Joy is born of gratitude

Don't compare blessings

Serve faithfully

Be grateful

during trials

Gratitude has many faces and takes on many forms, Elder Gordon T. Watts of the Seventy said Sunday afternoon.

Speaking for the first time in general conference since his call to the Second Quorum of the Seventy April 4, Elder Watts related how as a child his life on the family farm was "heaven."

"Then something changed. I started school and began to notice possessions I had not known. Regretfully, I began to forget how happy I had been with my basket of blessings as I indulged in comparing

schoolmates'T seemingly endless bushels to mine.

"Thus, the blinders to humility began distorting reality, giving way to ingratitude. The expectation that more is deserved can cause our plate of plenty to appear empty. Failure to recognize the Lord for all we have will soon result in selfish behavior."

Oftentimes, Elder Watts continued, "we fail to recognize our abundant blessings. More importantly, some expressions of gratitude fall short of the Lord's expectations.

"Gratitude begins with attitude," Elder Watts explained. "While to some every apple shines, to others, the remaining blemishes after the polishing process are all that's visible. We must use caution not to be drawn into the growing populous of ungrateful people who have become calloused to blessings as they bicker in misery.

"Joy and happiness are born of gratitude," he added. He then related how he and his wife had recently spent three years in another part of the world. "If worldly possessions equated to happiness, the majority of these Saints would be unhappy. Quite the contrary, gratitude abounds, resulting in a contagious display of rejoicing.

"A cheerfulness is generated by their gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessings derived from living the principles taught. One faithful district president expressed gratitude to have a bicycle for transportation to perform his calling. It seemed the more he peddled, the happier he became. Perhaps there is a lesson here; if we are feeling ungrateful, we need to peddle a little faster.

"The depth and the willingness with which we serve is a direct reflection of our gratitude."

Elder Watts explained how in times of trial "we can accept with gratefulness that which is to come - a gratitude for the blessings and gifts the Lord has in reserve for those who keep the commandments and serve him in thanksgiving."

He then related how a neighbor recently felt the refiner's fire in the loss of his wife. "His recent words of indefinable gratitude for the gospel, temple covenants and eternal marriage are engraved on my mind. In the passing of his sweet wife, this knowledge brings a comfort unknown to them before joining the Church."

In his concluding remarks, Elder Watts testified, "God is the gracious giver."

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