Wednesday, November 21, 2018

President Gordon B. Hinckley on expressing thanks to others and to God

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008.
"There are two little words in the English language that perhaps mean more than all others. They are 'thank you.' Comparable words are found in every other language--gracias, merci, danke, obrigado, domo, and so forth....
"Gratitude creates the most wonderful feeling. It can resolve disputes. It can strengthen friendships. And it makes us better men and women.
"The habit of saying thank you is the mark of a cultivated mind. With whom is the Lord displeased? Those who do not confess his hand in all things. That is, those who are not grateful for all that they have and all they are. So my first suggestion to you, my dear young friends, is that you walk with gratitude in your hearts. Be thankful for the wonderful blessings that are yours. Be grateful for the tremendous opportunities that you have.... Express appreciation to everyone who does you a favor or assists you in any way. You will be surprised how often you find yourself saying simply, 'Thank you.'
"Thank the Lord for His goodness to you. Shakespeare said, 'O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.' (King Henry VI, Part 2, I.i.19-20.) Thank Him for His great example, for His tremendous teachings, for His outreaching hand. Read about Him and read His words. Read them quietly to yourself and then ponder them. Pour out your heart to your Father in Heaven with gratitude for the gift of His Beloved Son....
"Be grateful. Count your blessings and gifts and privileges and see just how long that list is. I imagine that each of you will have difficulties ahead of you. None of us can avoid them. But do not despair. Do not give up. Look for the sunlight in the clouds. And be grateful for what you have."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, Way to Be, pp. 15-21; see also "A Prophet's Counsel and Prayer for Youth," Ensign January 2001, pp. 2-7

On November 12, 2000, President Hinckley spoke to a fireside for youth in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City that was broadcast by satellite throughout the Church. His remarks were later printed in the Ensign magazine. In this talk, he introduced his "Six B's"—characteristics of behavior he was encouraging in the youth (later expanded to 9 B's and printed in the book Way to Be). The very first of those B's was Be Grateful.

To say "thank you" more often seems like such a simple thing. But it helps create an attitude in which we recognize the good that others do, and how they influence our lives. It truly blesses us as much as the person we are thanking. Simple advice, but very wise counsel.

And especially, we ought to be thankful to God as we acknowledge His many blessings in our lives.

Prophets frequently remind us to "Look for the sunlight in the clouds." There will be challenges and difficulties, but they will pass and the light will return. We are so grateful to President Hinckley for his wise counsel!

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

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