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Spiritual Treasures are of Eternal Value

Elder Jose A. Teixeira
February 27, 2024 11:15 AM

"As His followers, we strive to be like Him and to reflect His love in our lives. Putting Jesus Christ first is a lifelong pursuit, as our eternal life depends on our faith in Him and His Atonement and our obedience to His laws. The many choices we all make each day, including how we spend our time, are critical to our connection with what truly matters most."
Dear brothers and sisters. I am delighted to be here this morning for this devotional and thank the invitation to come and speak at this distinguished institution. I am grateful for the words of sister Teixiera because I do share the same testimony that she does. As we put our own bread in the toaster, I will be able to see the miracle of toast for breakfast. I am certain of that.

In that spirit today, I would like to speak to you from my prepared remarks on matters of spiritual significance. I wanted to talk about spiritual treasures and how they really are of eternal value. 

Some research suggests that different types of thinking can lead to different outcomes, depending on the context and goal. Consider creative thinking, which generates fresh ideas, or analytical thinking, which evaluates and refines existing ideas. 

Critical thinking can help identify and avoid logical fallacies, while concrete thinking can help focus on practical and realistic solutions. Abstract thinking, on the other hand, can help understand complex and abstract concepts, while divergent thinking can help explore multiple possibilities and perspectives. Convergent thinking selects the best option, whereas synthesist thinking integrates information. These types of thinking are not mutually exclusive and can be combined and applied in different situations. 

And then there is celestial thinking, or thinking celestial. “Thinking celestial” is a phrase President Russell M. Nelson used in his October 2023 general conference address to invite us to adopt the practice of being spiritually minded. President Nelson promised that if we think celestial, we will be blessed with peace, joy, and happiness in this life and in the life to come. Reading President Nelson’s inspired counsel over and over caused me to ponder how much celestial thinking is taking place in our daily lives and how is it this kind of thinking refines our understanding and following of Heavenly Father’s plan for us, which is, as President Nelson described, fabulous and eternal.

I am so grateful to know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer is the Son of God, our Savior, and Redeemer sent to save us all. As sister Teixiera has said, his mission will not be concluded until every one of us has access to that redeeming power. Because of Him, we can find joy in knowing we can live with God and our loved ones for eternity. Look at the scripture that says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [i]

As His followers, we strive to be like Him and to reflect His love in our lives. Putting Jesus Christ first is a lifelong pursuit, as our eternal life depends on our faith in Him and His Atonement and our obedience to His laws. The many choices we all make each day, including how we spend our time, are critical to our connection with what truly matters most.

I recently read a true account that took place in the Netherlands during the 1970s energy crisis and oil embargo that might help illustrate this important principal that I am trying to get across to you and the significance of small decisions and choices that we do in our lives, which can help us remain focused on things of eternal value.

Dutch researchers began to pay close attention to the country’s energy usage. In one suburb near Amsterdam, they found that some homeowners used 30 percent less energy than their neighbors despite the homes being of similar size and getting electricity for the same price. They found out that the houses in this neighborhood were nearly identical except for one small feature—the location of the electrical meter. Some had that electrical meter in the basement; others had the electrical meter upstairs in the main hallway. As you might guess, the homes with meters in the main hallway used less electricity. People changed their behavior when their energy use was obvious and easy to track.

This account caused me to think that if we too at times have our “spiritual meters” out of sight, perhaps installed in the basement, and distant from our thoughts and priorities, that will influence how we spend our time and energy.

During the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord helped illustrate the importance of this principle. And it is clear in His teachings that He wants us to consider how precious of a treasure is seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. He said in Matthew 6:

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [ii]

This statement, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” is part of a larger passage in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus is teaching His disciples about the importance of prioritizing spiritual values over material ones.

In this particular context, Jesus is cautioning against the pursuit of earthly treasures such as wealth, or worldly acclaim, if they come at the expense of our spiritual well-being and our relationship with God. By saying, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Jesus highlighted that our priorities and commitments shape our innermost being.

If we prioritize material wealth, worldly recognition, and success, our hearts and desires will focus on acquiring exactly those things. Conversely, if we prioritize spiritual values such as love, compassion, and righteousness, our hearts will be inclined toward pursuing and cultivating those qualities.

The Savior’s teachings encourage self-reflection and introspection. He challenges us as individuals to examine where we invest our time, energy, and resources, as these choices reveal our true priorities and values. Jesus’s teachings suggest to me that true fulfillment and spiritual abundance come from aligning our hearts with the things that have lasting significance and eternal value rather than transient and fleeting possessions or worldly popular trends.

The statement in the book of Matthew emphasizes the profound connection between our priorities and our heart’s condition, urging us to seek spiritual treasures that endure beyond the material world. Metaphorically speaking, aren’t we all building our treasures? Because we all make choices every day, we are building the treasures that result from those choices!

Jesus admonishes us that “no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” [iii] and that we should “ seek … first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness .” [iv] Again, the Lord beautifully reminds us that we should first seek the kingdom of God as an integral part of who we are, seeking to hear Him and to live by His precepts and teachings.

For a moment, let’s explore further Matthew 6 and the Lord’s teachings of “lay[ing] not up for yourselves treasures upon 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.” [v]

What beautiful language Jesus used to emphasize the importance of prioritizing spiritual wealth over material possessions. Material possessions are subject to decay, theft, and loss, but spiritual treasures are eternal and cannot be taken away.

