Friday, May 18, 2018

Elder D. Todd Christofferson on always remembering the Savior

Elder D. Todd Christofferson (b. January 24, 1945) was called to the Seventy in 1993, and as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2008.
"The sacramental prayers confirm that one of the central purposes of that ordinance as instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ is that we might 'always remember him.' Remembering the Savior obviously includes remembering His Atonement which is symbolically represented by the bread and water as emblems of His suffering and death. We must never forget what He did for us, for without His Atonement and Resurrection life would have no meaning, whereas, given the reality of both the Atonement and the Resurrection, our lives have eternal, divine possibilities.
"I would like today to elaborate with you what it means to 'always remember him' (D&C 20:77, 79). I will mention three aspects of remembering Him:  first, seeking to know and follow His will; second, recognizing and accepting our obligation to answer to Christ for every thought, word, and action; and third, living with faith and without fear in the realization that we can always look to the Savior for the help we need.
"First, remembering the Lord certainly means doing His will. The sacramental blessing on the bread commits us to be willing to take upon us the name of the Son, 'and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given [us]' (D&C 20:77)....
"You and I can put Christ at the center of our lives and become one with Him as He is one with the Father (see John 17:20-23). We could begin by stripping everything out of our lives and then putting it back together in priority order with the Savior at the center. We would first put in place the things that make it possible always to remember Him—frequent prayer, studying and pondering the scriptures, thoughtful study of apostolic teachings, weekly preparation to partake of the sacrament worthily, Sunday worship, recording and remembering what the Spirit and experience teach us about discipleship. There may be other things that will come to your mind particularly suited to you at this point in your life. Once adequate time and means for these matters, for centering our lives in Christ, have been put in place, we can begin to add other responsibilities and things of value insofar as time and resources will permit, such as education and family responsibilities. In this way the essential will not be crowded out of our lives by the merely good, and things of lesser value will take a lower priority or fall away altogether."
- D. Todd Christofferson, "Always Remember Him," BYU-Idaho devotional, January 27, 2009
Click here to read the full talk

In this address to BYU-Idaho students, Elder Christofferson considers possible meanings of the phrase "always remember Him" and how they might bless our lives. We often think we know what that sacramental instruction is asking us to do, but I was grateful for the three additional suggestions that were offered here. Review the complete talk for details!

To "always remember Him" certainly does begin with holding in our thoughts the unmatched and eternal blessings of His sacrifice and Atonement on our behalf. But it's the additional implications of that remembering that Elder Christofferson expands upon. What will that mean in our lives, what will it lead us to do, how will it change us?

The first important implication is that we will be filled with the desire to be obedient, to "know and follow His will" in all things. Elder Christofferson suggests an interesting application of how we might be led to do that:

What a wonderful, challenging exercise, to mentally "deconstruct" our life and put it back together in order of the things that matter most! If we first make sure the things that focus our lives on Christ are in their proper place and priority in life, then we can "begin to add other responsibilities and things of value" including family duties, work, education, etc. This would ensure that the most important things of life truly do take precedence. But it will likely mean minimizing or eliminating other things that may be taking more time than they deserve.

What a profound challenge, as we strive to "always remember Him"!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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