As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, a day we utilize in the United States to give thanks for our blessings, it’s a great time to reflect on our gratitude. What is gratitude? Gratitude is a virtue that teaches us to never forget the many benefits we’ve received from God and our neighbor. King David expressed what gratitude is in Psalm 103:2 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits.” This virtue allows us to always keep in our mind and in our heart the benefits that we have received.
As we reflect on our personal gratitude, we must also ask ourselves: How do I demonstrate my gratitude? Gratitude is demonstrated through obedience to the commandments of God and with love towards our neighbor. In other words, if we are grateful to God, we will obey his will and his commandments. Our life will reflect that we are following his commandments in our daily actions. This includes all his commandments, not just the ones that I prefer or that I like. Furthermore, gratitude is also demonstrated with our love towards our neighbor. We must care for our families, friends, and neighbors. Being helpful to one another and showing love to one another will always bring great outcomes. Thus, it’s important for us to realize that gratitude is not demonstrated by just expressing words like, “I’m grateful” or “I’m thankful.” The virtue of gratitude is demonstrated with our actions in our daily living.
There is an example in the scriptures that is found in Luke 8:26-39 that illustrates the actions of a person with this virtue. This passage describes the event when a man from the country of the Gadarenes was healed from his torment. After the man received this benefit, he did not forget who helped him. The virtue of gratitude began to move the man as he begged the Lord to allow him to be at his side. The man was looking for a way to demonstrate his gratitude. However, Jesus had something different in mind for that man. The Lord responded by saying,“Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you (Luke 8:39).” So what did the man do? Did he get upset because Jesus did not allow him to be at his side like he wished to do so? NO. The man obeyed the will of the Lord. The narration of this magnificent event tells us that the man went on his way and proclaimed through the entire city the great things that the Lord had done for him. We clearly can see that the man demonstrated his gratitude with his actions.
Therefore, let us reflect during these days on this virtue of gratitude. Let’s ask ourselves: How do I show my gratitude to God and to others? Let this season be the time when we move to show our loved ones that we are grateful for all the benefits received. Let this season be the time to act and show God that we are eternally grateful. However, let it only be the beginning of a daily demonstration of our gratitude to God and to others. To conclude, I would like to extend an invitation to visit a congregation of The Light of the World faith where you can learn about all the commandments of God, so that we may then demonstrate our gratitude by following them. If you live in Juneau, we invite you to join us at: 1997 Dunn St. Suite 3 any day at 6:30 p.m. God bless you all!
• Joab Cano is a missionary for the Light of the World Church. ”Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Friday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.