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Blessings of gratitude

The blessing of knowing that we are being blessed might just be the greatest blessing we can receive.

That's probably worth restating. But, first, some background.

We receive many, many blessings from God. On the one hand, sometimes those blessings are so subtle — or we are so preoccupied — that we might not realize that we are being blessed.

That's a sad state.

On the other hand, knowing that we are being blessed brings feelings of gratitude toward a kind and loving Father.

That's a blessed state.

Gratitude is important — not only because it shows proper respect for, and deference to, God, but also because being thankful will, quite simply, make us happier people.

Being grateful is good for you.

It is good when gratitude is a natural response to the blessings we receive.

It is better when gratitude becomes the natural response to less-seen blessings.

It is best when gratitude is a natural response to less-seen blessings — even when much-more-easily-seen trials and difficulties beset us.

Hence, the blessing of knowing that we are being blessed might just be the greatest blessing we can receive.

The Lord taught that principle to Nephi.

During the time when Nephi was constructing the ship that would take his family and associates to the promised land, the Lord reminded him of the oft-repeated promise that keeping the commandments would bring great blessings. Then the Lord added this:

". . . inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led" (see 1 Nephi 17:13; italics added).

So, being led to the promised land is a great and wonderful blessing.

But knowing from whom that blessing came is also a blessing. In fact, it might, from an eternal perspective, be an even greater blessing.

In the next verse, the Lord promises, "After ye have arrived in the promised land, ye shall know that I, the Lord, am God. . ." (1 Nephi 17:14).

Thus, by doing the will of the Lord, Lehi's family would have the temporal blessing of being safely delivered to the promised land. And they would also have the greater — spiritual — blessing of having a testimony of the Savior.

Further they would be blessed with knowing the source of their blessings.

A stake president tells of seeing the blessings of gratitude first hand.

"I was meeting with a good member of our stake recently. I know this man very well. I know his sweet and faithful wife. And I know their wonderful family. They are salt-of-the-earth, faithful, dutiful and believing people.

"And because I know them so well, I also know that they have their hands full of challenges — challenges that most of our stake members would say are far beyond anything they face.

"As we talked, the man was brought to tears — as he expressed his deep gratitude for all the blessings the Lord has given his family. 'There are,' he said, 'so many people with so many problems so much greater than ours. I am just so very thankful for how much the Lord has blessed our family.' "

There, then, is a man who is blessed with knowing how much he has been blessed.

And his gratitude has turned his heart reverently toward that God from whom all blessings flow. May we all be so ever-grateful.

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