A thankful heart

"God has two dwelling places; one in heaven, the other in a thankful heart, which O Lord grant to me." (Sir Izaak Walton, 1593-1683, English author.)

Anciently, the psalmist admonished: "O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people."Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works." (Ps. 105:1-2.)

The Savior, to whom all the world owes the greatest debt of gratitude, encountered people with ungrateful hearts. The book of Luke tells of one out of ten individuals who expressed gratitude for the blessing of healing:

"And as he

JesusT 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.

"And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." (Luke 17:12-19.)

In the latter-days, as in the days of old, the Lord expects us to receive with grateful hearts the blessings He heaps upon us. In this dispensation, He has said:

"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." (D&C 78:19.)

It has been said, "While gratitude may be one of the least of the virtues, ingratitude is one of the greatest of the vices." The Lord must be the One we thank most profoundly and most frequently for the many blessings He has given us. Also, we should express gratitude to those among us who bless our lives. The beauty and eloquence of an expression of gratitude is reflected in a newspaper story published about 35 years ago:

"The District of Columbia police auctioned off about 100 unclaimed bicycles Friday. One dollar,' said an 11 year-old boy as the bidding opened on the first bike. The bidding, however, went much higher.One dollar,' the boy repeated hopefully each time another bike came up.

"The auctioneer, who has been auctioning stolen or lost bikes for 43 years noticed that the boy's hopes seemed to soar highest whenever a racer was put up.

"There was one racer left. Then the bidding mounted to $8.00. `Sold to that boy over there for $9.00,' said the auctioneer. He took $8.00 from his own pocket and asked the boy for his dollar. The youngster turned it over - in pennies, nickles, dimes, and quarters - took his bike and started to leave. But he went only a few feet. Carefully parking his new possession, he went back, gratefully threw his arms around the auctioneer's neck, and cried."

When was the last time we felt gratitude as deeply as did this boy? The deeds others perform in our behalf might not be as poignant, but certainly there are kind acts done in our behalf that warrant our expressions of gratitude.

Genuine gratitude is expressed in actions, not just in words. In one of his conference addresses, President David O. McKay said: "Giving thanks means, . . . a fullness of thanks, which is the outward expression of a grateful feeling. Gratitude is the feeling itself. That is in the heart. Thankfulness is measured by the number of words; gratitude is measured by the nature of our actions. Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude; gratitude the completion of thankfulness." (Conference report, October 1955.)

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed