COLUMN: ‘In every thing give thanks’

Published 6:00 pm Saturday, November 18, 2023

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“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). 

Gratitude is a defining characteristic of disciples of Jesus Christ. Being aware of and acknowledging God’s hand in our lives is a core component of the Christlike attributes of meekness, humility, and faith. 

When Jesus healed ten lepers, only one returned to express thanks for the miracle. Jesus linked gratitude with faith when he said: “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?…Go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:11-19). 

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ teaches us to “live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you” (Alma 34:38).

Giving thanks when life is rosy, the sun is shining, and everything is going according to our plans is not a real stretch of faith.

But it takes a special kind of faith to continue “giving thanks always for all things” (Ephesians 5:20), even when life doesn’t go our way. 

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, an Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, emphasized the importance of gratitude even in the midst of personal challenges and trials. 

He taught: “When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.”

Living in gratitude even during dark times can be challenging. Elder Uchtdorf continued: 

“It might sound contrary to the wisdom of the world to suggest that one who is burdened with sorrow should give thanks to God. But those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.”

Finally, Elder Uchtdorf taught that we should not wait until after a problem has been resolved or a storm has passed to be grateful. Calling such an attitude “terribly shortsighted,” he testified: 

“True gratitude is an expression of hope and testimony. It comes from acknowledging that we do not always understand the trials of life but trusting that one day we will…

“How blessed we are if we recognize God’s handiwork in the marvelous tapestry of life. Gratitude to our Father in Heaven broadens our perception and clears our vision. It inspires humility and fosters empathy toward our fellowmen and all of God’s creation.”

At this Thanksgiving season, may we each bow our heads and open our hearts to our Heavenly Father for His many blessings, and then show true gratitude by caring for those in need.

Dr. Brent Roberts is the Branch President in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Assistant Provost for Academic Outreach and Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at