In the episode “High Noon in Mayberry,” Sheriff Andy Taylor awaits Luke Comstock’s visit. Years prior, Taylor had wounded and captured Comstock, who spent time in prison. Now, Andy, Barney, and Aunt Bea stress over Comstock’s intentions.

Comstock arrives at the Taylor home carrying a shotgun. Then he explains what happened in prison. “I had a chance to review my whole life…All I could think of was: What a waste. So, I made up my mind then and there I was gonna make something of myself, sheriff. Today I own a chain of television repair stores. I’m leading a good life. If you hadn’t laid me up, who knows where I’d be today?”

“You come all the way down here to tell me that?” asks the sheriff.

“That and to bring you a little gift of appreciation.” (It is a Remington Model 1100 semi-automatic, a nice hunting gun!)

The plot recalls the incident when Jesus healed ten lepers. Only one of them realized his debt of gratitude. He turned back, glorified God, and gave thanks. This incident is recorded in history to remind you to realize your blessings and return with humility to give thanks for someone’s contribution to your good. Giving thanks to God is a component of faith. “Your faith has saved you,” Jesus told the former leper (Luke 17:19).

Psychologists say gratitude is vital for human health and happiness. It builds and maintains relationships and keeps the ego in check.  It builds emotional maturity and resilience by reinforcing positive memories. To that end, here are three thoughts to inspire your gratitude to God and others:

(1) God has given you life, family, and friends. You have senses to experience the world, and have enjoyed food, air, water, medical care to keep you to this moment.

(2) You experience beauty, love, and hope, along with joy, peace, and security.

(3) It is more impactful to thank someone for who they are, not just for what they have done.

Giving thanks is not easy because of human pride and selfishness. But gratitude to God is food for your soul. “I do not believe that a baby gets his best physical food by sucking his thumb,” said G.K. Chesterton, “nor that a man gets his best moral food by denying his soul’s dependence on God. I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Double your happiness by expressing gratitude. Build relationships and boost your mental health. Visit someone with a gift. Thank God for the basic elements of your human existence and for the hope of eternity. Let this Thanksgiving Day be your high noon when you realize, return, and give thanks to whom it is due.