Serving One Another

The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual Religion 150, (2004), 71–75


Introduction

Service is an important part of our eternal progression. We grow by serving others and by allowing others to serve us. Encourage your students to plan for a lifetime of meaningful service, and help them understand that they should not feel guilty or ashamed about receiving help. Those who are served go on to serve others in many different ways.

Principles to Understand

  • The Lord’s servants and the scriptures teach us to serve each other.

  • Everyone needs help at some time.

  • We can serve each other in many different ways.

  • Serving each other should be a lifetime pursuit.

Teaching Suggestions

The Lord’s servants and the scriptures teach us to serve each other.

Tell students the following story: Andrew was a popular athlete in his school. He was also somewhat proud of his accomplishments. One day his bishop asked him to spend two hours a week helping at a nearby orphanage. He was upset by his bishop’s request.

Ask students to use the study helps in their scriptures to find verses they could share with Andrew regarding his bishop’s request for his service. Invite several students to share a scripture they found and to tell why they feel it applies to Andrew.

Have students read the statements from General Authorities under the heading “The Lord’s servants and the scriptures teach us to serve each other,” on pages 105–6 in their student manual, and find principles and ideas they could share that would also be relevant to the bishop’s request.

Ask:

  • In what ways might Andrew grow from this experience?

  • Of what value might his service be to those in the orphanage?

  • Why do you think the subject of service is mentioned frequently in the scriptures and by the Lord’s servants?

  • In what ways does serving others draw you closer to the Savior?

Everyone needs help at some time.

Share the following story: Cinthia was always available to help others. Nearly everyone in her ward had received her help at some time. She seemed to know when people needed something even before they told anyone. One day she fell down some stairs while helping another family clean their home. She broke her leg and was placed in a full-length leg cast for several months. The many people she had helped gathered around her and offered to help by serving her. To their surprise, she refused to allow them to help.

Have students discuss this situation and the advice they would offer Cinthia and those in her ward.

Ask: What categories of people might need the service or strength we can offer? List student responses on the board. The list might include the following:

  • The sick

  • The lonely

  • The sad

  • The widowed

  • The hungry

  • The poor

  • Newly-called missionaries

  • Parents with young children

  • Single parents

  • Children who are fatherless or motherless

  • Those suffering the effects of sin

Explain that we sometimes look for opportunities to serve others when those who have the greatest needs are within the walls of our own home.

Ask: Why do we sometimes overlook the needs within our own families?

Read the excerpt from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” on page 106 in the student manual. Ask:

  • What does the proclamation on the family teach about service?

  • What reasons do we sometimes give for not serving our family?

Invite students to share examples of times they served members of their family and how they felt about serving them.

Share the following counsel from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“We are prone to speak of large numbers such as the total membership of the Church. But we must never forget that we are all individuals with our own needs and problems, our own hopes and dreams, our own faith and convictions. Some are strong, some weak, but we all try. We have problems to deal with—they are serious and difficult. We need one another to build and strengthen each other. We must never lose sight of the fact that we are to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees’ (D&C 81:5)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1999, 3; or Ensign, May 1999, 5).

Ask:

  • How do you feel when you receive needed help?

  • Why is it important to be humble enough not only to frequently give service but to receive it when we need it?

We can serve each other in many different ways.

The miracles Jesus performed exemplify acts of service. Write the following scripture references on the board, leaving out the phrase in parentheses. Divide the references among class members and have students silently read their assigned scripture and then write on the board next to the scripture reference a brief description of the service the Savior rendered. (Depending on the size of your class, you may need to add to the list or use fewer references.)

Ask:

  • What are some acts of service we can perform for others?

  • What are some acts of service we can give to God? (After responses, have a student read Mosiah 2:17 [Scripture Mastery] if it was not mentioned.)

