Lesson 30: Charity

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 113–17


Objective

Each young man will understand that charity, or the pure love of Christ, should guide the attitude and actions of every priesthood holder.

Preparation

Materials needed:

  1. 1.

    Scriptures for each young man.

  2. 2.

    Pencils for marking scriptures.

Note

No principle of Christ’s life is more plainly demonstrated than his love for his fellowmen. His command was that we “love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Charity, or the pure love of Christ, often remains a lofty principle we hope to live by someday in the future. This lesson should help the young men understand that they can acquire charity now and make it part of their everyday activities.

Suggested Lesson Development

Introduction

Scripture and discussion

  • What comes to your mind when you hear the word charity?

Allow some discussion. Then explain that the Savior taught the answer in a parable. Have the young men read this parable aloud from Luke 10:30–37.

  • Why do you think the priest and the Levite passed by?

  • What excuses do people give today for not helping others?

  • Why do you suppose the Samaritan stopped and helped the man?

Explain that this story is even more powerful when one realizes that the first two, who ignored the suffering man, were called by birth and position to help the needy, and the Samaritan, who did help the man, was of a race despised by the Jews (see James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ 3rd ed. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1924], pp. 430–32).

  • What principle is demonstrated by the Samaritan in this story? It is one of the most important principles taught by the Savior. (Charity, meaning love.)

Quotation

Read the following statement from Elder Marion D. Hanks:

“I recently had the privilege of meeting a boy who has a disease in his muscles and nerves. … He has always wanted to do the things the other fellows do. …

“While Jay was a deacon, he passed the sacrament with the other deacons in his ward. He couldn’t walk or stand on his feet, so his dad lined up with the other boys, holding Jay with his arm around the boy’s waist and helping him hold the tray since his hands are not strong enough to support it. Jay’s father thus assisted his son from row to row as he passed the sacrament. Jay did his job as a deacon in collecting fast offerings too. His father carried him from door to door. …

“Jay bears his strong testimony, and his attitude and outlook are amazing. He gives talks and he does very well. He has sung in Church, and always, when he does these things, his dad is there to hold him in his arms and stand by him and support him” (in Conference Report, Tahiti Area Conference 1976, pp. 10–11).

  • What principle is this father showing his son? (Love.)

Explain that this father’s love for his son is what the Savior has for us and what he expects us to have for others. This is charity.

Charity Is the Pure Love of Christ

Scripture, chalkboard, and discussion

Have the young men read the definition of charity from Moroni 7:47. Suggest that the young men underline this verse.

  • What does Moroni say charity is? (The pure love of Christ.)

Write this definition on the chalkboard: Charity is the pure love of Christ.

  • Why do you think charity is called “pure love” instead of just “love”?

Explain that charity is also defined in the New Testament. Have the young men turn to 1 Corinthians 13:4–6. As you read these verses, have the young men point out the various aspects of charity. Summarize their findings on the chalkboard.

Charity suffereth long.

  • What does suffereth long mean? (Is patient.)

  • How does suffering long make us more like the Savior? (Christ’s love is patient, understanding, and eternal; ours should be the same.)

  • When is it most difficult to be patient?

  • How can we develop more patience?

Charity is kind.

  • Whom do you find it easiest to be kind to? Why?

  • How can we learn to be kind to everyone?

Charity envieth not.

Bill was selected to be a member of the school soccer team. Allen, his neighbor, who had also tried out, was not.

  • What might Allen’s natural reaction be? (Jealousy, envy.)

  • How would he react if he had charity? (He would be happy for his friend’s success.)

Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.

When Robert went to get his report card, he said to his friend, “I really don’t need to pick up my card. It’s always straight A’s.”

  • What does vaunt mean? (Boast.)

  • What might be unloving about boasting? (When we brag or boast, we are saying we are better than others, or we are putting others down or saying they are not as good as we are.)

  • How would someone who has charity act in this situation?

Explain that boasting is often an attempt to make ourselves appear better than other people and often destroys a feeling of brotherhood and love.

Charity doth not behave itself unseemly.

