Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday. This is a day set apart in our nation to proclaim our gratitude for our many blessings. It is a day for expressing thanks to God. We should give thanks in all things and at all times. In fact, our lives reflect whether or not we feel gratitude because we always have enough when we are thankful for what we have.
We are commanded to be grateful. In fact, showing gratitude is not only a commandment, but it is a commandment with a promise.
Ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with (Doctrine and Covenants 46:32).
And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments (Doctrine and Covenants 59:21).
And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more (Doctrine and Covenants 78:19).
The last scripture promises us that our blessings will be multiplied if we are grateful for what we have. Most of us are familiar with the Parable of the Ten Lepers. Leprosy was a terrible disease that caused much physical suffering as well as social and emotional problems. At the time of Jesus Christ the people who suffered from leprosy lived isolated lives and were required to proclaim themselves as being “unclean” as shown in Luke 17:11-19.
11 And it came to pass as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
We should all take this lesson to heart. We know that the one leper was healed because he had the faith to be healed and was grateful for the blessing. We do not know what happened in the long run with the other nine lepers. Were they healed, or did their leprosy return?
Obviously, God is aware of whether or not we are grateful for the blessings that He pours down upon us as individuals, families, and nations. The following statement by President Brigham Young tells us that ingratitude may cause the loss of blessings. “The Lord is more merciful than we are; but there may be a termination to His gifts, if we do not receive them with gratitude and take good care of them when we have them in our possession” (“Cultivating Gratitude, Humility, and Honesty,” Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:Brigham Young).
President Young’s successor, President John Taylor named some blessings and taught that we are indebted to God for each and every blessing in our life.
If we have life, or health, or possessions; if we have children, and friends and homes, if we have the light of truth, the blessings of the everlasting gospel, the revelations of God, the holy priesthood, with all its blessings and government and rule, all these, and every true enjoyment that we possess come from God. We do not always realize this, but it is nevertheless true that to God we are indebted for every good and perfect gift (“Temporal Blessings and the Law of Tithing, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:John Taylor).
Since we are commanded to have gratitude to God for our many blessings, we must realize that ingratitude is a sin that requires repentance. If we are ungrateful for what we have, we bring darkness into our lives by wanting more and more. When we are grateful for what we have – even if it is little, we move closer to God and bring His light into our lives.
President Thomas S. Monson is one of the most positive people in the world and seems to always look on the bright side of whatever is happening, as shown by the following quote.
This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.
We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the nobles of virtues (“The Noblest of Virtues,” A Future as Bright as Your Faith, p. 358).