See also: Job 1:21
This is a wonderful time to be living here on earth. Our opportunities are limitless. While there are some things wrong in the world today, there are many things right, such as teachers who teach, ministers who minister, marriages that make it, parents who sacrifice, and friends who help.
We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. — President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1992, p. 54
Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future. . . .
Gratitude is a divine principle: “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” (D&C 59:7)
This scripture means that we express thankfulness for what happens, not only for the good things in life but also for the opposition and challenges of life that add to our experience and faith. We put our lives in His hands, realizing that all that transpires will be for our experience. — Bishop Robert D. Hales, Ensign, May 1992, p. 65
Those who forget to be grateful have fallen asleep in life. — Robert Lewis Stevenson
It we truly want to have the Spirit of the Lord and experience joy and happiness, we should rejoice in our blessings and be grateful. — Elder Quentin L. Cook, Ensign, November 1996
When I think that the Lord has a living oracle guiding his earthly kingdom, and that there are apostles and prophets who walk the earth again; when I think that the Lord has given us – the gift and power of the Holy Ghost so that we have the revelations of heaven and the power to sanctify our souls; when I think of the unnumbered blessings – the gifts, the miracles, the promise that the family unit shall go on everlastingly, all the blessings that are poured out upon us, and offered freely to all men everywhere – my desire to praise the Lord and proclaim his goodness and grace knows no bounds. — Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “Think on These Things,” General Conference October 1973; Ensign, Jan. 1974, p. 48
Easily riled and quick to complain, they [Laman and Lemuel] could scarcely remember their last rescue long enough to meet their next difficulty. Instead, lacking gospel perspective, the situational cares of the day – like worry over a broken bow, of all things – dominated the things of eternity. Ours, too, is a day of every-man-for-himself situational ethics, as if the Ten Commandments came from a focus group!
Upon arriving at both lands of Bountiful, did Laman and Lemuel really think that such good navigating was mere happenstance? Perhaps Nephi had merely “guessed right” (see Helaman 16:16). Their ingratitude for the Liahona raises the question: What did Laman and Lemuel really think of that remarkable instrument? Was it just a convenient gadget or merely standard equipment on every ship?
Ironically, many like Laman and Lemuel who are the first to demand signs are then the first to discount them. Some demand more miracles even while consuming a daily menu of manna and forgetting its remarkable Source.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, preferred to periodic miracles is having the Holy Ghost as a “constant companion” (D&C 121:46). Ever to be remembered, however, is that the Holy Ghost, while a Comforter, is not an intruder!” — Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, November 1999, p. 8
I feel so profoundly grateful in my heart for the blessings of our Heavenly Father. How good and kind and generous and wonderful He has been to us, as His sons and daughters. How thankful we ought to be every day of our lives for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that the God of Heaven and His Beloved Son parted the curtains and opened the work in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, and brought about a restoration of all previous dispensations. All of the great doctrine, all of the great practices of earlier dispensations in this, the greatest of all dispensations. How thankful we ought to be that somehow the Lord in His kindness and goodness and mercy to us has made it possible for us to enjoy these blessings” (meeting, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, 5 Aug. 1998). — Gordon B. Hinckley, “Latter-day Counsel: Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, July 1999, p. 73
I live alone but I’m never lonely. My days and nights in the sunset of my life are sweet and peaceful and filled with golden memories. I have such love for all the missionaries I have known. The ones who live in Salt Lake City are so good to me. I was “Mom” to thousands of missionaries, and I could never live long enough to thank my Father in Heaven for all the blessings that I have had in my life and that are mine today.
