Building the Kingdom of God
“Lesson 3: Building the Kingdom of God,” Young Women Manual 2, 9
Each young woman will recognize that through personal sacrifice she can help build the kingdom of God.
1. Provide paper and pencils for the class members.
2. Optional: Make a copy of Matthew 6:33 or one of the quotations used in the lesson for each young woman to take home.
3. Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.
SUGGESTED LESSON DEVELOPMENT
Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Council of the Twelve told the following story about service and sacrifice:
“Jose Garcia [was] from Old Mexico. Born in poverty but nurtured in faith, Jose prepared for a mission call. I was present the day his [mission] recommendation was received. There appeared the statement: ‘Brother Garcia will serve at great sacrifice to his family, for he is the means of much of the family support. He has but one possession—a treasured stamp collection—which he is willing to sell, if necessary, to help finance his mission.’
“President Kimball listened attentively as this statement was read to him, and then he responded: ‘Have him sell his stamp collection. Such sacrifice will be to him a blessing’ ” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1978, p. 83; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, p. 56).
Explain that as daughters of God, young women are given the responsibility to help build up the kingdom of God upon the earth. The kingdom of God is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At times this responsibility may require them to make great sacrifices.
Sacrifice Helps Us Prepare to Live in the Presence of God
Explain that building the kingdom of God here on earth requires sacrifices by many people.
As the young women share their ideas, list them on the chalkboard. Some examples might be—
1. Making an offering to God.
2. Giving up something valuable to oneself.
3. Giving of one’s time, talents, and possessions without wanting anything in return.
Explain that “sacrifice is the crowning test of the gospel. It means giving to the Lord whatever he requires of our time, our earthly possessions, and our energies to further his work” (Gospel Principles, chapter 26).
Have the class members locate and read Matthew 6:33.
Allow a few minutes to discuss the scripture. Bring out the following points in the discussion:
1. People have always been tried and tested to see if they are willing to give up personal desires and pleasures and put the things of God first in their lives.
2. Jesus set the perfect example of sacrifice when he willingly gave his life so that we could be saved from physical death by the resurrection and from our sins by repentance. Others have also sacrificed their lives so that we could have the gospel.
Explain that we may not be required to give our lives for the gospel, but we are required to make sacrifices in other ways.
• What are some ways in which we are asked to sacrifice? (Giving our time and energy to Church callings, overcoming fear so that we can share the gospel, paying tithing to the Lord, taking time to read the scriptures and serve our neighbors, giving up the praise of our friends when we do not go along with worldly fashions and habits.)
Point out that it is only by building the kingdom of God through our personal dedication and sacrifice that we can become like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Read the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith about sacrifice:
“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life. …
“It is in vain for persons to fancy to themselves that they are heirs with those, or can be heirs with them, who have offered their all in sacrifice, and by this means obtain faith in God and favor with him so as to obtain eternal life, unless they, in like manner, offer unto him the same sacrifice, and through that offering obtain the knowledge that they are accepted of him” (Lectures on Faith, comp. N. B. Lundwall [Salt Lake City: N. B. Lundwall, n.d.], p. 58).
Explain that the Lord’s people have always sacrificed greatly and in many ways because of their faith and works. Some have suffered hardships and ridicule for their beliefs. Some new converts to the Church have been rejected by their families because they joined the Church. Many have lost their jobs; some have lost their lives.
Encourage the young women to share any personal experiences they have had with making sacrifices or experiences that others have had.
Explain that the Lord has said that our sacrifices will not go unnoticed. Have the young women read Matthew 19:29. Discuss with them the promise given to those who sacrifice.
Point out that as our testimonies of the gospel increase, we become able to make greater sacrifices for the Lord and for others.
