In Relief Society yesterday, we talked about L. Tom Perry's most recent conference address, "Let Him Do It with Simplicity". In this talk, Elder Perry discusses the four basic necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, and fuel (both temporal and spiritual).
In these trying financial times, it's easy to be grateful for the necessities (and comforts) I have that money can buy. I try to acknowledge daily that it is by the grace of God that I am fed, clothed, and housed.
But sometimes I forget to thank my Heavenly Father for the bountiful spiritual fuel I receive. It is that most vital fuel that lends me energy and optimism in trying times.
And although I'm usually not as grateful when life is cushy, spiritual fuel is vital in more than just trying situations. My spirit needs constant feeding just like my body does. Christ calls himself the bread and water of life and we are counseled to feast of His words. Too often, though, I find myself starving and thirsting unnecessarily. Denying my spirit sustenance stunts my spiritual growth and leaves me weak and unprepared for challenges. On the other hand, when I spend time every day in prayer and scripture study, I enjoy the attendant blessings.
And still, just as with the temporal blessings I work to enjoy, spiritual fuel is a gift from God and always will be, no matter how hard I work to receive it. My Father has given me His Word, which alone is a tender mercy. In return, He asks that I study and obey. As I try to show Him my gratitude for the words of the prophets by reading and pondering on them, He in turn blesses me with the even greater gift of personal revelation and the accompaniment of His Spirit. Still in His debt, I try to use those gifts to better serve Him but, as I do so, He increases my faith, my hope, and my capacity to love. He makes me over in His image, which is the greatest blessing I could ask for.
These are blessings I could never earn. They are tender mercies from a loving God.