—Doctrine and Covenants 64:23
The greatest sacrifice ever made was that of our Savior, Jesus Christ, when he took upon himself our sins and laid down his life for us. Anciently people were commanded to worship the Lord by offering their choicest animals as a sacrifice, in similitude of the Savior’s yet-future sacrifice. As part of his gospel, the Savior instituted a different sacrifice—the sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit, commemorated at the sacrament table. And in this dispensation, the Lord has added to the law of sacrifice and gospel law, revealing the law of consecration. When we receive the law of consecration, we covenant to give our time, our talents, and our possessions as needed for his work, and to offer ourselves—our hearts filled with gratitude, love, and humility.
Briefly discuss the following experiences:
Experience One. When Gordon was a small boy, his father turned away from the Church and refused to have anything to do with it. His mother continued to be active, however, and took Gordon to Church meetings with her. As Gordon grew, he gained a testimony of the gospel and, when he was old enough, decided to go on a mission. The day before he was to leave, his father said, “Gordon, I am sorry you have decided to leave our family by going on this mission. I am planning to move the rest of us while you are gone, and I probably won’t let you know where we are.”
Gordon loved his family, but he had promised to serve the Lord; he left on his mission despite his father’s threat.
While Gordon was serving his mission, his father’s feelings gradually softened, and he finally agreed to let his son return home.
Discuss how Gordon must have felt as he left to go on his mission, thinking that it might mean giving up his family. Talk about other kinds of sacrifices missionaries make to serve the Lord—money, time, delays in education, and forfeiting of scholarships, for example. Point out the blessings that come to missionaries and to the people they teach because of their willingness to sacrifice.
Experience Two. While getting ready for baseball practice, David overheard his mother on the phone trying to get a baby-sitter so she could visit her sick mother. After two neighborhood girls said they were busy, David volunteered to stay home from baseball practice and tend the baby. During the hours he was with his baby sister, he felt more love for her than he ever had before.
What made David happy?
Point out that David’s sacrifice was really a blessing to him.
Read and discuss Matthew 10:39. Emphasize that we will be blessed as we think of others and sacrifice to serve them.
Discuss Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
What does Christ’s sacrifice make possible for you and for all people? (See Moses 5:9.)
Read Moses 5:5–8 and discuss why Adam was asked to make sacrifices.
Help family members understand what it means to sacrifice by listing some of the sacrifices we are required to make for the Lord and his Church (paying tithing and fast offerings, fulfilling Church callings, serving a mission, and doing family history and temple work). Ask each family member how he or she feels about making these sacrifices. Point out that as we make these sacrifices willingly, we will be greatly blessed.
Relate the following incident to your family:
A whole family gave up its comfortable life in a fine city and spent approximately ten years traveling to a new continent where they prospered and found freedom to worship Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. (See 1 Nephi 2:1–7.)
Who were they? (The family of Lehi.)
What sacrifices did they make? (Gave up home, wealth, and country.)
Why did they leave their home? (They followed the direction of Heavenly Father.)
One man showed he was willing to sacrifice everything he had—even his son—for the Lord.
Who was he? (Abraham.)
Describe how Abraham was blessed because of his willingness to give all that was asked of him.
Read Matthew 19: 16–22.
What did Jesus require of the rich man in addition to following the commandments? Why did the rich man leave in sorrow?
Challenge family members to make at least one sacrifice for another member of the family, relative, or close friend during the next week. Ask them to record their experiences in their journals and to share them with each other during the next family home evening.
Doctrine and Covenants 59:8 (Offer sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit.)
Doctrine and Covenants 97:10–15 (Sacrifice to build the Lord’s house.)
Doctrine and Covenants 98:13 (Those who sacrifice their lives in the Lord’s cause shall receive eternal life.)
See also “Sacrifice” in the Topical Guide.
Gospel Principles, “Sacrifice,” chapter 26.