We Can Use Our Time, Talents, and Possessions to Build the Kingdom
Tell the following story:
Sister Villafranca lived in San Fernando, Mexico, far from a ward or branch. But she found a way to help build the kingdom in her area. She asked a group of fifty people—thirty of them investigators—to come to her small home to hear the missionaries teach the gospel. The missionary who taught them told what happened:
“As I began the discussion, the room was expectantly quiet. Every student listened with sincere interest. When I asked questions of the class, it seemed as if they had memorized the answers beforehand, and I found myself becoming more and more excited as it became apparent that I had not one golden contact, but a whole room full of them. When it came time to ask if, after they had studied, prayed, and listened to the rest of the discussions, they would be baptized, I was greeted with a chorus of ‘Sí.’ …
“Now, six years later, there is a branch with almost 200 members in San Fernando. It is there because of the missionary efforts of one stalwart sister who was not afraid to tell others about the gospel, and to do it with the faith that precedes any miracle” (Glenn V. Bird, “Miracle at San Fernando,” New Era, Jan. 1977, pp. 28–29).
Give each young woman a piece of paper and a pencil. Have her list some of the talents and possessions she has and how they might be used in helping to build the kingdom of God on the earth. Tell her not to write her name on the paper. Collect the papers and read each one aloud to the class. Discuss other ways these talents and possessions might be used to build the kingdom of God.
Explain that we all have talents and possessions that we can use to build the kingdom of God—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Perhaps we can feed or clothe someone in need or give shelter to a homeless person. When we pay our tithes and offerings, we are helping to build the kingdom. There may be times when we will be asked to give more, to make an even greater sacrifice. Although most of us will not be asked to give all we have for the Lord’s work, we should be willing to do so if called upon.
Sister JoAnn Ottley, wife of Jerold D. Ottley, conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, told the following story:
“The Lord gave my husband and me special talents for music. We have spent our entire lifetimes studying and developing these gifts. We have had to make many decisions regarding their use. When we were in Europe studying, we realized that we had an especially important and difficult decision to make. Both of us knew that if we remained in Europe, we would have many opportunities for success. We wanted above all, however, to do what the Lord wanted us to do. We desired to be obedient, but beyond that we yearned to be used by the Lord in the building of his kingdom here on the earth.
“We repeatedly fasted and prayed for the direction of the Spirit and to know the will of the Lord. Our answer came during a sacrament meeting at the close of a fasting period. We had both received the same instructions by the Spirit—that our work was at home. We were to return to the United States.
“There followed more months of study, preparation, testing. Then the Lord made it possible for us to return to Salt Lake City. I became a member of the Tabernacle Choir, and my husband joined the Music Department at the University of Utah.
“A short time later, my husband was called by the First Presidency of the Church to be the conductor of the Tabernacle Choir. The Lord had indeed been preparing us for special service” (The Latter-day Saint Woman, Part B, p. 79).
Let the young women discuss why it is important that we use our time, talents, and possessions to help build the kingdom of God on earth.
In summary, read the following quotation:
“We have covenanted in the waters of baptism to love and serve [the Lord], to keep his commandments, and to put first in our lives the things of his kingdom. In return he has promised us eternal life in his Father’s kingdom. …
“The law of sacrifice is that we are willing to sacrifice all that we have for the truth’s sake—our character and reputation; our honor and applause; our good name among men; our houses, lands, and families: all things, even our very lives if need be. …
“We are not always called upon to live the whole law of consecration and give all of our time, talents, and means to the building up of the Lord’s earthly kingdom. Few of us are called upon to sacrifice much of what we possess, and at the moment there is only an occasional martyr in the cause of revealed religion.
“But … we must be able to live these laws to the full if we are called upon to do so” (Bruce R. McConkie, in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, pp. 74–75; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 50).
Testify to the young women that our time, talents, and possessions are really not ours, but they are the Lord’s. The greatest joy we can find on this earth is to use them in building up the kingdom of God. If we make these sacrifices with a willing heart, the Lord has promised that we will receive greater blessings now and eternal life in the world to come.
1. Encourage the young women to discuss with their families how they might work together and individually to better serve the Lord by making the sacrifices he asks of them.
2. Suggest that on the next fast Sunday, each young woman fast and pray to know how to use her time, talents, and possessions to help build God’s kingdom.
3. Give each young woman a copy of Matthew 6:33 or a statement from one of the quotations in the lesson to remind her to give of her time, talents, and possessions for righteous purposes.