Three times the Savior asked Peter if he loved him. And each time that Peter declared his love, the Savior said, “Feed my lambs” or “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15–17.)
These words should be planted deep in all of our hearts. As Peter learned, “feeding” the Lord’s “sheep” is our sacred obligation, our divine commission.
Barbara W. Winder, Relief Society general president, tells of a sister whose friend’s mother had passed away. Uncertain about how to help her grieving friend, the woman asked the Lord what she should do. The answer came: “Just go.”
Her arrival comforted her friend, and they prayed together. The grieving sister later said that she had indeed appreciated what her friend had brought—a needed peace. (General Conference, October 1984.)
We all have burdens. Some of us face devastating family or personal problems. Others deal with illness, handicaps, or financial insecurity. Many are lonely. Some may feel overburdened by the demands of small children; others, without husband or children, may feel as if their lives have no purpose.
We are commanded to “bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” (Mosiah 18:8.) Indeed, lifting someone else’s burden can often help take some of the weight off our own backs and put our trials in perspective.
Wendy and James were devastated when their first child was born with Down’s syndrome. Questioning their belief in a loving Heavenly Father and fearing rejection by others, they withdrew from Church and social activity, and eventually their marriage suffered.
Wendy’s life was at its bleakest when Margaret moved in next door. Slowly, Margaret, who had herself lost a child a few years earlier, was able to understand the sorrowing heart of her neighbor. She helped Wendy find the confidence she needed to lift herself out of her despair, return to full Church activity, and give both her husband and child love and acceptance.
As we give love, our ability to give more love will increase; as we “feed” the Lord’s “sheep,” we will feast even more abundantly on the food of peace and joy.
Discuss some ways we can learn to be more observant about other people’s needs and how we can make time to help others.
Share an experience about a time when you helped lift another’s burden or when someone lifted your burden, or ask the sister you visit to share such an experience. How did this concern help everyone involved? (See the Family Home Evening Resource Book, pages 98–101, 106–8, 112–16 for related materials.)