Significant But Subtle Blessings in Financial Matters

A couple of years ago, at the height of the global financial crisis and its impact on our family, we hung a family banner beside our campsite at a week-long family camp at Philmont in New Mexico. The banner read “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass.” We took our family motto from a Book of Mormon scripture.

I had gone back to work full-time to help our family financially. It wasn’t a choice I wanted to make with three children at home, but the income and benefits were a significant blessing to our recession-reduced income.

I was exhausted by the day-in and day-out temporal needs that I could never seem to fulfill. And that exhaustion came out in the form of many tears and much irritation on that trip. I wanted to be grateful, but I couldn’t yet see any “great things” coming to pass.

When we returned from that trip, I started keeping a nightly gratitude journal to record the small and simple moments of the day. I’d always been a journal keeper, but this one was different.

I chose to observe the Lord’s hand in my life.

At the most recent General Conference of the Church, Elder David A. Bednar summed up the truths I had discovered through this process better than I ever could. And he clearly connects those simple daily blessings to living a particular principle of the gospel. He said,

As we live the Law of Tithing we often receive significant but subtle blessings that are not always what we expect and can be easily overlooked.

I love, love, love that Elder Bednar connects faith to our finances, giving help for a challenge that touches so many.

Once I learned to observe and record my own blessings despite the ongoing recession and slow financial recovery, I started asking others, “What blessings or memorials of God’s sustaining hand did you receive during the recession?”

From this question many people, including my husband, my children and me, always seemed to name the big things or answered with a skeptical view that because their financial condition hadn’t changed, they wondered if he were blessing them.

Still, others found what I found–that He was sustaining them and their families. And the process of simply asking that question uncovered some of those significant, but subtle blessings.

Elder Bednar gives clues about HOW we should be looking for God’s blessings and WHAT type of blessings we should be looking for.

HOW to look for blessings:

  • Keep the law of tithing.
  • Practice being “spiritually attentive and observant.”
  • Do those things that invite faith in God. Pray, study, ponder so that you can discern with “eyes and ears of faith.”
  • Look for “spiritual illumination and perspective.”

WHAT type of blessings to look for:

  •  “Diverse blessings.”
  • A “gift of gratitude.”
  • Gratitude “enables our appreciation for what we have to constrain desires for what we want.”
  • “The spiritual gift of enhanced discernment.”
  • Ability “to identify job opportunities that many other people might overlook.”
  • “The blessing of personal determination to search harder and longer for a position than other people may be able or willing to do.”
  • “An increased spiritual and temporal capacity to do more with less.”
  • “A keener ability to prioritize and simplify.”
  • “An enhanced ability to take proper care of the material possessions we have already acquired.”
  • “Physical and mental stamina.”
  • “Enlarged perspective.”
  • “Increased patience.”
  • “The gift of grace.”
  • “Conviction and confidence.”
  • “Increase (of) our resolve and our resilience.”

I noted an emphasis for one additional blessing. This one he repeated twice: 

Greater Capacity to Change Our Circumstances

Interestingly, if we apply spiritual attentiveness and observation,  we receive “eyes that see more clearly, ears that hear more consistently, and hearts that understand more fully the significance and subtlety of His ways, His thoughts, and His blessings in our lives.”

So, this pattern of looking for the hand of God shows us his hand and then trains us to better observe his hand in the future.

After spiritually wading through the unexpected financial losses and hardship of the recession, I still want financial success, payment of my debts and future prosperity. Yet I prize most of all the understanding of this spiritual cycle that Elder Bednar describes and that I’ve applied.

“A grateful person is rich in contentment. An ungrateful person suffers in the poverty of endless discontentment.” Elder David A. Bednar

This pattern to count even the subtlest blessing has brought me closer to Him. And that is the best takeaway I’ve learned about faith and finances.


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