Wednesday, August 1, 2018

President Russell M. Nelson on being grateful to God for blessings

President Russell M. Nelson (born Sept 9, 1924) was an internationally-renowned heart surgeon when he was called to serve as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1984. He became president of that quorum on July 15, 2015. Following the death of President Monson, he was set apart as president of the Church on January 14, 2018.
"Recently, Sister Nelson and I enjoyed the beauty of tropical fish in a small private aquarium. Fish with vivid colors and of a variety of shapes and sizes darted back and forth. I asked the attendant nearby, 'Who provides food for these beautiful fish?'
"She responded, 'I do.'
"Then I asked, 'Have they ever thanked you?'
"She replied, 'Not yet!'
"I thought of some people I know who are just as oblivious to their Creator and their true 'bread of life' (John 6:35, 48; see also verse 51). They live from day to day without an awareness of God and His goodness unto them.
"How much better it would be if all could be more aware of God’s providence and love and express that gratitude to Him. Ammon taught, 'Let us give thanks to [God], for he doth work righteousness forever' (Alma 26:8; see also Alma 7:23). Our degree of gratitude is a measure of our love for Him."
- Russell M. Nelson, "Thanks Be to God," General Conference, April 2012
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Nelson's story is more humorous than instructive; clearly we all realize that fish are unable to express gratitude, even if they were aware of such an emotion. But the lesson is still there for us. How many blessings come to us, bestowed by some greater being than ourselves, that we take for granted and fail to acknowledge? President Nelson points out that we are often "oblivious" to our Creator and all He gives to us.

This is a beautiful reminder; we should be much more willing to offer gratitude to God for our blessings. The final statement is profound; as we grow love for our Father in Heaven, we will be more aware of our blessings and more eager to express our gratitude to Him.

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

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