An honest, sincere compliment can make my day, but of any compliment I could receive, a compliment from the Lord exceeds all. His vast array of ways to compliment surpasses and defies the limits of both written and spoken language. The Lord’s compliments come in the form of ideas, blessings, inspirations, tender mercies, callings, and warnings, to name a few. His compliments come as holy communications engraved on heart and mind.
Sometimes He compliments entire congregations through His servants who act under His authority. I have been in a congregation to receive an apostolic blessing. I have been watching general conference at home, knowing that millions of others are watching too, and felt individually blessed when the prophet said: “I love you. The Lord loves you.” I have been in a sacrament meeting to feel the Lord’s spirit settle over the congregation like a cloud of glory.
The Lord told Moses to give a group blessing to Aaron and his sons and to put “my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them”:
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee,
And be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,
And give thee peace (Numbers 6:23-27).
The elderly King Benjamin gave a group blessing to his people assembled as families in tents at the temple. As their prophet and king, he blessed them, promised them, prophesied to them, gave them a name, and prayed for them. The power of this group blessing is seen in the group’s reaction: “They were filled with joy” (Mosiah 4:3).
Many times, the Lord compliments those who love and serve Him individually with the complimenting words: “Blessed art thou.” Here are few, of many, to illustrate:
- The Lord said it to Peter: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona for flesh and blood hath not revealed [my identity] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
- To Lehi: “Blessed art thou, Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee” (1 Nephi 2:1).
- To Nephi: “Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart” (1 Nephi 2:19) “because thou believest in the Son of the most high God” (1 Nephi 11:6).
- To Alma: “Blessed art thou, Alma… because of thy exceeding great faith in the words alone of my servant Abinadi. And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people” (Mosiah 26:15-17).
- To Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery: “Blessed art thou, for thou hast inquired of me” (D&C 6:14).
Has the Lord ever complimented you with the words “Blessed art thou”? No doubt He has in His own way. One way He compliments you is when you are called to a calling. One time, I was called to a second calling on top of a very demanding other calling. The bishop apologized and said, “I don’t know why, but this is what the Lord needs you to do, and it may just be for a short time. Nine months later, I was released. This happened almost fifteen years ago and the blessings continue to bless me (and others) today. Recently, I was praying about a calling I received that seemed too hard, more like impossible, for my situation. It was almost a repeat of the same words the bishop had said years before that came to my mind: “This is what I need you to do.”
Another way He acknowledges that He is pleased with you is when you are reading scripture and ideas come. On occasion, He seems to ask me questions about what I am reading. Recently, I was studying 1 Nephi 8 about Lehi’s tree of life vision. Honestly, I have mostly thought of Lehi as Nephi’s father. Then the thought came, “Do you not realize how significant Lehi is? I thought about that and continued reading. Then the thought came: “He is the father of many nations, a prophet among prophets.” Suddenly, I was thinking about the loss of the book of Lehi that went missing after Martin Harris took the manuscript home, which led me to think that I shouldn’t gloss over Lehi’s words we do have. I felt I needed to use them in the lesson I was preparing.
The Lord recognizes your efforts with a divine compliment when your temple recommend is signed, allowing you to enter doors under the inscription: “Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord.” I think about the privilege of acting as proxy for a woman who did not have the same privilege during her life. One day I was in the Gilbert, Arizona temple for the first time. After presenting my recommend at the recommend desk, I wasn’t sure where to go. A lovely temple worker dressed in white guided me to the dressing room. As we walked together, she whispered, “Is this your first time in this temple?” I nodded. She said: “There is a beautiful experience waiting for you here.” She was right. The Lord also complimented me when I was set apart as a temple ordinance worker. I treasure the privilege of doing the live session in the Salt Lake Temple with my husband. In sacred moments I was given insights, especially into Eve’s life. I know why she is referred to as “our glorious Mother Eve” (D&C 138:39).
The Lord expresses his love when you receive a warning. Warnings from the Spirit signal the Lord is specifically aware of you in the moment and wants you to know it. Some years ago, before credit cards were common, I was in charge of an event at a resort in which over a hundred people had to pay in cash to register. Two trusted friends were assigned to collect the money. All was going well until another individual introduced himself and told me he was sent by another person on the board to help with the finances. Suddenly, a warning spirit came over me. Long story short, even though he kept trying to insert himself into the money handling, I took charge of all the money, slept with thousands of dollars in my socks that night, and drove fifty miles one way, early the next morning, to deposit it in a bank. Almost three years later, I found out this individual went to jail for taking funds at similar functions.
You probably have family and friends who share with you ways in which the Lord is active in their lives. This week Kathy, who is over seventy, told me she was hiking with a friend when she slipped and fell into a ravine. Miraculously, she only had some scrapes and a couple of puncture wounds and was able to climb out. Linda told me how her adult son stopped by to say hello when she was having a down day. The biopsy showed that Cindy’s twelve-year-old granddaughter’s cancer is not in the lymph nodes. I was able to figure out how to make a two-minute movie for a grandchild. Bonnie’s prayers were answered when her unemployed daughter got a good job. Another friend told me she was able to watch the birth of the baby she and her husband are adopting.
“Oh,” you contend, “that’s just normal life. God isn’t complimenting you when you fall in a ravine, have a down day, get cancer, can’t figure out technology, need a job, or can’t conceive a baby.” Of course, those negative aspects are real life; they happen; they are going to continue. The blessing comes in knowing it is God who reveals His hand after bad things happen. The “blessed art thou” comes when the God of heaven communicates His love through the Holy Ghost.
We mortals tend to ignore the constant showering of blessings received. We fail to acknowledge the gracious hand of the Almighty in our lives. “Failing to acknowledge the gracious hand of the Almighty in our lives” has a name—ingratitude. William George Jordan said: “Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge, which is only returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good.” President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “The crime of ingratitude is one of the most prevalent and… one of the greatest with which mankind is afflicted. The more the Lord blesses us, the less we love Him.”
Our debt to our Heavenly Father is eternal. We cannot ever say, “I thank thee” often enough. When we do thank Him, it is our meager way of complimenting Him back.