Elder Bednar, Miracles, and “Subtle but Significant” Blessings…

david-a-bednar-largeThis October’s conferences addresses were online a lot quicker than in the past (it seems). Of course, the video of each address was up almost as soon as each session was over, but we usually have to wait until Wednesday or Thursday to have the text. This time, we only waited until Tuesday evening. At least that is when I was able to access the text at the Church’s Conference page. I always find more when I read the talks, and I noticed something interesting when I started reading Elder Bednar’s address this week. Here are the lines that caught my attention:

Often as we teach and testify about the law of tithing, we emphasize the immediate, dramatic, and readily recognizable temporal blessings that we receive. And surely such blessings do occur. Yet some of the diverse blessings we obtain as we are obedient to this commandment are significant but subtle. Such blessings can be discerned only if we are both spiritually attentive and observant (see 1 Corinthians 2:14).

Now, I realize that his talk was on the subject of tithing. But I think I see a pattern for not just tithing, but all commandments. And the key phrase for me was “significant but subtle”.

I think I may miss noticing (and therefore appreciating) blessings that come when I strive to follow the Savior because I only notice, and share, the “immediate, dramatic, and readily recognizable” blessings that I receive when I’m working on a commandment. And, because those kinds of blessings are most obvious and exciting, I tend to share those when I teach or speak or just share. At that point, I am pointing the attention of any listeners to the dramatic or obvious, thus causing them to be more likely to miss the “significant but subtle” blessings that they may be receiving from Heavenly Father during their personal moments of effort. At that point, we are all sitting in the room, thinking about the two or three “miraculous” moments in our lives in relation to tithe-paying. It is good to feel grateful for those miracles, but there may be a small peripheral problem with that situation.

Janese and I have enjoyed some fairly dramatic blessings through the years of paying tithing. But if those were the only ones I notice, then paying tithing for three decades hasn’t really brought many blessings, relatively speaking. But if I look back and discern the “significant but subtle” blessings, I can testify that our family has been richly, richly blessed in our efforts to honor the commandment to pay tithing. Those kinds of blessings are almost endless and are impossible to count. Over the years, we have rarely worried about providing the basics for our family. We have not struggled in keeping consistent employment. I have been blessed with a career that is more than a career to me. We have received literally 20 years’ worth of fairly steady impressions and guidance regarding our family. Our health has been relatively good. Even when not, Janese has been blessed through breast and skin cancer in a way that has not been disruptive in our lives (well, not as disruptive as it could have been). There are surely blessings that are actually attached to our efforts to pay tithing, but that we didn’t realize were attached at the time. Indeed, many of the blessings are so long-term and consistent that it is hard to attach them to a particular moment of obedience.*

The other part of “subtle but significant” blessings is that I know so many people who have been just as faithful at paying tithing as we have, and yet they have not enjoyed the same blessings. They would not describe their lives the same way I just described mine in the above paragraph. But as they are blessed with the gift of discernment, they have a whole list of different subtle but personally significant blessings that they have enjoyed during their lives. It is easy to compare the dramatic stories, and since there are usually only a few per lifetime, it is easy to feel letdown or ripped off in the comparison. But as I really analyze the subtle blessings that we’ve enjoyed over the two decades of marriage and tithe paying, the need to compare with others fades and the feeling of gratitude builds.

And the same holds true for living the law of chastity. And scriptures study. And holding regular Family Home Evenings. And attending church. And the list goes on…

*Here is an attached thought relative to being blessed for obedience. I actually think that we are blessed because Heavenly Father is kind and merciful, not just because we’ve been obedient. Are we really being obedient enough to deserve anything? That’s an entirely different post…
These views are personal, and are not the official views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...

One thought on “Elder Bednar, Miracles, and “Subtle but Significant” Blessings…

  1. Pingback: Of Course God Answers Our Prayers…(aka, “An Insight from Elder David A. Bednar”) « Brian Mickelson....

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