During my scripture study yesterday a specific phrase caught my attention. I was reading in The Book of Mormon about the people who lived on the American Continent called Nephites, and how they had become extremely wicked so the Lord cursed them with a great famine.

The famine lasted for a few years and the more wicked part of the people were destroyed. Upon seeing that they were about to be destroyed the rest of the people sufficiently humbled themselves, and the Lord removed the curse and sent rain upon the land.

Once again the people were blessed with prosperity:
"And thus it did come to pass that the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to build up their waste places, and began to multiply and spread..." (Helaman 11:20, italics added).
While reading this verse the phrase, "and began to build up their waste places," caught my attention. Usually in the scriptures the word "waste" is used to describe destruction, that something has been "laid waste" and desolate, but this verse was after the famine was over and the people were prospering.

Whenever a people have great prosperity there is always great waste, meaning a people in need are very careful with what they use and what they throw away, but those who have more than they need- having many wants- are more careless and easily toss away that which others would find of use and value. This tendency of the rich "to build up their waste places" is obvious when you view the rich nations of the world.

I don't know if this is what the phrase was supposed to mean but it got me thinking.

One sign of humility, both in temporal and spiritual ways, is by how carefully a person uses that which they have. Do they express gratitude to the Lord for what they have or do they take it for granted and toss it aside without a second thought?

In what ways do you see great waste when there is great prosperity? How can we become humble and show thanksgiving to God?
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