Showing gratitude

"And it came to pass, as he 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? Where are the nine?

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

How many of us are like the nine lepers who, after receiving a great blessing, fail to give thanks?

Most of the time we don't hesitate to ask our Heavenly Father for help. It may be in regards to work, a family situation, a matter of health or the need to do well on an upcoming test at school.

And that's appropriate, because our Heavenly Father desires to bless His children. He, of course, wants us to do our part. He always does His.

But after receiving His help, do we show the appropriate thanks?

The Lord has declared through revelation: "Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things." (Doctrine and Covenants 59:7.)

The Lord expects us to be like the one leper who returned to give thanks and not the forgetful nine. Those who fail to properly give thanks for their blessings will suffer the consequences.

"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.)

As President Gordon B. Hinckley noted while he was the first counselor in the First Presidency, "Our society is afflicted by a spirit of thoughtless arrogance unbecoming those who have been so magnificently blessed. How grateful we should be for the bounties we enjoy.

"Absence of gratitude is the mark of the narrow, uneducated mind. It bespeaks a lack of knowledge and the ignorance of self-sufficiency. It expresses itself in ugly egotism and frequently in wanton mischief. (Ensign, August 1988.)

Ingratitude is not a new problem. Consider these words written by Abraham Lincoln in 1863:

"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in number, wealth, and power as no other Nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. . . . We have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become . . . too proud to pray to the God who made us.

"It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our . . . sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." (John Wesley Hill, Abraham Lincoln, Man of God, 4th ed., New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, p. 391.)

Whatever our circumstances, we have much to be thankful for. We have been born in the latter days when the kingdom of God has been restored to the earth. Temples dot the earth so that we might bind our families for eternity. There are living prophets to tell us what the Lord would have us do.

And what would the Lord have us do to show Him how grateful we are for our abundant blessings?

He, gratefully, has provided the answer: "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15.)

One of those commandments is to give thanks. It not only is something we should do but is something we should want to do.