I pray that our Heavenly Father will bless all of you that all the things you hear and see and do, all the good things that add to your lives, will be stored in your hearts and minds; and then when you are as old as I am, you, too, will have golden memories to make your days and nights sweet and peaceful. I pray our Father to bless you, and I do this humbly in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. — Rebecca Bean [wife of Willard Bean], Fireside Talk, Salt Lake City, UT, 1964
President Brigham Young talked about the significance of gratitude. He stated, “I do not know of any, excepting the unpardonable sin, that is greater than the sin of ingratitude.” (Teachings: Brigham Young, 177) — Quentin L. Cook, “Hope Ya Know, We Had a Hard Time,” Ensign, November 2008, p. 104
We so easily forget that we came into life with nothing. Whatever we get soon seems our natural right, not a gift. And we forget the giver. Then our gaze shifts from what we have been given to what we don’t have yet.” — President Henry B. Eyring
A family was going through a difficult time. It was hard for them not to focus on their challenges. The mother wrote: “Our world had completely crumpled, so we turned to Heavenly Father for guidance. Almost immediately we realized that we were surrounded by goodness and were being cheered on from every side. We began as a family to express our gratitude to each other as well as to the Lord daily. A close friend pointed out to me that our family’s ‘blessing basket’ was overflowing. From that conversation came a sort of game, which my children and I grew to love. Before family prayer each night we would talk about how our day had gone and then share with each other all of the many blessings that had been added to our ‘blessing basket.’ The more we expressed gratitude, the more there was to be grateful for. We felt the love of the Lord in a significant way as opportunities for growth presented themselves.” . . .
. . . Frequently we are oblivious to the Lord’s hand. We murmur, complain, resist, criticize; so often we are not grateful. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that those who murmur do not know “the dealings of that God who . . . created them.” (1 Nephi 2:12) The Lord counsels us not to murmur because it is then difficult for the Spirit to work with us.
Gratitude is a Spirit-filled principle. It opens our minds to a universe permeated with the richness of a living God. Through it, we become spiritually aware of the wonder of the smallest things, which gladden our hearts with their messages of God’s love. This grateful awareness heightens our sensitivity to divine direction. When we communicate gratitude, we can be filled with the Spirit and connected to those around us and the Lord. Gratitude inspires happiness and carries divine influence. “Live in thanksgiving daily,” said Amulek, “for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.” (Alma 34:38) — Bonnie D. Parkin, “Gratitude: A Path to Happiness,” Ensign, May 2007, pp. 34-36
President Monson said our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings.
“This is our one and only chance at mortal life – here and now,” he said. “The longer we live, the greater is our realization that it is brief. Opportunities come, and then they are gone. I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey – now.”
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve put it another way. As we navigate life, he said, we should all have the attitude “come what may and love it.”
“Life has peaks and shadows and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring,” he said during his October 2008 general conference address. “Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser and happier as a result.”
The Lord taught us how to navigate life successfully. Although He doesn’t promise everything will always go as we think it should, He gives us a clear path to find life’s unexpected treasures. In Doctrine and Covenants 6:36, He admonished, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.”
And the ultimate treasure is not just something that will bring us joy in this life. For if we “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, . . . [we] shall have eternal life” (2 Nephi 31:20). — Viewpoint, “Unexpected Treasures,” Church News, August 13, 2011, p. 16
Our society is afflicted by a spirit of thoughtless arrogance unbecoming those who have been so magnificently blessed. How grateful we should be for the bounties we enjoy. Absence of gratitude is the mark of the narrow, uneducated mind. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge and the ignorance of self-sufficiency. It expresses itself in ugly egotism and frequently in wanton mischief. We have seen our beaches, our parks, our forests littered with ugly refuse by those who evidently have no appreciation for their beauty. I have driven through thousands of acres of blackened land scourged by a fire evidently set by a careless smoker whose only concern had been the selfish pleasure gained from a cigarette.
Where there is appreciation, there is courtesy, there is concern for the rights and property of others. Without appreciation, there is arrogance and evil.
Where there is gratitude, there is humility, as opposed to pride.
Cultivate a spirit of thanksgiving for the blessing of life and for the marvelous gifts and privileges each of us enjoy. The Lord has said that the meek shall inherit the earth. (See Matt. 5:5.) I cannot escape the interpretation that meekness implies a spirit of gratitude as opposed to an attitude of self-sufficiency, an acknowledgment of a greater power beyond oneself, a recognition of God, and an acceptance of his commandments. This is the beginning of wisdom. Walk with gratitude before him who is the giver of life and every good gift. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “With All Thy Getting Get Understanding,” Ensign, August 1988, p. 2
The Prophet Joseph said at one time that one of the greatest sins of which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty is the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a great sin. There is a great tendency for us in our prayers and in our pleadings with the Lord to ask for additional blessings. But sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. We enjoy so much (God, Family, Country, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 199).” — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Remembrance and Gratitude,” Ensign, November 1989, pp. 12-13
How easy it is for man to believe that temporal success has been achieved by his own skills and labor. Everything good comes from the Lord.
Consideration for the feelings of others should always be important to worthy Latter-day Saints. Rightfully we may be happy about the number of children with which we have been blessed, the missionaries who have served, the temple marriages of our offspring, and the accomplishments of family members; but others who are not so fortunate may have feelings of guilt or inadequacy. They may have been praying long and hard for the same blessings about which we are boasting. These people may feel that they are out of favor with God.
For this reason our appreciation should be sincerely felt and gratitude expressed frequently to our Father in Heaven – but not too vocally to the world.
May we all be gratefully aware of the source of our blessings and strengths and refrain from taking undue credit for personal accomplishments.
Oftentimes when we dwell on where we have been and where we are now, and what we have now spiritually or financially, we can create resentment rather than respect.
Boasting, whether it be done innocently or otherwise, is not good. Too frequently it creates an impression of more interest in self than in others. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “Neither Boast of Faith Nor of Mighty Works,” Ensign, May 1990, p. 65
A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.
But there is a truism associated with all types of human strength: “Use it or lose it.” When not used, muscles weaken, skills deteriorate, and faith disappears. President Thomas S. Monson stated: “Think to thank. In these three words are the finest capsule course for a happy marriage, a formula for enduring friendship, and a pattern for personal happiness.” (Pathways to Perfection, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973, p. 254) Said the Lord, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” (D&C 78:19) — President James E. Faust, “Gratitude As a Saving Principle,” Ensign, May 1990, p. 85
Whatever our station in life, whatever our achievements – no matter how great – a humble and grateful heart is still fundamental to our faith. Don’t let your worldly successes or earthly learning become a substitute for spiritual wisdom, divine direction, and a humble and grateful heart. Count your blessings and give thanks. — Bishop Richard C. Edgley, BYU-Idaho Devotional, July 23, 2009
I have thought sometimes that one of the greatest virtues the Latter-day Saints could possess is gratitude to our Heavenly Father for that which he has bestowed upon us and the path over which he has led us. It may be that walking along in that path has not always been of the most pleasant character; but we have afterwards discovered that those circumstances which have been very unpleasant have often proved of the highest advantage to us. — President Lorenzo Snow, Conference Report, April 1899
Many of us live or work in an environment where humility is often misunderstood and considered a weakness. Not many corporations or institutions include humility as a value statement or a desired characteristic of their management. Yet as we learn about the workings of God, the power of a humble and submissive spirit becomes apparent. In the kingdom of God, greatness begins with humility and submissiveness. These companion virtues are the first critical steps to opening the doors to the blessings of God and the power of the priesthood. It matters not who we are or how lofty our credentials appear. Humility and submissiveness to the Lord, coupled with a grateful heart, are our strength and our hope. — Elder Richard C. Edgely, General Conference, 5 October 2003
A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you. — C. S. Lewis
Anger is never without Reason, but seldom with a good One. — Benjamin Franklin
Gratefully we acknowledge the infinite mind of our Maker, and gratefully ought to offer our tithes and offerings, and earnestly consistent service, in thanks for all that God has given, and keep his commandments in remembrance of the love and providence and purpose of the Creator, the God and Father of us all, the organizer and operator of heaven and earth, without whom all these things would not be so. Thank God for all this: for life and what sustains it, for loved ones that make it meaningful, for faith and purpose and continuance, always and forever. Thank God for all of this – and much, much more.” — Richard L. Evans, “Thanks: for the Organization and Operation of the Earth,” Improvement Era, Feb. 1968, p. 74; KSL “The Spoken Word” broadcast, Nov. 19, 1967
Now, humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit. It seems to me that it is rather a right and proper estimate of what one is in the sight of God. When we have that estimate of ourselves, we become as children, and we realize that he controls the universe. We learn then, to appreciate even the very air that we breathe, and our ability to go and come and to see and to do, and to accept and to reject. But until he can submit himself to this status, man is an “enemy to God.”
