I had the opportunity tonight to speak to a Relief Society in Riverton. The theme was gratitude. As I prepared I was reminded of one of my favorite stories of gratitude found in the twelfth chapter of Nehemiah. If you read the standard works with us you will remember this story.
If not, then let me introduce you to a priest named Mattaniah, who was over the thanksgiving.
I am fascinated by him.
After reading about him I decided for my next job I want to be the person over the thanksgiving.
Imagine what would fill your thoughts if you were constantly in charge of giving thanks.
What if it was your job "to praise and to give thanks" all day every single day? (Nehemiah 12:24)
After the walls of Jerusalem were finished being built by Nehemiah and his people they all gathered together to celebrate.
Two great companies were sent up upon the wall on the day of dedication to give thanks...
"Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies of them that gave thanks." (Nehemiah 12:31)
I can picture Ezra leading one company with musical instruments down the one side of the wall, the other company walking down the other side of the wall with Nehemiah following behind. Both companies appointed for one reason ––to give thanks.
I would have loved to have been there on that day to witness the thanksgiving, the rejoicing, the great joy
...so great that it was heard even afar off.
"Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off." (Nehemiah 12:43)
...God had made them rejoice with great joy...
I wonder if every day could be a day like that...filled with rejoicing and great joy and thanksgiving.
I think it could.
So today I have decided to put myself in charge of the thanksgiving.
Starting from sun up I am going to fill my thoughts with gratitude. With rejoicing.
With giving thanks.
Just like President Kimball said, today "the breaking of the day will find me on my knees," as I ask the Lord to make me rejoice with great joy, like Nehemiah did.
For the whole day. With every thought.