Hales made some interesting comments about how buying things we don’t need or can’t afford really goes against the commandment of “Thou shall not covet” and how it robs us spiritually as well as temporally.

All in all a very good read, especially in the crazy economic times we’re in!

Possibly Related posts:

  1. Conference talk – Respect and Reverence This week’s talk is called “Respect and Reverence“, by Margaret Lifferth, who is in the Primary General Presidency. Just as a note, I don’t put a blog post each week when I read talks (though maybe I should!) But sometimes I don’t feel like anything jumped out at me. It’s not like the talk was [...]...
  2. Conference talk – To Acquire Spiritual Guidance So, I’m back in the saddle of reading conference talks. Today was my first one reading the new conference that just happened earlier this month. But since I missed Priesthood session, I have the whole list to do, which is 34 talks, so I will have to double up to get them done by April. [...]...
  3. General Conference talk – Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship So in my continuing series of reading GC talks, I read one from Robert D. Hales (from Idaho!) – Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship One of the things I liked about this talk was his talking about the perils in leaving “the high ground”. A lot of his talk focused on how to react [...]...
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  5. General Conference talks So one of the things I’ve been doing since last General Conference is reading the talks, one at a time. Someone in EQ suggested that if you read one per week you get through them in time to start over for the next conference (in 6 months time). Turns out that there are actually 33 [...]...

Comments (6) left to “Conference talk – living providently”

  1. annahannah wrote:

    Hey, did the sons of Ammon update their video??? Email me. Funny, Scott sounds just like his dad. Remember when I’d hand you the map and tell me how to get to grandma’s?? I still like the stearns, schady, usher route. A different way each time.

  2. amy wrote:

    I enjoyed this talk too, I like your idea of reading 1 talk a week until next conference!

  3. Dan Miller wrote:

    Yeah I’ve been doing it just since the past conference but it’s worked out well for me – next week is Sister Liffert if you want to follow along!

  4. Carolyn wrote:

    Thanks for sharing this Dan. And thank you for keeping our family so frugal.

  5. Rachelle wrote:

    That was one of our favorite talks this last Conference! Thanks for sharing the salient points. We need to get back on the ball again and read a talk every Sunday. :-) Thanks!

  6. Doug wrote:

    Totally agree with your point about kids preferring time to expensive toys! I heard in a commentary once that kids spell “l-o-v-e” as “t-i-m-e”. Trite but true. And yeah, the phrase “I can’t afford it” has a beautiful ring to it, probably because it’s become so rare.

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