True humility, in my opinion, implies acknowledgment, thanksgiving, prayerfulness, all those virtues which become a Latter-day Saint. It is becoming to an individual no matter what his status in life, to acknowledge the Lord for his goodness and for his mercy, to be humble and prayerful and submissive to his will. True humility is uplifting, ennobling. — Elder ElRay L. Christiansen, Conference Report, April 1953
As with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. President J. Reuben Clark, formerly a First Counselor in the First Presidency, said: “Hold fast to the blessings which God has provided for you. Yours is not the task to gain them, they are here; yours is the part of cherishing them.” (Church News, 14 June 1969, 2) — President James E. Faust, “Gratitude As a Saving Principle,” Ensign, December 1996, p. 2
Of all the things for which I feel grateful, one stands [above all the others]. That is a living testimony of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty God, the Prince of Peace, the Holy One. . . . Jesus is my friend. He is my exemplar. He is my teacher. He is my healer. He is my leader. He is my Savior and my Redeemer. He is my God and my King.
Gratefully, and with love, I bear witness of these things. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice: Gratitude,” Friend, November 2002, p. 3
If you give appreciation to people, you win their goodwill. But more important than that, practicing this philosophy has made a different person of me. — William James [1842-1910]
As President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) observed: “One of the greatest sins, both in magnitude and extent . . . is the sin of ingratitude. When we violate a commandment, no matter how small and insignificant we may think it to be, we show our ingratitude to our Redeemer. It is impossible for us to comprehend the extent of his suffering when he carried the burden of the sins of the whole world. . . . If we really understood and could feel even to a small degree, the love and gracious willingness on the part of Jesus Christ to suffer for our sins we would be willing to repent of all our transgressions and serve him.” — Wolfgang H. Paul, “Gratitude for the Atonement,” Ensign, June 2007, pp. 15-17
“If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” [Ether 12:27]
There are interesting things about that scripture, one is that the Lord gives us weaknesses – not sin, but weaknesses – so that we may be humble. Think about that for a moment. If we were perfect in every respect, it would be hard to be humble. Even in specific things, humility comes harder to those who are very strong in one area or another. The woman or man who is remarkably beautiful or handsome can easily become proud of her or his appearance. A brilliant scholar may look down in condescension on those less intellectually blessed. Our weaknesses help us to be humble. — Elder Ballard, M. Russell, “Strong in the Lord, and in the Power of His Might,” March 03, 2002
One of the most common of all sins among worldly people is relying on and then boasting in the arm of flesh. This is a most serious evil. It is a sin born of pride, a sin that creates a frame of mind which keeps men from turning to the Lord and accepting his saving grace. When a man knowingly or unknowingly engages in self-exultation because of his riches, his political power, his worldly learning, his physical prowess, his business ability, or even his works of righteousness, he is not in tune with the Spirit of the Lord. . . . The many admonitions in the scriptures to avoid boasting send the message that we should realize the source of all our blessings. Everything is given by God. All talent, creativity, ability, insight, and strength comes from him. In our own strength we can do nothing. . . . When we seek the praise of man more than the praise of God, it will become easy to fall. — Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Conference Report, April 1990, pp. 84-85
Gratitude is of the very essence of worship. . . . When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives. Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love. — President Gordon B Hinckley, “With a Grateful Heart,” Liahona, August 1999, p. 25
You could ask yourself, “How did God Bless me today?” If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes you will have gifts brought to your mind which you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God’s hand in your life. — President Henry B. Eyring
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.” — President Thomas S. Monson, “The Divine Gift of Gratitude,” Ensign, November 2010, pp. 87-90
Will prayers that do not demand much of your thought merit much attention from our Heavenly Father? When you find yourself getting into a routine with your prayers, step back and think. Meditate for a while on the things for which you really are grateful. Look for them. They don’t have to be grand or glorious. Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things like the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one’s voice. Thinking of things we are grateful for is a healing balm. It helps us get outside ourselves. It changes our focus from our pains and our trials to the abundance of this beautiful world we live in. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Improving Our Prayers,” Liahona, August 2004, p. 18
