What does it mean to be an unprofitable servant?  What will our children be like when we become old and gray….(may be there already for some of us)?   Will they be gracious and thankful for the many sacrifices and opportunities afforded them throughout their rearing years or will they be full of contempt and anger because everything didn’t turn out their way?  Will they look at the lessons, sports, family trips, gifts as learning tools to enable them to further their life’s learning process and take them a step further to reach out and help lift, teach or give to another?   On the flip side, perhaps they were given so much, they now expect even more to the point their inheritance wasn’t what they had hoped it to be or they did not become the person they wanted to be and thus lash out or place blame on someone else.   The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”

How do we instill in our children a grateful heart?  Should we start by example as we strive to live with more gratitude daily.  A grateful heart… comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives.  Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love. President Thomas S. Monson

I love the talk King Benjamin gave his people when he said, “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 soul that ye would be unprofitable servants.  And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.  Mosiah 2:21-22

Are children overly pampered and seem entitled?  I fear there are way too many bribes to get our children to do things and I know I’m victim of this procedure…if you do this job, I’ll pay you x amount or if you do your chores, I’ll take you to the movies.  Back in the day, children were taught to work hard and hard was the labor needed to be done.  Children were expected to go the extra mile not just doing the minimal amount but making sure to please the parents by shinning and spiffing extra things up.  These were just the basic requirements for living under the roof of the parents and were expected. What about the day in history when children had to serve their parents food and wait until the parents were finished before they were allowed to eat?  I don’t believe in this protocol, but I am amazed of the dichotomy shift in children’s social behavior and entitlement expectation today.

Avoidance of the title “unprofitable servant” lies in gratitude for all that has been given to us thus helping to appreciate not only what our own parents have given to us but especially what our God has given us which gets passed intuitively down to our children.  Jesus taught through his parable of the unprofitable servant “to ensure that His disciples understood the point of this parable, the Savior emphasized, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). Since the master had provided for all of the servant’s needs, the servant’s efforts were but the performance of what he owed the master and what was already his duty to do. Elder W. Rolfe Kerr      

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