The contrast between treasures on earth and in heaven underscores the temporary nature of worldly goods compared to the eternal rewards of heavenly treasures. Earthly treasures, like wealth, fame, popularity, and possessions, are fleeting and ultimately unsatisfying in the grand scheme of eternity.

Jesus encourages us to invest our time, resources, and efforts in pursuits that align with God’s kingdom and that bring about spiritual growth and transformation. Certainly, this includes acts of charity, love, compassion, and service to family and others around us. Jesus encourages us to embrace an attitude of detachment from earthly treasures and focus instead on spiritual growth and righteousness.

Some years ago in a message during general conference, speaking then of the popularity of the digital era we live in, I reviewed some simple habits to establish healthy online activity and affirmed that “life is not confined to a four-inch (10 cm) screen.” [vi] You might say a six inch screen today. Suggesting that while these technologies represent an extraordinary advancement, if left unchecked, they give precedent to relationships with people we don’t know or have never met rather than with the people we live with, even our own families. Since then, the expansion and reach of these technologies have accelerated at an enormous speed. Today our lives are part of these networked environments as never before. They are boosted by social media platforms and AI-driven apps that optimize user engagement and satisfaction by delivering personalized content and instant rewards.

Now, in many countries of the world, people spend a significant portion of their day connected to their devices. This is especially true with the proliferation of powerful mobile devices, which allow people to stay connected at all times wherever they are. The data suggests that the general population and specific demographic groups, like the rising generation, spend many hours of the day on their mobile devices. There’s no denying from any of us here that we live in a highly connected era.

· As of 2023, 82 percent of Americans, totaling 270 million people, own a smartphone.

- The average American spends about six hours a day on their mobile device, and they check their phone on average 96 times per day, or at least once every 10 minutes. [vii]

A culture of instant gratification online may contribute to unrealistic expectations and impatience in other areas of life. As we become accustomed to immediate feedback and rewards in our online interactions, this may diminish our ability to delay gratification and tolerate boredom or frustration, and even more importantly, it might distance us from the necessary effort to listen to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.

We can counter this culture and these trends as we demonstrate our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through our commitment to follow Him and His teachings.

In today’s world, you and carry the holy scriptures and the words of living prophets in our pockets every day. With all these resources available, we can turn our thinking to celestial things and we can build spiritual treasures, and seek eternal riches, making the Savior our source of hope.

The prophet Mormon asked, “What is it that ye shall hope for?” He then answered, “Ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.” [viii]

Embracing Christlike attributes of virtue, integrity, and patience can fortify us and help us prioritize eternal riches over earthly treasures .

Virtue originates in your thoughts and desires. The Lord said, “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” [ix]

When you have integrity, you understand that there is right and wrong and that there is absolute truth—God’s truth. You use your agency to choose according to God’s truth, and you promptly repent when you do not. What you choose to think and what you do when you believe no one is watching are a strong measure of your integrity.

Patience, on the other hand, is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Patience is not indifference; it means caring very much but nevertheless being willing to submit to the Lord. Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “When we are unduly impatient we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than His.” [x]

Our mortal experiences will be replete with unexpected challenges. Still, when we are firmly anchored in Jesus Christ, we patiently work through our trials and tribulations and draw upon the strength and reservoir of spiritual treasures He provides us.

I leave with you my conviction and testimony that as we make concerted efforts to prioritize things of eternal value, as we embed in our daily living Christlike attributes and consciously use our time seeking first the kingdom of God, we will be blessed with purpose and our choices either online or otherwise will be guided by the desire to live with meaning and joy.

I leave with you my testimony that I know that Christ lives, that he is our Redeemer and Savior. Soon we will be commemorating Easter and His glorious resurrection. As we prepare for that event, may I extend to you an invitation, an invitation to follow the Lord first in everything we do and all other blessings will be ours because of that choice. May the Lord bless you in your position of an education to do good things in life and to lead a life with purpose, meaning and joy. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[i] John 3:16
[ii] Matthew 6:21
[iii] Matthew 6:24
[iv] Matthew 6:33
[v] Matthew 6:19-20
[vi] José A. Teixeira, “Seeking the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 98.
[vii] See Jack Flynn, “20 Vital Smartphone Usage Statistics [2023]: Facts, Data, and Trends on Mobile Use in the U.S.,” Zippia, Apr. 3, 2023,
[viii] Moroni 7:41
[ix] D&C 121:45
[x] Neal A. Maxwell, “Patience,” BYU Speeches, Nov. 27, 1979, 1

About the Speaker

Elder Jose A. Teixeira

Elder José A. Teixeira was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 5, 2008. He is currently serving in the Presidency of the Seventy. Elder Teixeira has also served as the President of the Europe Area and the South America South Area.

Elder Teixeira’s education is in accounting, auditing, and business management. He was an international controller for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with responsibility for Europe and Africa. In this capacity, he managed the Europe/Africa processing center in Solihull, England, and supervised the controllers in the Europe East, Europe Central, Europe West, Africa Southeast, and Africa West Areas.

Elder Teixeira has served in a number of Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Portugal Lisbon Mission, elders quorum president, district president, counselor in a bishopric, national public affairs director, stake president, Area Seventy, and as a mission president in the Brazil São Paulo South Mission.

He also served in the Portuguese Air Force and was assigned to CINCIBERLANT, NATO; he was awarded for his services to that international military unit.

José Augusto Teixeira da Silva was born in Vila Real, Portugal, on February 24, 1961. He married Filomena Teles Grilo in June 1984. They are the parents of three children.
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