  • What might “unseemly” conduct be? (That which is rude, vulgar, or unbecoming or violates courtesy.)

  • Why is this conduct not charitable? (If a person really loves others, he will not be rude to them.)

Charity seeketh not her own.

Seeketh not her own means being unselfish.

  • What ways can you think of that might show unselfishness? (Suggest ways that the young men may be of service to others in the home, school, church, and community.)

Have the young men give examples from home or school in which a person has the choice to be selfish or unselfish.

Charity is not easily provoked.

One very cold day, Jeff hurried to find his coat. He was leaving school as fast as possible so that he could go to a movie with his friends. As Jeff reached for his coat, he found it was not hanging on his hook, and it wasn’t in sight anywhere. He searched everywhere and finally found it a half hour later hidden behind a trash can. When he arrived home his friends had already gone. As he sat glumly on his front porch, his neighbor Danny poked his head around with a big smile and called, “Jeff, did you find your coat?” Danny was always playing pranks, but not until now did Jeff realize they might not be funny.

  • How might Jeff respond to Danny’s prank?

Help the young men understand that if Jeff shows charity to Danny, he will not be angry with him, even though he may feel hurt.

Charity thinketh no evil.

Examples of thinking evil are around us daily.

  • What might thinking evil mean?

Allow discussion, and point out that thinking evil means two things. First, it means thinking unclean and improper thoughts. Second, it means thinking that other people are always doing and saying things for unrighteous reasons.

  • How might evil thinking influence your behavior? (“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” [Proverbs 23:7].)

Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth.

  • What does it mean not to rejoice in iniquity?

  • How do some people rejoice in iniquity?

  • Why is truth so important in our lives?

Adviser presentation

Explain that Christ was the great example of love. He taught us by example how to love our neighbor. Charity is how he loves us. It is unconditional and pure. “It is love so centered in righteousness that the possessor has no aim or desire except for the eternal welfare of his own soul and for the souls of those around him” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 121). It is as important a principle to practice as any that Christ taught.

Scripture and discussion

Read 1 Corinthians 13:1–3.

  • How can we become more charitable and loving?

Allow the young men to respond, and then turn to Moroni 7:48. Read, discuss, and underline this verse.

Charity Is Doing As Well As Feeling

Story

Read or tell the following story of charity, told by Brother Les Goates about his own father and related by Bishop Vaughn Featherstone:

“Winter came early that year [1918] and froze much of the sugar beet crop in the ground. My dad and brother Francis were desperately trying to get out of the frosty ground one load of beets each day which they would plow out of the ground, cut off the tops, and toss the beets, one at a time, into the huge red beet wagon and then haul the load off to the sugar factory. It was slow and tedious work due to the frost and the lack of farm help, since my brother Floyd and I were in the army and Francis, or Franz, as everybody called him, was too young for the military service.

“While they were thusly engaged in harvesting the family’s only cash crop and were having their evening meal one day, a phone call came through from our eldest brother, George Albert, superintendent of the State Industrial School in Ogden [Utah, about sixty miles away] bearing the tragic news that Kenneth, nine-year-old son of our brother Charles, the school farm manager, had been stricken with the dread ‘flu,’ and after only a few hours of violent sickness, had died on his father’s lap; and would dad please come to Ogden and bring the boy home and lay him away in the family plot in the Lehi [Utah] Cemetery.

“My father cranked up his old flap-curtained Chevrolet and headed for … Ogden to bring his little grandson home for burial. When he arrived at the home he found ‘Charl’ sprawled across the cold form of his dear one, the ugly brown discharge of the black plague oozing from his ears and nose and virtually burning up with fever.

“‘Take my boy home,’ muttered the stricken young father, ‘and lay him away in the family lot and come back for me tomorrow.’

“Father brought Kenneth home, made a coffin in his carpenter shop, and mother and our sisters, Jennie, Emma, and Hazel, placed a cushion and a lining in it, and then dad went with Franz and two kind neighbors to dig the grave. So many were dying the families had to do the grave digging. A brief graveside service was all that was permitted.

