Tuesday, 9 February 2010

An Attitude of Gratitude

One of the greatest chapters exemplifying the proper attitude of gratitude is, in my opinion, Alma chapter 26. I cannot read this chapter without feeling the desire to rejoice myself, with Ammon and his brethren, and find my self wanting, as it were, to shout praises to God from the housetops.

In pondering on this chapter, who can help but wonder, along with Ammon, at the great success that he and his brethren had in bringing thousands of Lamanites to the truth. Who can read of this miraculous change of heart, among a blood thirsty people full of complete hate an animosity toward the Nephites, and not feel to rejoice and give praise to almighty God for His everlasting mercy and grace. Well may we ask, along with Ammon, what are the reasons for rejoicing. Here they are as given in this wonderful chapter:
  • God saw fit, in His infinite mercy, to deliver Ammon and his brethren from their own sinful and polluted state and made them instruments in the hand of God in bringing thousands of the Lamanites to a knowledge of the truth
  • Ammon and his brethren were given the same promise that has been renewed in our day that if they would "thrust in their cycle with their might" they would bring in a great harvest; this promise was literally fulfilled
  • The converted Lamanites were gathered into the garners of the Lord of the Harvest and kept safe
  • In God's strength Ammon and his brethren were able to work many mighty miracles in the land
  • Thousands of Lamanites were brought to rejoice in Christ's redeeming love because of the power of God's word
  • Those who truly repent, exercise faith, bring forth good works, and pray continually can be instruments in God's hands to bring thousands of souls to repentance just as Ammon and his brethren did
  • Ammon and his brethren had the courage to come up out of the Land of Zarahemla, despite the taunting of many of the Nephites who laughed them to scorn and said it would be better to destroy the Lamanites out of the land rather than try to convince them of their wicked ways and convert them to the Lord
  • When Ammon and his brethren were depressed and discouraged in the wilderness, God comforted them and gave them the strength and courage to go forward with their mission
  • Through all their travails of teaching the Lamanites, going from house to house, going to their temples, teaching them in their streets, being mocked and spit upon, being smitten on their cheeks, being stoned, being in bonds and cast into prison, the Lord sustained and strengthened Ammon and his brethren
  • Because Ammon's and his brethren's efforts among the Lamanites, their converts had a great love toward each other and toward them -- so much love that they were willing to lay down their lives rather than do harm or hurt to another
  • God has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding and his everlasting love and mercy are extended toward all those who will repent and believe on his name
Oh the goodness and mercy of our God! What a blessing for us today to be able to read this wonderful account of Ammon and his brethren. Does it not give you pause to think that the same blessings that came to them can come to each of us if we will follow the formula described--repenting, exercising faith, bringing forth good works, and praying continually. Is not the field just as white and ready to harvest now as it was then? What of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, China, India, Indonesia, and dozens of other locations where, at present, Christ's teaching have very little influence, and where thousands, if not millions, of misguided individuals bear a hatred towards Christians, particularly American Christians, not unlike that of the Lamanites. On more than one occasion President Monson has admonished members of the church to pray that the gospel can move forward in those regions. In this past conference, in his opening address, President Monson stated:

I would ask that your faith and prayers continue to be offered in behalf of those areas where our influence is limited and where we are not allowed to share the gospel freely at this time. Miracles can occur as we do so (Welcome To General Conference, Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, Nov. 2010 6).

How marvelous is the opportunity we have and how great the responsibility! May we be blessed to live up to it.