Wanting to serve others seems to be a natural extension when we become grateful. We realize how blessed we truly are and desire to share those blessings with others. One of my favorite church hymns is Because I Have Been Given Much.
Because I have been given much, I too must give;
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live;
I shall divide my gifts from thee
With every brother that I see
Who has the need of help from me.
Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care,
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
My roof’s safe shelter overhead,
That he too may be comforted.
Because I have been blessed by thy great love, dear Lord,
I’ll share thy love again, according to thy word.
I shall give love to those in need;
I’ll show that love by word and deed:
Thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.
— Grace Nowell Crowell
I love the concept it teaches that our thanks to Him is really only shown by the service we extend to others. Offering ourselves to the Lord to do His work here on earth is the greatest act of gratitude. “What can I do to brighten someone’s day today?” is a question we could ask in our morning prayers. It can be as simple as reading a book to a child, offering a kind word to a store clerk, or sending a card in the mail. Small and simple things many times mean the most to those who are the receivers of that gift.
On of my husband’s favorite stories involves a humble, ordinary man by the name of Joseph Millet. Called on a mission to Canada, he went alone and on foot. In Canada, during the wintertime, he said:
“I felt my weakness. A poor, ill-clothed, ignorant boy in my teens, thousands of miles from home among strangers.
“The promise in my blessing and the encouraging words of President [Brigham] Young to me, with the faith I had in the gospel, kept me up.
“Many times I would turn into the woods … in some desolate place with a heart full, wet eyes, to call on my master for strength or aid.
“I believed the Gospel of Christ. I had never preached it. I knew not where to find it in the scriptures.”
That didn’t matter so much, for, “I had to give my Bible to the boatman at Digby for passage across the sound.”
Years later, Joseph Millett, with his large family, was suffering through very, very difficult times. He wrote in his journal:
“One of my children came in and said that Brother Newton Hall’s folks was out of bread, had none that day.
“I divided our flour in a sack to send up to Brother Hall. Just then Brother Hall came.
“Says I, ‘Brother Hall, are you out of flour?’
“‘Brother Millett, we have none.’
“‘Well, Brother Hall, there is some in that sack. I have divided and was going to send it to you. Your children told mine that you was out.’
“Brother Hall began to cry. He said he had tried others, but could not get any. He went to the cedars and prayed to the Lord, and the Lord told him to go to Joseph Millett.
“‘Well Brother Hall, you needn’t bring this back. If the Lord sent you for it you don’t owe me for it.’”
That night Joseph Millett recorded a remarkable sentence in his journal:
“You can’t tell me how good it made me feel to know that the Lord knew there was such a person as Joseph Millett” (Diary of Joseph Millett, holograph, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City).