“The folks had scarcely returned from the cemetery when the telephone rang again and George Albert (Bert) was on the line with another terrifying message: Charl had died and two of his beautiful little girls—Vesta, 7, and Elaine, 5—were critically ill and two babies—Raeldon, 4, and Pauline, 3—had been stricken.

“Our good cousins, the Larkin undertaking people, were able to get a casket for Charl and they sent him home in a railroad baggage car. Father and young Franz brought the body from the railroad station and placed it on the front porch of our old country home for an impromptu neighborhood viewing but folks were afraid to come near the body of a black plague victim. Father and Francis meanwhile had gone with neighbors to get the grave ready and arrange a short service in which the great, noble spirit of Charles Hyrum Goates was commended into the keeping of his Maker.

“Next day my sturdy, unconquerable old dad was called on still another of his grim missions—this time to bring home Vesta, the smiling one with the raven hair and big blue eyes.

“When he arrived at the home he found Juliett, the grief-crazed mother, kneeling at the crib of darling little Elaine, the blue-eyed baby angel with the golden curls. Juliett was sobbing wearily and praying: ‘Oh, Father in heaven, not this one, please! Let me keep my baby! Do not take any more of my darlings from me!’

“Before father arrived home with Vesta the dread word had come again. Elaine had gone to join her daddy, brother Kenneth, and sister Vesta. And so it was that father made another heartbreaking journey to bring home and lay away a fourth member of his family all within the week.

“The telephone did not ring the evening of the day they laid away Elaine nor were there any more sad tidings of death the next morning. It was assumed that George A. and his courageous companion Della, though afflicted, had been able to save the little ones Raeldon and Pauline; and it was such a relief that Cousin Reba Munns, a nurse, had been able to come in and help.

“After breakfast dad said to Franz, ‘Well, son, we had better get down to the field and see if we can get another load of beets out of the ground before they get frozen any tighter. Hitch up and let’s be on our way.’

“Francis drove the four-horse outfit down the driveway and dad climbed aboard. As they drove along the Saratoga Road, they passed wagon after wagon-load of beets being hauled to the factory and driven by neighborhood farmers. As they passed by, each driver would wave a greeting: ‘Hi ya, Uncle George,’ ‘Sure sorry, George,’ ‘Tough break, George,’ ‘You’ve got a lot of friends, George.’

“On the last wagon was the town comedian, freckled-faced Jasper Rolfe. He waved a cheery greeting and called out: ‘That’s all of ‘em, Uncle George.’

“My dad turned to Francis and said: ‘I wish it was all of ours.’

“When they arrived at the farm gate, Francis jumped down off the big red wagon and opened the gate as we drove onto the field. He pulled up, stopped the team, paused a moment and scanned the field, from left to right and back and forth—and lo and behold, there wasn’t a sugar beet on the whole field. Then it dawned upon him what Jasper Rolfe meant when he called out: ‘That’s all of ‘em, Uncle George!’

“Then dad got down off the wagon, picked up a handful of the rich, brown soil he loved so much, and then in his thumbless left hand a beet top, and he looked for a moment at these symbols of his labor, as if he couldn’t believe his eyes.

“Then father sat down on a pile of beet tops—this man who brought four of his loved ones home for burial in the course of only six days, made caskets, dug graves, and even helped with the burial clothing—this amazing man who never faltered, nor flinched, nor wavered throughout this agonizing ordeal—sat down on a pile of beet tops and sobbed like a little child.

“Then he arose, wiped his eyes with his big, red bandana handkerchief, looked up at the sky, and said, ‘Thanks, Father, for the elders of our ward’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, pp. 46–48; or Ensign, July 1973, pp. 36–37).

Discussion

  • How did this father show his charity for others?

  • How did his neighbors show their charity?

  • How have you been blessed by others’ charity?

Conclusion

Adviser presentation

Explain that it is by service to others that we love them, and that by doing we really learn the meaning of charity.

Suggested Activity

Suggest the following activity to the young men:

Each morning, put some small object in your left-hand pocket until you have performed an act of charity (love) for someone. Then move it to your right-hand pocket. Do this for an entire week, and then report on the results of your efforts at your next priesthood meeting.