Lesson 6: Christlike Service

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, (1993), 17–21


Objective

Each young man will desire to serve others by fulfilling his priesthood responsibilities.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

    3. c.

      Two or three tools or pictures of tools.

  2. 2.

    Show the videocassette Member Involvement for Meetinghouse and Grounds Care (53657), if it is available in your area.

Note

This lesson provides you with an opportunity to relate the Savior’s life of service as an example to each young man. Jesus Christ devoted his life to serving others and teaching them the gospel. He performed his greatest service when he voluntarily sacrificed his own life to save us from sin (see 1 Nephi 11:13–33; 3 Nephi 27:13–16; D&C 76:40–42). Help the young men understand that we show our faith in Christ through acts of Christian service.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Essence of Priesthood Responsibility Is Service

Object lesson and discussion

Display some tools or pictures of tools.

  • What makes these tools work?

Help the young men conclude that no matter what the purpose of these tools, they can perform their function only in the hands of people.

Quotation

Elder Marion D. Hanks explained the kind of tools Heavenly Father has to work with:

“The Lord said, speaking of His servants, ‘Their arm shall be my arm’ [D&C 35:14]. Have you thought about this? … The Lord says this arm of mine is His arm. This mind, this tongue, these hands, these feet, this purse—these are the only tools He has to work with so far as I am concerned. … So far as you are concerned, your arm, your resources, your intelligence, your tongue, your energy, are the only tools the Lord has to work with” (Service, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 15 Oct. 1948], p. 3).

  • What does this statement mean to you?

Quotation

President Thomas S. Monson further emphasized that we are the Lord’s tools:

“Each priesthood holder … has a calling to serve, to put forth his best efforts in the work assigned to him. No assignment is menial in the work of the Lord, for each has eternal consequences. President John Taylor warned us: ‘If you do not magnify your calling, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty. And who of us can afford to be responsible for the delay of eternal life of a human soul?’ …

“The old adage is ever true: ‘Do your duty, that is best; leave unto the Lord the rest.’

“Most service given by priesthood holders is accomplished quietly and without fanfare. A friendly smile, a warm handclasp, a sincere testimony of truth can literally lift lives, change human nature, and save precious souls” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, p. 70; or Ensign, May 1992, p. 48).

  • What calling does every priesthood holder have?

Willingness to Serve Indicates Our Love for Others

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men read and mark Mosiah 2:17. Point out the cross-references in the footnote to the word service in this scripture. Suggest that they mark the cross-references to Matthew 25 and Doctrine and Covenants 42.

  • What is the central message of these scriptures?

  • Whom do we find it easy to serve?

  • Whom do we find hard to serve?

  • Why do you think Jesus taught that what we do to the least of his brethren we do to him? (Jesus, who loves everyone, was emphasizing that we too should love and serve everyone, even those we may think are the “least” among us.)

Story and discussion

Have a young man read or tell the following story about an old fisherman.

“Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic.

“One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking old man.

“‘Why he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,’ I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.

“But the appalling thing was his face—lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

“Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, ‘Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus till morning.’

“He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success. ‘I guess it’s my face. I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments … ’

“For a moment I hesitated but his next words convinced me, ‘I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.’

“I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch meanwhile. Then I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us.

“‘No, thank you. I have plenty.’ And he held up a brown paper bag.

“When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take long to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body.

“He told me that he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury. He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; every other sentence was prefaced with thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which apparently was a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going.

“At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little old man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, ‘Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit—I can sleep fine in a chair.’ He paused a moment and then added, ‘Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.’

“I told him he was welcome to come again. And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a gift, he brought us a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so they would be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at four A.M. and wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this.

“In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

“Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery: fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and how little money he had, made the gifts doubly precious.

“When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. ‘Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away. You can lose roomers by putting up such people.’

“And maybe we did, once or twice. But oh! if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear. I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God” (Mary Bartels, “The Old Fisherman,” Instructor, May 1968, pp. 180–81).

  • What kinds of service were given in this story?

  • Who was the giver? Who was the receiver?

  • How have you been blessed by giving service to others?

Story and discussion

Explain that many acts of service do not require assignments. The Lord’s work needs willing hands, a loving attitude, and a vision of what the Savior taught. President Thomas S. Monson told of the following letter he received from a widow in his stake:

“Dear President Monson,

“Let me tell you of a wonderful experience I have had. In early November all the widows and older people received an invitation to come to a lovely dinner. We were told not to worry about transportation since this would be provided by the older youth in the ward.

