My beloved son James, I have realized that today is Sunday. I am not dead so I have a responsibility to continue with my response to your inquiry. I proceed as follows:
SPIRIT OF CONTENTMENT
With respect to material possessions, I don’t compete with anyone. I am totally satisfied (CONTENT) with basic necessities of life. I live my life. The society does not determine for me what material possessions I should have. My greatest priority in life is not what material possessions I should have but how diligently I am living in obedience to Heavenly Father’s commandments. Period. Heavenly Father defines this prioritization in Doctrine & Covenants 11:20 _Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength._I promise you, my son, that SUCCESS, TRUE and LASTING HAPPINESS/SATISFACTION in life derives from how well I am living in diligent obedience to God’s commandments and not what I possess, e.g. cars, houses, lands etc.
Success in life, happiness/satisfaction measured/derived from our earthly possessions is TRANSIENT, FLEETING and MOMENTARY. This is what usually afflicts us with the evil spirit of greed and make us susceptible toPONZI schemes, due to our desire to want more of material things.
We necessarily ought to have an attitude of the spirit of gratitude for basic necessities of life, in order to have the Spirit of Contentment. I have had to desire this gift in order not to be afflicted with the temptation to crave for ‘WANTS‘ and more importantly eschew GREED _(wanting more of something than is needed_ ). It is this one evil spirit which makes us blind to reason.The crave for wants or being greedy is one of the most effective weapons Satan uses to (blindfold) prevent us from being rational. When I am afflicted with a crave for want I can justify the need to own anything, including having a personal jet for use from Dansoman SSNIT Flats to church at Sakaman (thirty minutes walking distance), simply because I have the money to buy.
My son, When it comes to greed we are usually in self-denial. But check this dictionary meaning: a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed. The operative phrase serving our purpose is “than is needed “
Being rational or having the capacity to think clearly is critical to uncovering lies, deceit, fraud, scams etc. and eschew greed. Having the spirit of contentment requires that we are satisfied with the basic necessities of life (NEEDS).
The determination of basic needs can be highly subjective. TRUTHFULNESS/INTEGRITY OF HEART is required, otherwise, we will very often be able to justify why we need more of anything we want and therefore disregard Heavenly Father’s counsel. We read in Jacob 3:10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, …. in… all his works.
Personally, food, shelter, clothes, health, education, and transportation are my basic needs. I want you to note that my basic needs standards are not according to what the society’s expectations of me is. Just a few examples. For me, my basic accommodation need might not necessarily be one that I own. It might be rented or even ‘perching’, or simply somewhere to lay my head.
My transportation need might not necessarily be owning a car, but that I am able to find money for ‘tro-tro’ where applicable. My beloved son, I probably need to let you know this if you already don’t. In order to fulfill my calling as a High Councillor in the 1990’s, I used to walk from Dansoman SSNIT Flats to the Tesano or Osu Wards. With this, I am sure you will now understand why I will be full of gratitude to Heavenly Father for ‘tro-tro’ fare.
My gratitude for food need is not necessarily for sumptuous meals, but being able to have at least one cob of roasted corn as my meal for the whole day. I believe you know this side of the stories too. My gratitude for health needs is for the simple fact that I have life. My gratitude for educational needs is for being able to read the scriptures.
For clothing, I am not talking about designer clothes but something adequate to cover my body.I hope you have noted that I keep using the word ‘needs’. Very often our primary desire/objective to have more money is not necessarily to meet our basic needs or to help with Heavenly Father’s work but for our personal gratification. In other words, to satisfy our wants. Jacob 2:19 reads : And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted . As I contribute my honest tithes and offerings to help in his work, Heavenly Father showers me with an abundance of satisfaction and gratitude for basic necessities of life.
I need to point out that the Spirit of Contentment is not about being satisfied with mediocrity. I crave for excellence not wants. Check this meaning of CONTENT : pleased and satisfied: not needing more
I will be one of the greatest hypocrites if I give you the impression that I don’t want more money. I do, but through very long, hard work and genuine means. What I want you to know is that, for me, money or earthly possessions is not everything. It is not a do or die affair.
It may interest you to know that on the 25th of September 2018 I declined (in consultation with my family) a managerial job offer from the US. Of course, the job location is in Ghana. Depending on how we handle our finances we would not have to work ourselves to death. We ought to be able to reach a point where money works for us so that we can have the luxury of turning down job offers in our retirement.
In conclusion my beloved son James, truthfulness and satisfaction with basic needs are among attitudes that have been instrumental in helping me keep greed, fraudulent financial schemes at bay. In my next and final piece to you, I will provide a general discussion on the application of certain spiritual gifts such as the Spirits of Wisdom, Knowledge Discernment, and Prophecy in investments.