Gratitude and Thanksgiving


(Adapted from an October 3, 1982, conference address. See Ensign, November 1982, pages 49–51.)

It has been said that “an ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from” (Timothy Dexter, The New Dictionary of Thoughts, Garden City, N. Y.: Standard Book Co., p. 308).

Jesus revealed His feeling about ingratitude when only one of ten lepers who had been healed turned back and gave thanks. Luke tells us that “it came to pass, as [Jesus] went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

“And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:

“And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

“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.

“And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

“And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

“There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” (Luke 17:11–18.)

Christ set an example in giving thanks when, at the Last Supper, “as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

“And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.” (Mark 14:22–23; italics added.)

To the Lord Jesus, who bought us with a great price, we owe an undying debt of gratitude. It is impossible for us, weak mortals as we are, to fully comprehend and appreciate the suffering He endured on the cross so that He might gain for us victory over death. And even less can we understand the suffering He endured in Gethsemane so that we might obtain forgiveness of our sins. “Which suffering,” He said, “caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink” (D&C 19:18).

The Lord has revealed that we must give Him credit for our gifts and our accomplishments and be grateful for all things that He confers upon us. I am grateful to Him for the privilege of being in His service. I appreciate the opportunities that I have and hope that I can serve Him in some way and show my gratitude the rest of my life.

[illustration] Painting courtesy Providence Lithograph Co.