  • How important is our attitude when giving service? Why?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has become internationally recognized for its humanitarian efforts. Read the following statement from Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“[In the Church] will be found hundreds of thousands of men, from all honorable walks of life, endowed with authority to act in the name of God and obligated under the very nature of the sacred gift each has received to strengthen and assist one another. …

“This is one of the great purposes of quorum organization in the priesthood of the Church—to bring an awareness of the needs of others and an opportunity and a vehicle to strengthen one another” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 75; or Ensign, July 1972, 71).

Share the following statement from Sister Mary Ellen Smoot, then Relief Society general president, to the women of the Church:

“I am constantly inspired by your faith, your goodness, and your desire to do what the Lord wants you to do. Thank you for your service. … Everywhere I go, I see the fruits of Relief Society being manifest in the lives of the sisters of the Church. Each of us is an instrument in the hands of God. …

“… When we unitedly serve each other and all of our Father’s children, we can be instruments in the hands of God, not only to relieve physical suffering but, more importantly, to succor those who are in need spiritually” (“We Are Instruments in the Hands of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 89, 91).

Ask: In what ways can you and your family do more to help those in need?

Read and discuss Mosiah 4:16–27. The following questions may be helpful:

  • What should our attitude be about “impart[ing] of the substance that [we] have” (v. 21)?

  • Should we give money to everyone who asks for it? Are there times when other kinds of service would be more helpful?

  • What should our attitude be if we “have not and yet have sufficient” (v. 24)?

  • What does it mean to “see that all these things are done in wisdom and order” (v. 27)?

Share the following counsel from Bishop H. Burke Peterson, then a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric:

“We have been taught in [the scriptures] that no matter how great and significant our mortal accomplishments, no matter how much was accomplished under our hand—as a bishop, a clerk, a president, a teacher, or a parent—unless we learn to exhibit charity, we are nothing. (See 1 Cor. 13:1–3.) All our good deeds will not weigh in our favor if charity is lacking.

“Charity is measured in several ways. Perhaps a supreme form of charity may be exhibited by one who withholds judgment of another’s acts or conduct, remembering that there is only one who can look into the heart and know the intent—and know the honest desires found therein. There is only one whose right it is to judge the success of another’s journey through life. Uncalled-for judgments or prejudiced feelings keep many from displaying a truly charitable attitude or a willingness to help those in need, even those in our own family circle” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, 109; or Ensign, May 1981, 81).

Help students understand that we should find ways to help those in need that truly strengthen them. You may wish to review with students the principles in “Becoming Self-Reliant in the Lord’s Way” (see p. 39).

Serving each other should be a lifetime pursuit.

Invite students to think of a person they personally know whose life has been filled with service. Write on the board How they served. Without having them give the name of the person they are thinking about, ask students to share the kinds of service that person gives to others. List their responses on the board.

Ask:

  • How does this person’s service follow the principle taught in Matthew 6:3–4?

  • According to Doctrine and Covenants 64:33, what does the Lord teach about small acts of service?

  • What are some of the oldest people you know doing to help others?

  • What does their example teach you about the importance of serving throughout our lives?

Tell students that when some people are released from a calling that required great service, such as a mission, they mistakenly feel that because they have done so much they are entitled to rest from serving others. Ask: Why can this attitude be spiritually dangerous?

Share the following counsel from Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“To those of you who have already served [full-time missions], please remember that you were released from your missions but not from the Church. You spent two years as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. We expect you to always look and act like one of His disciples. Look the part. Act the part. Don’t follow worldly trends and fashions. … The rules for happiness and success after your mission are pretty much the same as they were during your mission: pray hard, work hard, and be obedient” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2002, 53; or Ensign, Nov. 2002, 49).

Ask:

  • How is Elder Ballard’s counsel applicable to all Latter-day Saints?

  • Why must we continue to serve the Lord and His children throughout our lives?

Suggested Student Assignments

  • Ask students to think of ways to help someone in their family, in their local Church congregation, and in their community during the coming week. Have them think of a person in each of the three categories if possible. Have students write about their experiences in the “Notes and Impressions” section of their student manual.