Sunday, October 24, 2021

Elder Hugh B. Brown on true gratitude

Elder Hugh B. Brown (October 24, 1883–December 2, 1975) was called as an Assistant to the Twelve in 1953, then as an apostle in 1958.  He served as a counselor to President David O. McKay from 1961 until President McKay's death in 1970, then for five more years as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until he passed away.
"How rich and radiant is the soul of a man who has a thankful heart. His gratitude increases with his unfolding awareness of himself, the universe and his Creator. Appreciation, like love, enriches both giver and receiver, and, when spontaneously expressed in word or deed, reveals a depth and delicacy of fine-grain character. True gratitude is motivated by a recognition of favors received. Its counterfeit is fawning anticipation of favors to come.
"Serious consideration of the mystery of life, its vastness and incalculability, gives depth to appreciation for blessings gratuitously bestowed. They who have eyes to see, ears to hear, understanding hearts, will see the bounteous love of God everywhere manifest and will be inclined to reverently remove their shoes and exclaim:
"For the rock and for the river,
The valley's fertile sod,
For the strength of the hills we bless thee,
Our God, our fathers' God.

['For the Strength of the Hills,' Hymns:35]"

- Hugh B. Brown, "Gratitude Is a Spiritual Attribute," Instructor, Nov. 1957, p. 332

I love this description of what it means to have a thankful heart, and the impact that gratitude has both on the man himself and all who he interacts with.

The difference between "true gratitude" and a counterfeit is motivation for the emotion: either a true appreciation for favors received, or the expectation of favors to be granted. True gratitude radiates from our heart, from within our soul, in a perfectly unselfish way.

It's the "serious consideration of the mystery of life," according to Elder Brown, that leads to a greater appreciation of blessings. When we slow down to observe and ponder our lives, we begin to notice and acknowledge the "bounteous love of God everywhere manifest." What a good reminder for us all!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
November 23, 2015

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