Saturday, June 10, 2017

Elder Neal A. Maxwell on gratitude for God's help

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"[God] experiences a deep, divine disappointment in us when we are ungrateful and when we are unwilling to confess God's hand in all things. (D&C 59:21.) But it is because of what our sustained ingratitude does to us, not to Him. Failure to see His hand in human affairs in bringing to pass His eternal purposes and plans in the world (at the same time leaving us to exercise our agency) is a fatal misreading of life. It also represents a profound spur to selfishness and self-centeredness. It is these faults which lead to the celebration of the appetites rather than of spiritual things. And God knows perfectly what the end results of such trends are so far as human misery is concerned. It is our true happiness which He desires for us, His children, and 'wickedness never was happiness' (Alma 41:10)."
- Neal A. Maxwell, Sermons Not Spoken [Bookcraft, 1985], 85

Why is gratitude so important? Does God need our expressions of appreciation? Elder Maxwell suggests that the main reason is for our benefit, not for His:

When we don't recognize or acknowledge God's hand in our lives, working "in bringing to pass His eternal purposes and plans," we are misunderstanding the very nature of our existence in this life. Instead of acknowledging our dependence on Him and the myriad blessings that we receive, we become caught up in "selfishness and self-centeredness" which inevitably leads to a focus on our own appetites instead of things of the spirit.

Korihor's heretical doctrine was that "every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength" (Alma 30:17). Denying the need for an atonement to be made, he instead taught that "whatsoever a man did was no crime" and encouraged a life of passion and appetite. That is the kind of result that follows failure to acknowledge God's influence in our lives. How critical it is for us to be humble and grateful in all things. As we begin to recognize God's hand, we'll realize how much it truly is present in our lives—for it truly is "our true happiness which He desires for us, His children"!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

// Customization to close archive widget on first view - DK 3/15