Earlier this month I went to my daughters First Grade class to talk about what I do for work as a Chimney Sweep. She was excited that I came. By the end of the day I realized that I still expected something of her. All I really wanted was to hear a small thank you for the time I took to be there for her.
As that thought crossed my mind another interjected itself into my thoughts.
“Such is being a parent and often times you will serve your children without thanks. They will have no idea that you helped, or really even sacrificed anything for them. Imagine how often the Lord helps you and how often you don’t even recognize what He has done for you in your life. Imagine how often you forget to give Him thanks after the fact. Have you thanked Him for all the good things He has brought into your life of late?”
What a good question. I was humbled by it’s implications.
I wonder how often we are like my daughter, and after the Lord has given us of His time, talents, abilities, and resources we simply forget to say thank you, or don’t even realize that He has helped us. Now, regardless of whether or not we thank Him He will continue to help us to a point. But perhaps, just as I would have appreciated even a small thank you the Lord would appreciate one as well. When we recognize His hand in our lives and say thank you for His help He will be more likely to help us further – just as any father or mother would their grateful child.
The Lord asks each of us, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13, 3 Nephi 14:11)
The Lord blesses us regularly in our lives, many times without our asking. We are, however commanded to ask Him for whatsoever things we stand in need of, and then to be thankful for all things that come into our lives – good or bad – ALL things.
In 1 Thessalonians we read, “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Jesus Christ concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)
And in Mosiah we are “commanded of God to pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all things.” (Mosiah 26:39)
And again “ye must give thanks to God in the Spirit for whatsoever things ye are blessed with.” (Doctrine & Covenants 46:32)
And perhaps most directly, when the Lord reviews the commandments in the Doctrine & Covenants he states very clearly, “Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things.” (Doctrine & Covenants 59:7)
And once we have been grateful I ask you what happens then? Will our Father in Heaven continue to bless us? Or will He turn His back on us?
As a parent, or a father, or a brother, or a sister – don’t you want to help those who have acknowledged your hand in their lives? So does He. He wants to bless us greatly and has promised that if we keep His commandments and have faith, trying Him on His word, saying, “prove me now herewith… if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Malachi 3:10, 3 Nephi 24:10)
It is clear that the Lord feels this way as well. In scripture the Lord makes us a promise which cannot be broken, “And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of the earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.” (Doctrine & Covenants 78:19)
If we fill the requirements of His promises he says, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (Doctrine & Covenants 82:10)
It is important for us to be grateful in all things. If we are grateful in all things then we have the promise of the Lord that we shall be blessed greatly indeed. If we would assure ourselves of His help in the future then we must be grateful for the help that He has already given us. This will assure us of His help in the future.
Where have you missed His hand in your life? When have you forgotten to be grateful for a certain blessing, or help, or aid? Whether miraculous in nature, or seemingly naturally flowing into your life through the lives of those around you? Often times the Lord’s Spirit moves upon those in your life in such a way that they become the answer to your prayers. Have you thanked Him for these realities in your life? Have you thanked Him for these moments?
So now I ask you, will you commit to be more thankful today? And to recognize the hand of the Lord in your life?
He desires to bless you more than you can possibly imagine. All He asks is that we ask of Him, in humility, for His help – and that after He has helped us we recognize His hand in our lives and give thanks for all things that come into our lives.
May God bless you in the journey of your life, and may you be filled with gratitude for the many blessings which will flow into your life as a result.
And just to mention a topic for another day – Once we change our lives the blessings of the Lord will often-times slowly trickle into our lives. This is not at all the sudden blessing we are often hoping for. But… there is a reason for it.
Why is this?
Because often times it takes awhile before the consequences of our past actions fade out of our lives. The Lord will not remove the consequences of our actions. They are ours, earned and chosen. So don’t be surprised if, even after you change your life and begin to trust and follow Him, there are lingering effects from your previous life, and consequences which still must be endured and overcome, their lessons internalized.