We are reminded to show gratitude for what we have been given; this time of year especially as we express thanks for gifts given, either vocally or by way of a note which conveys to the giver some form of acknowledgment. As a child I was taught to write a short letter, lessons to be learned on how to properly thank those who’d spent time and money in my behalf; a formality which has for the most part fallen by the way side as a phone call or email seem to have taken its place.
Ingratitude, while closely associated, being the opposite of gratitude, is largely overlooked since very little thought goes into such a mindset. Things which were taken for granted when received make little if any impression on those individuals and no such acknowledgement is rendered the giver. Instead of making an issue out of the lack of gratitude, the gift giver simply severs the connection or reduces the amount given the next time; having come to the conclusion that the gifts hold little if any value as indicated.
Today’s Sunday School lesson was an introduction into this year’s course of study, The Book of Mormon. We finished up the New Testament which was last years focus and the year before that was the Old Testament. Every four years the cycle repeats; I think the other year is Church History, so as to complete the set. We were asked to turn in our scriptures to Doctrine and Covenants 84:54:
“And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received.”
The text was aimed at those who hadn’t bothered to give a proper amount of attention to that gift which had been held aside for centuries, a book of wisdom intended to act as a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ. The information which can be found through a prayerful and ponderous course of study often times is unopened or treated in such a casual manner as to render it a thing of naught.
Recognizing the intended meaning of that particular line as it pertains to the Book of Mormon, I couldn’t help thinking of other “things” which have been received and treated lightly. Family members, job opportunities and simple daily blessings come to mind; but especially close family members.
How guilty are we all, at least to some degree, of treating lightly our most precious gifts? Do we acknowledge our eternal mate in such a manner as would have them desire our company all over again or do we toss them in the corner like a pair of old blue jeans; used past our desire or interest? Our children, the apple of our eye when first we held them in our arms; are they ever in our hearts and minds? I fear too many of us have made poor choices when applying the limited amount of time here in mortality, spending precious moments on that which has no value beyond the grave while treating lightly that which is most important in the eternities.