Each young man will desire the spiritual growth that comes through living the laws of sacrifice and consecration.
Scriptures for each young man.
Pencils for marking scriptures.
(Optional) Prepare for each young man an attractive card on which you have written: “Ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are” (Mosiah 2:34).
Suggested Lesson Development
Sacrifice and Consecration Are Celestial Laws
Write the word sacrifice on the chalkboard.
What does sacrifice mean?
Why is it necessary to learn to sacrifice?
What do you think consecrate means? (To make sacred, to devote or dedicate.)
Explain that the laws of consecration and sacrifice are eternal and were given to man by the Lord before the earth’s creation.
Read Elder Bruce R. McConkie’s definition of these laws:
“Sacrifice and consecration are inseparably intertwined. The law of consecration is that we consecrate our time, our talents, and our money and property to the cause of the Church; such are to be available to the extent they are needed to further the Lord’s interests on earth.
“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” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p. 74; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 50).
Explain that we must be willing to sacrifice our desires, energy, time, or material goods to build our Father’s kingdom on earth. At times it may seem difficult to live by these laws. As our understanding and faith increase, however, we begin to realize the wonderful blessings available to the obedient.
Scripture and discussion
To whom was the law of sacrifice first given?
Explain that these laws were explained to Adam by an angel. After Adam and Eve were driven from Eden, the Lord commanded that they should sacrifice the firstlings of their flocks to him. Adam obeyed this commandment.
Have someone read Moses 5:6–8.
Explain that after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the law of Moses was fulfilled and the people were no longer to offer animal sacrifices.
Have a young man read 3 Nephi 9:19–20 aloud. Suggest that the young men underline key words.
What kind of sacrifice are we to offer? (A broken heart and a contrite spirit.)
What does it mean to offer unto the Lord “a broken heart and a contrite spirit”? (A “broken heart” means we feel heartbroken over the suffering of the Savior for us and over our own wrongdoing to the extent that we want to repent. A “contrite spirit” is a penitent spirit, one that wants to repent.)
Have you ever had these feelings?
Quotation and discussion
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary [to lead] unto life and salvation. … It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life” (Lectures on Faith, 6:7).
Explain that the laws of sacrifice and consecration are celestial laws. If we desire to gain celestial glory, we must live these laws.
What are some ways we can live these laws? (By giving of our time, our love, our talents, and our worldly means for the building up of the kingdom.)
Sacrifice and Consecration Bring Us Joy and Blessings
Story and discussion
Read the following story told by a former president of the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah:
“A young man [was] at the Missionary Training Center … preparing to serve in Japan. We had arranged with the BYU ticket office for all of the missionaries to attend the last home football game. They had tickets all arranged for us in the north end zone … and we announced to the missionaries that they would all be permitted to go to the ball game the next afternoon. This young man came in to see me and asked, ‘President Pinegar, do I have to go to the football game tomorrow?’
“I thought he was ill. I said, ‘Don’t you want to see this ball game?’
“He said, ‘Oh, if you only knew how badly I want to see this game! I played college football for two years. But when I came to the MTC I made a commitment to myself and to the Lord that I would learn all eight of the missionary discussions in Japanese. If I go to that ball game tomorrow, I will not achieve my goal.’
“Well, of course, permission was granted him to stay and study.
“I saw him some weeks later. In fact, it was about five days before he departed for the field. He came up to me in the cafeteria and said, ‘President Pinegar, remember me? I am the elder who did not go to the ball game because I wanted to study the discussions. Today I pass off the eighth discussion.’ He continued, ‘You ought to hear what happened to me the day I stayed here and did not go to the ball game. Up to that point in time I had been able to memorize twenty lines a day in Japanese; that day, the day that I sacrificed—and I felt it was a sacrifice—I memorized 120 lines. From that point on, I continued to move up and today I will pass off my eighth discussion’” (Max L. Pinegar, “Serious About the Things to Be Done,” 1978 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1979], pp. 55–56).
How did this young man’s sacrifice bring joy and blessings to his life?
Elder Gordon B. Hinckley explained the importance of sacrifice as it applies to everyday behavior:
“Sacrifice is the very essence of religion; it is the keystone of happy home life, the basis of true friendship, the foundation of peaceful community living, of sound relations among people and nations. …
“Without sacrifice there is no true worship of God. I become increasingly convinced of that every day. ‘The Father gave his Son, and the Son gave his life,’ and we do not worship unless we give—give of our substance, give of our time, give of our strength, give of our talent, give of our faith, give of our testimonies” (Without Sacrifice There Is No True Worship, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 17 Oct. 1962], p. 4; italics added).
Why can’t we truly worship God without making sacrifices?
Why is sacrifice the keystone of happy home life and the basis of true friendship?
What kinds of sacrifices can we make in our lives?
Discuss how sacrificing personal wants can bring harmony into our home, work, and school. Point out how the sacrifice of time and money for missionary service is a significant form of worship.
Case studies and discussion
From the following accounts, select those appropriate for your class, or use situations of your own that relate more directly to the young men in your class. After reading each one aloud, ask the young men to discuss the following questions:
How might a young man feel in this situation?
What might he do?
How might he sacrifice?
How might his sacrifice affect him and others?
Jim was planning on going to a party at a friend’s house, but his father asked him to help clean up the yard of a widow in the neighborhood.
When they were both seventeen, Mike and Jennifer started dating. They became concerned about their feelings for each other because they both wanted Mike to serve a mission.
After he graduated from college, William had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel abroad. But then William’s bishop called him to go on a mission.
Bill loved to play soccer, but it had been raining almost every day. One Sunday morning, his friend John called and invited him to play soccer because it was a sunny day.
Mrs. Mahler was a lonely, elderly lady. She would talk without stopping for an hour if she could find a listener. She met Frank on the street and started talking about her nephew in Hamburg. But Frank wanted to get home for supper.
Jerry had an appointment with the bishop at 7:10 p.m. and arrived early at 7:00 p.m. The bishop was interviewing someone else. At 8:00 Jerry was still waiting to see him.
Mark had been saving for a new bicycle. Sunday in sacrament meeting the bishop made a plea for additional funds to help support a missionary from the ward.
Don had spent seven hours in school and four at work. When he got home, he ate supper, helped with the dishes, studied for two hours, and then relaxed for a few minutes in a hot bath. Ready for bed, he glanced at his scriptures lying on his desk. He wanted to study them, but he was also exhausted and wanted to fall into bed.
Karl received a phone call from Sam, who said they would have to play tennis another time because Sam’s younger brother was ill. Sam had to stay home with him while his parents went to the temple.
Scripture and quotation
Explain that King Benjamin discussed at length the laws of sacrifice and consecration. He summarized these laws in one sentence, “Ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are” (Mosiah 2:34).
Because President Brigham Young felt indebted to the Lord, he once said, “If my heart is not fully given up to this work [of building the kingdom], I will give my time, my talents, my hands, and my possessions to it, until my heart consents to be subject; I will make my hands labour in the cause of God until my heart bows in submission to it” (in Journal of Discourses, 1:202).
See “Preparation,” item 2. Give each young man a card with the quotation from Mosiah 2:34. Suggest that he put it on his wall to remind him daily to keep the laws of consecration and sacrifice.