Thursday, November 25, 2021

President Thomas S. Monson on feeling and expressing divine gratitude

President Thomas S. Monson (1927–2018) was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1963. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency with Presidents Benson, Hunter, and Hinckley and then became Church president in 2008. He led the Church for almost a decade until his passing in January 2018.
"Do material possessions make us happy and grateful? Perhaps momentarily. However, those things which provide deep and lasting happiness and gratitude are the things which money cannot buy: our families, the gospel, good friends, our health, our abilities, the love we receive from those around us. Unfortunately, these are some of the things we allow ourselves to take for granted.
"The English author Aldous Huxley wrote, 'Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.'
"We often take for granted the very people who most deserve our gratitude. Let us not wait until it is too late for us to express that gratitude....
"A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don't get around to it. Someone has said that 'feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.' [William Arthur Ward]...
"It is my prayer that in addition to all else for which we are grateful, we may ever reflect our gratitude for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His glorious gospel provides answers to life's greatest questions....
"Let us follow Him. Let us emulate His example. Let us obey His words. By so doing, we give to Him the divine gift of gratitude.
"My sincere, heartfelt prayer is that we may in our individual lives reflect that marvelous virtue of gratitude. May it permeate our very souls, now and evermore."
- Thomas S. Monson, "The Divine Gift of Gratitude," Ensign, Nov 2010, pp. 87-90
Click here to read the full talk

It's relatively easy to remember to thank God for "material possessions" — the conveniences of life or the objects that bring temporary pleasure. But President Monson identifies more profound and significant gifts that should make us deeply grateful, and which we should never take for granted; and for which we should never forget to express thanks.

I also appreciated the insight that a "grateful heart" grows within us as we make greater efforts to express gratitude. Blessings come to those who "have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude." And of course, the greatest gratitude of all is for the Savior, whose gospel and atoning gift blesses every life eternally.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
November 22, 2015

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