Lesson 44: Service to Others

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), 178–81


Objective

Each young man will understand that he can be a tool in the hands of God by serving others.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Matthew 20:27; Luke 9:24; John 3:16; 21:15–17; and Mosiah 18:7–10.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).

    2. b.

      Picture 16, Jesus Washing the Disciples’ Feet (62550; Gospel Art Picture Kit 226).

    3. c.

      Two or three tools or pictures of tools, such as a hammer, saw, rake, shovel, and screwdriver.

    4. d.

      A piece of paper and a pencil for each young man.

    5. e.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

  3. 3.

    Before the lesson, discuss with the bishop some ways quorum members might serve, both individually and as a group. At the end of the class period, the young men may wish to choose an individual or group service project.

Suggested Lesson Development

We Have Covenanted to Serve Others

Story

Read the following:

Jim glanced around the chapel during the opening hymn in priesthood meeting. He noticed Bill Johnson, who was new in the ward, sitting by himself. Several times during the song Jim saw the lone figure on the back row, and he made a mental note to be sure to give Bill a special welcome. He could have gone back to sit by him then, but he felt that would be too awkward. Jim thought to himself, “Bill should do things on his own to become better acquainted. He could have chosen a seat next to someone.”

The singing ended, and all thoughts of Bill Johnson vanished as Jim turned his attention to the class that followed with all of his friends. However, as he stood to say the closing prayer, he could see that Bill Johnson was feeling left out. He resolved that immediately after the prayer he would hurry over and offer his friendship. As he said amen he looked up to see Bill slip out the door.

“Oh well,” he thought to himself, “I’ll catch him next week.”

Objects or pictures

Display some tools or show pictures of them.

  • What makes these tools work?

Explain that no matter what the purpose of these tools, they can perform their function only in the hands of a person.

Quotation and discussion

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

“The Lord said, speaking of His servants, ‘Their arm shall be my arm.’ [D&C 35:14.] Have you thought about this? To me this is one of the most sacred and significant and personal commissions I can read about in the holy records or elsewhere. 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. 1958], p. 3).

  • How does this statement make you feel about serving other people?

Explain that Jim had an opportunity to help Bill at a time when he was lonely and unsure. But Jim lost his chance by not doing what he was prompted to do.

  • How could Jim have taken better advantage of his opportunity to serve God by helping someone in need? (Jim could have spoken to Bill after the opening exercises or called him on the telephone after church.)

Scripture and discussion

Explain that when we were baptized, we entered into a covenant with the Lord that we renew each time we take the sacrament.

Have a young man read Mosiah 18:7–10.

  • According to these verses, how are we to serve other people?

  • Why do you think we are serving God when we serve his children? (Because God loves his children and wants their needs to be met.)

Explain that a person who loves God freely serves others. He frequently asks himself, “Whom have I helped today? Whose burden is lighter because he passed my way?”

Adviser presentation

Explain that service is the product of love. It is the way we show love for God, others, and even ourselves. One of life’s greatest joys is the peace and contentment that come from knowing that another’s life has been improved because of our efforts in his behalf. Service is love’s greatest gift.

Scripture and discussion

Have a young man read John 21:15–17.

  • What was the Savior’s charge to Peter? (If Peter truly loved him, Peter would feed his sheep.)

  • What did Christ mean by “feed my sheep”? (Teach and serve others.)

Explain that if we truly love the Savior we will serve others. We will lift them up, strengthen them, encourage and teach them, and do whatever the Lord himself would do if he were here.

Our Greatest Gift Is the Gift of Ourselves

Adviser presentation and discussion

  • What is an epitaph? (A statement about the life of a person who has died. Many times an epitaph will state what a person did or what he was like while he was living.)

Read the following epitaphs of the lives of two men:

“Here lies a miser who lived for himself
And cared for nothing but gathering pelf [money or riches].
Now, where he is, or how he fares,
Nobody knows and nobody cares.”

“Sacred to the memory of General Charles George Gordon, who at all times and everywhere gave his strength to the weak, his substance to the poor, his sympathy to the suffering, his heart to God.”

  • What was the chief difference in the way these two men lived their lives?

Explain that as we love and serve one another, the greatest gift we have to offer is to give of ourselves.

  • How do we give of ourselves? (By sharing our time, talents, and abilities with others as the need arises, by showing an interest in another person, and by helping to ease another’s burdens.)

Chalkboard discussion

Ask the young men to think of the two or three individuals who have had the greatest influence for good in their lives.

  • What specifically did they do that was most helpful to you?

Write the young men’s responses on the chalkboard.

Emphasize that those who are most helpful to us usually are those people who—

  1. 1.

    Take time to help us.

  2. 2.

    Really care for us.

  3. 3.

    Teach us something we really need to know.

  4. 4.

    Listen to us without criticizing and carefully consider the feelings behind what we have to say.

Writing activity

Hand a piece of paper and a pencil to each young man. Instruct them to write down the words family, church, and friends.

Have the young men list under each word several ways in which they can be of service to people in that category. Allow three or four minutes for the activity. Then invite the young men to share some of their ideas with the other quorum members.

We Should Give throughout Our Lives

Picture, scripture, and discussion

  • Why do we exchange gifts at Christmas? (Giving gifts symbolizes God’s love for each of us in sending the gift of his Son.)

Have a young man read John 3:16. Explain that Christ’s entire life was a perfect example of service. Display the picture of Christ washing the disciples’ feet.

Have a young man read Matthew 20:27. Explain that Christ taught the principle of service to his disciples by example. Washing of other people’s feet was a task usually reserved for household servants, but the Savior did it freely for his disciples.

Have a young man read Luke 9:24.

  • How do we lose our life for Christ’s sake? (By loving and serving others the way Jesus did with the help and guidance of the Spirit.)

  • If you give service to someone who fails to thank you or who does not seem to appreciate your kindness, how should you react?

Help the young men understand that service should not be given for the purpose of receiving thanks or praise.

Quotation and discussion

  • What does the word mundane mean? (Common and ordinary.)

Read President Spencer W. Kimball’s statement:

“So often our acts of service consist of simple encouragement or of giving mundane help with mundane tasks—but what glorious consequences can flow from mundane acts and from small but deliberate deeds” (“There Is Purpose in Life,” New Era, Sept. 1974, p. 5).

  • How can each of us serve as a tool for Heavenly Father in giving service to others?

Discuss the young men’s ideas. You might suggest some types of service, such as reading to a younger brother or sister, offering a smile or a kind word to a neighbor, or doing an errand for a family member.

Adviser presentation

Explain that unlike the giving of gifts once a year at Christmas, the giving of the gift of self is a lifelong process. Just as the gospel is not limited to Sunday worship, service to others is not limited to a single act, such as raking a widow’s leaves once. We must constantly love and serve others. As priesthood holders we have a special responsibility to give of ourselves in daily service to others.

Point out that sometimes we think that, in order to be effective, an act of service must be large or impressive. But glorious results can come from seemingly small deeds.

Conclusion

Quotation

Read the following statement:

“It is by serving that we learn how to serve. When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves! In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves!” (Spencer W. Kimball, “There Is Purpose in Life,” New Era, Sept. 1974, p. 4).

Testimony and challenge

Testify that as each young man serves others, he will make others happy. He will also feel happier himself, feel more satisfied with life, and forget many of his own problems.

Challenge each young man to do an act of service for someone each day and record it in his journal. Have the young men report their efforts during the next quorum meeting.

Presidency presentation (optional)

Have the quorum presidencies or bishop’s assistants present plans for a service project, or have the quorum members suggest one.