"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
October 31, 2012
Choosing Abundance
by Kathryn Grant

As a young woman, Catherine dreamed of attending college. Although money was tight, she applied and was accepted to the school she most wanted to attend. But as the time grew closer the lack of finances loomed larger until one night her mother found her lying face down across her bed, sobbing in despair.

Quietly her mother said, “You and I are going to deal with this right now.” She led Catherine to the guest bedroom, where they knelt beside the old-fashioned bed. “Catherine, I know it’s right for you to go to college. Every problem has a solution. Let’s ask God to tell us how to bring this dream to reality.” They prayed together and Catherine somehow felt this moment had eternal significance — not just for school, but for her faith in God.

Several weeks later, a letter arrived. When Catherine’s mother opened it, she exclaimed, “Here it is! Here’s the answer to our prayers.” The letter contained an offer for her to write a county history. With what Catherine had already saved, her mother’s salary would be more than enough to cover her college expenses.

This was not the first time Catherine’s mother had turned to the Lord with a need. She had grown up in poverty and had learned at a young age that she either needed to “settle down to lack” or put her trust in God as a God of abundance. She chose to trust God’s abundance. Her experience with God over the years gave her “supreme confidence that He would always provide out of his limitless supply.”1

These and other experiences convinced Catherine that often we are the ones who put limits on what the Lord is willing to do for us. We might do so from lack of knowledge, or even a determination to “do it ourselves.” How can we get past those limits and receive the spiritual and temporal abundance the Lord promises to those who trust him? Catherine discovered three simple keys in the scriptures2:

  • Seek the kingdom of God first, with faith that the things you need will be “added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33.)
  • Take your eyes off your own need and put them on God’s abundance and generosity. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof,” wrote the Psalmist (Psalm 24:1.) And Paul reminded the Philippians, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philppians 4:19.) In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul described God as “him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20.)
  • Find ways to give to others. Pay a faithful tithe. “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38.)

Do you have a need that God can supply? A worthy goal like a mission, education, or a desire to bless someone else’s life? Jesus came that we “might have life, and that [we] might have it more abundantly.” Yet most of us would probably agree that we’re not fully enjoying this abundant life.

If that applies to you, just for a day, try actively seeking God’s abundance. How does this change things for you?

1Catherine Marshall, Meeting God at Every Turn, pp. 44 – 46.

2Catherine Marshall, Something More, chapter 11 (“The King’s Treasury”).

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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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