King Benjamin wanted his people to recognize the extraordinary gifts they had received from God. It is impossible to be grateful enough, he said. God has given us far more than we can even adequately acknowledge:
If you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—
I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.Mosiah 2:20-21
Benjamin’s starting point is the fact of our creation: “In the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him” (Mosiah 2:23).
One definition of “grace” is “the free and unmerited favor of God.” We generally associate grace with expected future blessings, such as the resurrection or our ultimate sanctification. Elder David A. Bednar has taught us to also think of grace in the present tense. He uses the phrase “the enabling power of the Atonement” to remind us that God’s grace can be an active force in our lives today. (See “In the Strength of the Lord,” Brigham Young University Devotional Address, 23 October 2001.)
And as King Benjamin reminds us, grace is also something we have received in the past. This earth, with its magnificent beauty, and our bodies, which He endowed with “the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7) are gifts we have freely received from our loving Heavenly Father. (For an excellent discussion of the Creation as a manifestation of God’s grace, see the Maxwell Institute podcast, “Adam Miller’s Grace Is Not God’s Backup Plan,” starting at 33:29.)
Today I will be grateful for the grace I have already received from God. I will remember that I am indebted to Him for giving me life, and I will strive to serve Him in a way that demonstrates my gratitude for that gift.