I often think about the story of the ten lepers who were healed by the Savior. I imagine myself in their places, dealing with my greatest affliction on my worst days. If the Savior saw fit to free my heart and soul of the things which hold me back so fully, I feel like my heart would burst with freedom. The fact that only one of these lepers returned to give thanks for liberation from this captivity of sorts never fails to surprise me. How could such a life-altering miracle not be recognized? I wouldn’t have been able to withhold my thanks. I do recognize that there have been times when some small answer has come and my thanks came a little late, but it came.
True gratitude is not only the expression of thanks, but it includes the recognition of the giver and a desire to “pay it forward”. Thanking Heavenly Father for the blessings He has given us in word is important. Recognizing the blessings which He has given us by deed is something altogether different.
If we are truly grateful for the food we have on our table, would we not be more willing to share it with those who may not have anything to eat? King Benjamin said, “For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?” (Mosiah 4:19) If we must ask the Lord for our needs to be met, then we ought to share with those who also have needs.
I have been blessed with a functioning vehicle. There have been many times when I have had the thought that our old quirky van has been a huge blessing, knowing it was provided by the Lord in a miraculous way. I could be more willing to use it for His purposes rather than strictly for my own needs.
We can thank our Heavenly Father by being the Savior’s hands on the earth. There will always be a need for comfort. If we truly looked around at church, in our neighborhoods, workplaces or wherever we often find ourselves, we will find people who need to be lifted. Could we not be the ones to bring the beautiful message of hope through Jesus Christ to those who are drowning in despair. Could we not cheer on those who feel defeated?
The Living Christ document includes the phrase, “His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill.”1 Let that be our mission to spread His gospel through kindness and goodness, in gratitude for the many blessings we receive from the Lord.
Showing gratitude is an action word that means more than saying thank you. It includes how we live our lives. It entails how we treat others, how we see the world and what kind of attitude we adopt from what we see. If we are grateful for the earth, then wouldn’t we want to take better care of it? Would we not keep the oceans and beaches clean for the animal life who depend upon them? If we are grateful for clean water, would we be more careful about wasting it or making sure that we don’t pollute it? If we are truly grateful for our loved ones, would we work a little harder at showing love, patience, and appreciation? If we love and appreciate our Heavenly Father, wouldn’t we want to bring his family back to Him by taking part in His work?
We can show our thanks to Him by going about doing good as our Savior did, and He did it all the while glorifying His Father in Heaven.