If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. –Thomas S. Monson
Preface: I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Our church does not have a paid ministry and members are asked to help out with everything from custodial duties and grounds maintenance to lessons and “sermons” on Sundays. When I use the word sermon, I use it loosely, because although there is a topic assigned, it is left up to the person who has been asked to speak what he or she wants to talk about. Sermons, or “talks” as we call them, ranged from a few short minutes to thirty minutes and two or three people are asked to speak every Sunday. Starting at the age of twelve Young Men and Women are asked to give a three to five minute talk about once a year. Last week Grasshopper had the opportunity to give a talk. He did such a good job and didn't seem nervous at all. I thought it would be fun to share his talk, along with one of the songs we sang during the meeting.
I was asked to give a talk on gratitude today. Gratitude means thankfulness and appreciation for the things we own, the house we live in, to even simple things like thankfulness for a nice warm bed to sleep in. President Monson said, “do material possessions make us happy and grateful? Perhaps momentarily. However, those things which provide deep and lasting happiness and gratitude are the things which money cannot buy: our families, the gospel, good friends, our health, our abilities, the love we receive from those around us. Unfortunately, these are some of the things we allow ourselves to take for granted.”
In Luke, Jesus tells the parable of the ten lepers. Leprosy is a contagious skin disease, which eventually leads to death. Ten lepers approached Jesus and asked to be cleansed and so Jesus told them to go to the priests. On the way they saw that they were cleansed. They went on their way and only one man returned to thank Jesus. Jesus performed a wonderful miracle for these ten men, but only one was grateful enough to return and thank Him.
Thanksgiving is one of the best times to show gratitude because the holiday focuses on thankfulness and gratitude. But we should look for things to be thankful for all year round. President Monson taught us that gratitude is a divine principle. He said, “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 noblest of virtues. Someone has said that ‘gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.’”
President Joseph F. Smith taught how to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. He said, “the grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life.” He continued: “Pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!”
Prayer is the key to having a grateful heart. President Monson taught, “A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. Someone has said that ‘feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’”
If we work on having a more grateful attitude, we’re a lot more likely to be spiritually strong and happy. I’m thankful for a lot of things, like my house, my neighborhood, the school I go to, even my psychical abilities, and I’m also thankful that I could come up and give a talk. There’s almost always a way to be thankful for anything.