Sunday, March 11, 2018

Elder Quentin L. Cook on not comparing ourselves with others

Elder Quentin L. Cook (b. September 8, 1940) was called as a Seventy in 1996, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2007.
"A third area of distraction that can destroy joy is comparing our talents and blessings with others. The growth in our own talents is the best measure of personal progress. In recent years the concept of 'personal best' has become widely accepted. This has great merit. Remember we usually judge others at their best and ourselves at our worst. In the parable of the talents, the servants who received five talents and two talents were praised by the Lord for increasing their talents and told to 'enter thou into the joy of thy lord.' The servant who was rebuked was the servant who buried the talent given him. (See Matt. 25:14–30.) Comparing blessings is almost certain to drive out joy. We cannot be grateful and envious at the same time. If we truly want to have the Spirit of the Lord and experience joy and happiness, we should rejoice in our blessings and be grateful."
- Quentin L. Cook, "Rejoice!," General Conference October 1996
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

It's such a natural tendency to compare ourselves with others. Elder Cook warns us that we can quickly "destroy joy" by doing that; the usual concern is that we end up seeing the best in others (not their struggles or shortcomings) but compare that with the worst in ourselves. Instead of that comparison, we need to learn to observe our own personal progress and the growth and development we are making. We should be achieving our own "personal best" repeatedly in those important areas as we grow and improve.

If we remember to be grateful for what we have, the proper perspective will prevail, since "we cannot be grateful and envious at the same time." We just need to focus on the gifts and talents that are ours, seeking earnestly to magnify and add to them, and God will bless us for those endeavors.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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