November 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering – James 1 – Gratitude

November 2023 Come Follow Me MinisteringThe November 2023 Come, Follow Me Ministering Printable ties together Elder Gary B. Sabin’s 2023 October General Conference talk “Hallmarks of Happiness,” and this November’s “Come, Follow Me” lesson on James, with a focus on gratitude and covetousness.

You will never be happier than you are grateful by Elder Sabin

Download November 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable (4×6)

You can print these printables as 4×6 photo prints. My local drugstore prints them for just pennies. They are also a higher resolution if you want to enlarge them.

November 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering Message

James 1 – Contrasts Between Gratitude and Covetousness

As we prepare for both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, let’s take a look at the differences between gratitude and covetousness and how they change us. Elder Gary B. Sabin in his 2023 October General Conference talk “Hallmarks of Happiness” uses some imagery for gratitude that contrasts beautifully with what James shares about covetousness in the New Testament.

Gratitude Gives Birth to a Multitude of Other Virtues

In his talk, Elder Sabin uses Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 to teach how “gratitude gives birth to a multitude of other virtues.”

“And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.”
Doctrine and Covenants 78:19

Heavenly Father promises us blessings when we are grateful. But it is more than that, being thankful also prepares and qualifies us for those blessings. For example, being blessed with a happy family would not be possible if my heart did not know how to be grateful for a happy family. This is why Elder Sabin identifies gratitude as one of his “Hallmarks of Happiness.” Being grateful changes who we are and gives birth to all the other virtues that bring us happiness.

Desire Gives Birth to Sin

In contrast, James shares how lust can give birth to sin and lead to death. We can better understand the word “lust” as signifying sinful longing, evil desires, craving, or coveting.

James says:

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
James 1:14-15 (KJV)

I am sharing the NIV version of verse 15 as well because it teases out more of this birth imagery:

“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
James 1:15 (NIV)

You get this broken life cycle of lust. It starts as a flirtation with sinful longing, then leads to something that James equates to a kind of a pregnancy. But desire doesn’t give birth to anything desirable. Instead, you get sin. And when sin reaches its full maturity, it gives birth to death. This last image is especially striking because when we think of birth, we think of life. But with sin, we get the opposite. We get death.

Compare the difference between these two sets of scriptures. In Doctrine and Covenants, we are the receivers of all good things. There is a sense of abundance and riches. But in James, we are no longer the receivers. We are slaves to our wants. Our desires give us nothing. We give and we give to our desires, and we get death.

Every Perfect Gift is From Above

James warns us not to deceive ourselves into thinking that pursuing our lusts can bring happiness. And he uses another beautiful image to do that.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
James 1:17

In this verse, you see the contrast of two different kinds of light. One is from our Heavenly Father, who is the Father of lights. Everything is illuminated by Him. He does not vary nor deceive. He does not promise us something good so that He can trick us with something bad. In His brightness, everything is clear and reliable.

But not all sources of “light” are like that. As a flame flickers, the light varies and the shadows in the room shift and turn. It does not light up everything and the shadows can make it hard to see what is there. It is the difference between seeing by the light of the sun and walking in the dark with a candle. If you were going to buy a home, would you want to inspect that home during the day or by the light of a candle?

Approach Christmas with the “Father of Lights”

With Christmas stress and shopping around the corner, let’s use Thanksgiving to prepare ourselves to approach Christmas with the “Father of lights.” Let us see all that He has blessed us with, rather than letting our desires consume and stress us out.

Elder Sabin shares, “When nothing is expected and everything is appreciated, life becomes magical…. How our awareness would change if every morning we awoke with only the blessings we were grateful for the night before. Failure to appreciate our blessings can result in a sense of dissatisfaction, which can rob us of the joy and happiness that gratitude engenders.”

By discerning between God’s unwavering light and the flickering candle flame of our desires, we can prepare our hearts with thankfulness and embrace the radiance of His blessings this holiday season. As Elder Sabin reminds us, “you will never be happier than you are grateful.”

Ministering Handout

I had these cute little Thanksgiving treat boxes saved up, so I decided to bake some pumpkin bread to put inside!

Did you like this November 2023 Come Follow Me Ministering message? Find more Relief Society Ministering Printables for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the “Come, Follow Me” lessons into their own study. They are also perfect for Young Women’s, Relief Society, Sunday School, or Family Home Evening. I hope that these ministering printables will be a simple way to reach out to those we minister to.

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