Elder and Sister Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Thanksgiving Day devotional, November 28, 2019
Elder and Sister Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Thanksgiving Day devotional, November 28, 2019
- Sister Andersen shared that she was mindful of how often a communication of appreciation to her Heavenly Father often seems limited compared to the list of concerns and pleading that follow in prayer. She said that a “thank-you for my many blessings” is not sufficient. An extended expression of gratitude for blessings is fitting for every day and that such an effort by the missionaries would help lead to more real and fervent prayers.
- Elder Andersen reminded the missionaries of expressing gratitude in all things. The Savior Himself did so, commanding that we should all thank the Lord in all things (Doctrine and Covenants 59:7), and He also said “Father, I thank thee” (John 11.41).
- “On your mission, there will be times when you will need to think of all the things you are thankful for as you confront unimagined challenges. As you keep a spirit of thankfulness, you will have courage to overcome these obstacles.”
- He listed things we should be thankful for:
- Our very lives — “Before all else, we should thank our Heavenly Father for our very lives, that we breathe, that we have the amazing experiences of mortality, the privilege of growing our faith, learning to love within a family, and the joys of friendship that surround us. Independent of our challenges, difficulties, stresses, temptations, and pains, the very fact that you and I have life is a gift beyond price.”
- Our ability to choose — “The ability to choose, decide, and shape one’s desires and determine those things we will love and those we will discard is a great gift. Choice is the key to the Father’s plan presented in the premortal life and how it was opposed by Lucifer and then fulfilled by Christ. We are agents unto ourselves, with theh freedom to think and grow and choose, even realizing that at times we will make mistakes. Each of you has chosen to serve the Lord and bear witness of Jesus Christ, and as you remain true and faithful, you will see it as one of the most important choices of your life. Faith is not only a feeling – it is a decision. The ability to seek within ourselves the gift of faith is an enormous spiritual blessing. When we determine to choose the right, to keep the commandments, to be unafraid of letting our will be swallowed up in the will of the Father, we are giving to Him one of the very few things that is truly ours to give. This is the choice you are making in coming on your mission. As you submit your will to His during the coming months, you will feel His Spirit and His approval.”
- Our Savior Jesus Christ — “Let us be forever thankful for Jesus Christ. For me, there are no words in any language to truly describe the majesty, the power, the glory, or the love of the Son of God. Consider the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem, His three-year mortal ministry, the raising of Lazarus, His final days of mortality in Jerusalem, the instituting of the Sacrament, washing the Apostle’s feet, His suffering for mankind’s transgressions and pains in Gethsemane, His betrayal on the Mount of Olives, the mocking and scourging and cross-bearing within the city walls, His being nailed to a cross, and His resurrection from the tomb. Because He lives and rose from the tomb, all mankind will be resurrected. Let us forever be filled with the awe, gratitude, and wonder of the Savior’s sacred Atonement.”