Saturday, May 27, 2017

President Ezra Taft Benson on gratitude for blessings

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899-1994) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1943, and served as the 13th President of the Church from 1985 until his death in 1994 at age 94.
"We need to be more grateful. I think there's no true character without gratitude. It's one of the marks of a real strong character, to have a feeling of thanksgiving and gratitude for blessings that are ours. We need more of that spirit in our homes, in our daily associations, in church, everywhere. It doesn't cost anything. It's so easy to cultivate the spirit of appreciation and gratitude. And it's so easy, also, to be dissatisfied and to be envious of other people....
"I hope we can be happy where we are, be grateful for our blessings—now—here, accept the challenge that is ours and make the most of it, and don't be envious of others.
"God help us to be grateful. Someone has said that an ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating apples and never looking up to see where they come from. Do we look up to see where our blessings are coming from?"
- Ezra Taft Benson, "Receive All Things with Thankfulness," New Era, Nov. 1976, p. 4
Click here to read the full talk

President Benson suggests that there are two tendencies that are both relatively easy to follow in our lives: choosing to be "dissatisfied and envious of other people" or learning to "cultivate the spirit of appreciation and gratitude." He invites us to choose the path of gratitude and thanksgiving for our blessings.

With our very limited mortal vision, it's very easy to forget the source of our blessings. I've always been impressed by King Benjamin's teachings about how eager God is to "immediately bless" us as we follow him, leaving us "indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever" (Mosiah 2:24). Truly, we should be continually and eternally grateful.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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