Happiness Is the Greatest of All Riches

Twitter

(This is an excerpt from the chapter "God's Eternal Plan" in the book Our Search for Happiness.)

In 1969 I traveled to Mexico with three business associates. All three were outstanding businessmen, and each had amassed a considerable fortune; in fact, one was widely reported to be one of the richest men in the entire world. The four of us sat together in the lavish executive compartment of a private jet—a billionaire, two millionaires.

And me.

As we flew to Mexico these three wealthy executives discussed multimillion dollar business deals like other people discuss last night's ball game or recent movies they've seen. To tell you the truth, I was intimidated—especially when the billionaire turned to me and asked, "So tell me, Ballard, what exactly is it that you do?"

"After listening to the three of you talk," I said, "I guess I don't do very much at all."

They chuckled at my comment. But none of them seemed to disagree with my assessment of the situation.

As our conversation continued, however, it became clear that, although these were men of good will who had done many good things in the world with their wealth, the most important thing in life to the billionaire was to accumulate more and more money, which appeared to be the source of his power and prestige. Wealth seemed to be what made him happy and proud. As far as I could tell, it was his passion, his obsession, his very reason for being. As he discussed his international financial empire and impressive array of worldly possessions, I sensed that beneath that collection of materialism was a foundation of unhappiness that comes from spiritual deprivation. The billionaire did not speak joyfully of family or friends. He seemed not to know much of real peace or contentment. The gospel of Jesus Christ was not part of his life. In a contemplative moment he said to me, "I'm not sure there is such a thing as life after one dies. But if there is, I wonder if any of this will matter much."

Obviously, neither option—death as the ultimate end of existence or life beyond the grave without worldly acclaim or accumulation—gave him much comfort.

When I returned home a couple of days later my wife, Barbara, met me at the airport and we returned to our comfortable home in Salt Lake City. When she asked me how I had enjoyed my sampling of life in the fastest of all financial fast lanes, I could only sigh and respond, "Honey, we may not have much money or the other things that some people think are so important. But I have a feeling that of the four men on that plane, I was the happiest and, in a way, the richest. I have blessings that money simply cannot buy. And I have the satisfaction of knowing that the things that are most important to me—you, our family, and my love of God—can endure forever."

I couldn't help but think of the Savior's words to His disciples when He said, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21.)

Twitter

Related Content

The Atonement: The Most Heroic Act of All Time The Atonement: The Most Heroic Act of All Time
In this, the most recent addition to the approved missionary... Read
Our Search for Happiness Our Search for Happiness
In this, the most recent addition to the approved missionary... Read
Addiction: You Will be Freed Addiction: You Will be Freed
Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all can be transformed,... Watch
Properly Functioning Councils Properly Functioning Councils
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
The Role of Women in Church Councils The Role of Women in Church Councils
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
Working Together in Leadership Working Together in Leadership
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
Listening to the Most Important of All the Voices Listening to the Most Important of All the Voices
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
The Bible and the Book of Mormon The Bible and the Book of Mormon
In this, the most recent addition to the approved missionary... Read
Coping with Adversity Coping with Adversity
In this, the most recent addition to the approved missionary... Read
Spiritual Synergism Spiritual Synergism
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
Local Presiding Councils Local Presiding Councils
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
The Articles of Faith The Articles of Faith
In this, the most recent addition to the approved missionary... Read
An Effective Leader Works Step by Step An Effective Leader Works Step by Step
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
An Effective Leader Encourages Free Expression An Effective Leader Encourages Free Expression
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
Priesthood Provides the Power to Do Good Priesthood Provides the Power to Do Good
In this, the most recent addition to the approved missionary... Read
Disciplinary Councils Disciplinary Councils
In this newly revised edition of his classic Counseling with Our... Read
Follow The Doctrine and Gospel of Christ Follow The Doctrine and Gospel of Christ
On Sunday, November 7, Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke at a CES... Watch
Daughters of God Daughters of God

We need to remember that the full commitment of motherhood... Read

Conversations

Fridge Quotes:

Seek by Deseret Book