“At the appointed hour, a very nice young man rang the bell and took me and another sister to the stake center. He stopped the car, and two other young men walked with us to the chapel where the young ladies took us to where we removed our wraps—then into the cultural hall, where we sat and visited for a few minutes. Then they took us to the tables, where we were seated on each side by either a young woman or a young man. Then we were served a lovely … dinner and afterward [had] a choice program. …

“It was such a nice, lovely evening. Most of us shed a tear or two for the love and respect we were shown.

“President Monson, when [I] see young people treat others like these young people did, I feel the Church is in good hands” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1989, p. 60; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, p. 46).

  • In what ways does this type of service demonstrate love?

  • What is the relationship between love and service?

  • How has service increased your love for others?

Story and discussion

Read the following story as told by Elder F. Melvin Hammond:

“While I was serving as a mission president in Bolivia, a wonderful elder came to see me. It was near the end of his mission. He was very depressed. …

“He recounted the initial efforts he had made in the mission field to work hard, pray often, follow all the rules—hoping, of course, to be rewarded with hundreds of baptisms. But, unfortunately, the baptisms had not come. Gradually he began to slacken his pace. …

“In despair he told me, ‘I’m nobody! What I do won’t make any difference.’ Then, as if searching, he quickly asked, ‘Will it, President Hammond?’ For an instant similar questions passed through my mind. Can he make a difference? Can I? Can anyone? Does it matter what one person does?

“Then, in my mind’s eye I saw a myriad of people and events who had made a difference. I reminded him of … Copernicus, who had revolutionized the science of astronomy; and Mohandas K. Gandhi, who in preaching peace and love, brought freedom to his native India.

“I told him how [Joseph Smith] saw the living God and Jesus Christ. … Acting upon their admonitions, one boy, one man, began the incredible task of preparing a way to preach the restored gospel … to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. …

“Then I came to the last, yet by far the most significant of all. He was the only begotten Son of the Father in the flesh. … One man! The son of the Eternal God, who submitted himself to many things in order that you and I might live again with the hope of Eternal Life.

“I placed my hand on the young missionary’s and asked him if he was ready to go back out into the field of labor. I asked if he could make a difference in the lives of the special Bolivian children of our Heavenly Father. …

“Although he had been weak, I felt an inner confidence in him. I surprised even myself by assigning him to one of the most difficult and remote areas of Bolivia—a small community named Bermejo. … The work had gone badly there for some time. …

“In his weekly reports the missionary told of his efforts to contact the people and preach the gospel to them. He indicated that they were slow to listen, but that he was continuing his faithful stewardship. …

“And then it happened. Overnight a small river that runs near the village, fed by heavy rains in the mountains, rose to a height never before known. Homes were swept away and people were drowned. The only bridge connecting the city to the main road was torn from its footings and washed downstream. There was chaos everywhere.

“Two young missionaries were caught in the turmoil. And one, perhaps remembering that ‘a man can make a difference,’ threw himself into the turbulent waters to rescue many who were drowning; he sought those buried beneath fallen buildings; he gave relief to the injured and succor to the hungry.

“And a miracle occurred. He became a hero. … Those who had previously rejected him and the message he carried now searched him out. … They accepted his burning testimony of Jesus Christ and the gospel restored through Joseph Smith.

“In the few months that remained of his mission he brought scores of wonderful people into the Church. Today, a beautiful chapel stands in Bermejo. On the Sabbath day it is full of members who still remember one faithful elder who made a difference” (“You Can Make a Difference,” New Era, Mar. 1991, pp. 45–47).

  • How has another’s service influenced you?

  • How have you been blessed by someone’s service?

  • How can we serve more meaningfully in our priesthood offices?

Quotation

Read and discuss the following quotation with the young men.

“The Lord does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs” (Spencer W. Kimball, “President Kimball Speaks Out on Service to Others,” New Era, Mar. 1981, p. 47).

Conclusion

Quotation

Share the following statement from Elder Marvin J. Ashton: “Take a pencil and paper at the beginning of each week and actually list realistic ways you can and will express your love to … others in your life. Love is such a vague word. To reap the benefits of loving, specific action must be taken” (“Yellow Ribbons and Charted Courses,” New Era, July 1981, p. 17).

Chalkboard and discussion

Write the following words on the chalkboard:

Parents

Brothers and sisters

Neighbors

Community

Ward

  • What kind of service can we perform in each of these areas? List answers beside each word.

  • How can we better follow the Savior’s example of service?

Challenge

From the list on the chalkboard, circle the first two items: Parents and Brothers and sisters. Encourage the young men to do at least one thing they discussed today for their parents and family and to make it a regular habit. Encourage them to pray for strength and direction in following the Savior’s example of service.