If we constantly focus only on the stones in our mortal path, we will almost surely miss the beautiful flower or cool stream provided by the loving Father who outlined our journey. Each day can bring more joy than sorrow when our mortal and spiritual eyes are open to God’s goodness. Joy in the gospel is not something that begins only in the next life. It is our privilege now, this very day. We must never allow our burdens to obscure our blessings. There will always be more blessings than burdens – even if some days it doesn’t seem so. Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Enjoy those blessings right now. They are yours and always will be. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
I feel as though we as a people ought to rejoice; and we should prize these gifts and blessings God has put into our hands, and we should seek to magnify our callings, and as a people fulfill the expectation of our Father in Heaven, and the expectation of those who have gone before us. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, p. 73
When we give thanks in all things, we see hardships and adversities in the context of the purpose of life. . . . We are meant to learn and grow through opposition, through meeting our challenges, and through teaching others to do the same . . . the Lord will not only consecrate our afflictions for our gain, but He will use them to bless the lives of countless others. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Give Thanks in All Things,” Ensign, May 2003, p. 95
Gratitude is a state of appreciation, an act of thanksgiving, which causes us to be humble because we recognize an act of kindness, service, or caring from someone else which lifts us and strengthens us.— Elder Robert D. Hales, “Gratitude for the Goodness of God,” Ensign, May 1992, p. 63
Much has changed since October 4, 1963 [when President Monson was called as a General Authority]. We live in a unique time in the world’s history. We are blessed with so very much. And yet it is sometimes difficult to view the problems and permissiveness around us and not become discouraged. I have found that, rather than dwelling on the negative, if we will take a step back and consider the blessings in our lives, including seemingly small, sometimes overlooked blessings, we can find greater happiness. . . . take an inventory of your life and look specifically for the blessings, large and small, you have received.
Reinforced constantly during my own review of the years has been my knowledge that our prayers are heard and answered. We are familiar with the truth found in 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon: “Men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Nephi 2:25.) I testify that much of that joy comes as we recognize that we can communicate with our Heavenly Father through prayer and that those prayers will be heard and answered – perhaps not how and when we expected they would be answered, but they will be answered and by a Heavenly Father who knows and loves us perfectly and who desires our happiness. Hasn’t He promised us, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers”? (D&C 112:10) — President Thomas S. Monson, “Consider the Blessings,” Ensign, November 2012
Our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and will help us as we call upon Him for assistance. I believe that no concern of ours is too small or insignificant. The Lord is in the details of our lives. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Consider the Blessings,” Ensign, November 2012
This being the beginning of a new year, my heart is filled with gratitude go God that he has preserved my life, and the lives of my family, while another year has passed away. We have been sustained and upheld in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, although exposed to all the afflictions, temptations, and misery that are incident to human life; for this I feel to humble myself in dust and ashes, as it were, before the Lord. — History of the Church, 2:352
The ancients whom we love and read and quote so much – Adam and Abraham, Joshua and Joseph, Isaiah and Ezekiel and Ezra, Nephi and Alma, and Mormon and Moroni – all of these ancient prophets, priests, and kings focused their prophetic vision “with peculiar delight” on our day, on our time. It is this hour to which they have looked forward “with joyful anticipation,” and “fired with heavenly and joyful anticipation they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day.”
They saw us as “the favored people” upon whom God would shower his full and complete latter-day glory, and I testify that is our destiny. What a privilege! What an honor! What a responsibility! And what joy! We have every reason in time and eternity to rejoice and give thanks for the quality of our lives and the promises we have been given. That we may do so, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. — President Howard W. Hunter, “An Anchor to the Souls of Men,” BYU Devotional, February 7, 1993