Providing for Self, Family, and Others

The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual Religion 150, (2004), 25–28


Introduction

Temporal responsibilities are related to spiritual growth. For example, there is a relationship between keeping the Lord’s commandments and financially providing for our families. Help your students learn to identify priorities and set worthy goals. The Lord can help us fulfill our responsibilities to provide for those we love as we make and follow plans to improve our temporal circumstances.

Principles to Understand

  • The temporal and the spiritual are linked.

  • Our priorities should reflect gospel principles.

  • Fathers are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

Teaching Suggestions

The temporal and the spiritual are linked.

Write temporal on the board and ask students what they think the word means. You may want to share with them the definition from a dictionary. Help them understand that it is related to time and earthly life and to secular concerns rather than those spiritual or sacred.

Ask:

  • What are some commandments that seem to be temporal in nature? (List the responses on the board.)

  • Why do those commandments seem temporal rather than spiritual?

  • Why is it inaccurate to believe that what we do on Sunday is spiritual and what we do the other days of the week is only temporal?

Read with students Doctrine and Covenants 29:34–35 and discuss how the commandments listed on the board affect both the temporal and spiritual aspects of our lives.

Share the following teaching from President George Q. Cannon, who was a counselor in the First Presidency:

“The plan of salvation embraces everything that belongs to men in the flesh on the earth. In the mind of our God there is no distinction between that which is spiritual and that which is temporal. He uses this phrase in revelations to us because He adapts Himself to our condition and to our mode of looking at affairs; but with Him there is no distinction between temporal and spiritual things.

“There is no distinction between spiritual salvation … and temporal salvation. Our bodies are as dear in the sight of God as our spirits. … God gives revelations for the temporal salvation of His children—that is, for the salvation of their bodies—and they are as important in their place as His revelations concerning their spirits” (Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [1957–74], 2:310).

Ask:

  • How do our spiritual strengths assist our temporal or material needs?

  • In what ways does earning a living relate to our spiritual growth?

Our priorities should reflect gospel principles.

Share the following example:

A recently returned missionary had a difficult time finding employment. He finally found two jobs that were available. The job that paid the most required that he work on Sundays. He reasoned: “I know that going to church is important, but this is a very good job offer. And even though I have to work on Sundays, I’m afraid if I don’t take the job I’ll never be able to take care of my financial responsibilities.”

Ask: What important gospel principles should this person consider? (List the responses on the board.)

Have students read Matthew 22:36–39, and ask them what those verses teach about priorities.

Review with students Elder Russell M. Nelson’s statement on page 41 of the student manual.

Ask:

  • How can correct priorities be a protection to us?

  • How can we internalize good priorities?

Explain that since God is interested in our temporal well-being as well as our spiritual well-being, He will help us with both aspects of our lives as we keep Him first in our priorities.

Share the following counsel from President Ezra Taft Benson:

“We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must come first, just as He declares in the first of His Ten Commandments: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3).

“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.

“We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives. …

“If someone wants to marry you outside the temple, whom will you strive to please—God or a mortal? If you insist on a temple marriage, you will be pleasing the Lord and blessing the other party. Why? Because that person will either become worthy to go to the temple—which would be a blessing—or will leave—which could also be a blessing—because neither of you should want to be unequally yoked (see 2 Corinthians 6:14).

“You should qualify for the temple. Then you will know that there is no one good enough for you to marry outside the temple. If such individuals are that good, they will get themselves in a condition so that they too can be married in the temple.

“We bless our fellowmen the most when we put the first commandment first. …

“God loves us; the devil hates us. God wants us to have a fulness of joy as He has. The devil wants us to be miserable as he is. God gives us commandments to bless us. The devil would have us break these commandments to curse us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 3–5; or Ensign, May 1988, 4–6).

Ask students to give examples of what they would drop out of their lives if they put God first.

Have students write in the “Notes and Impressions” section of their student manuals three important decisions they know they will make in the near future. Have them describe how proper priorities will affect each decision.

Fathers are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.

Ask students to suppose some people think it is not their responsibility to provide and care for themselves and their families. They believe that others should be responsible to provide for them.

Read with the students Doctrine and Covenants 42:42 and 56:17, and then ask: Why do you think self-reliance is an important gospel principle?

Write on the board Responsibilities of the Father and Responsibilities of the Mother.

Divide the class into three groups. Ask the first group to study the counsel from President Gordon B. Hinckley on page 41 in the student manual. Ask the second group to study the statement of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from the proclamation on the family and the teaching from President Spencer W. Kimball on p. 41 in the student manual. Ask the third group to study the statement from Elder Bruce R. McConkie on page 42 in the student manual.

Have a representative of each group list on the board the responsibilities of the father and the mother, as taught in their assigned reading.

Ask:

  • How do these responsibilities of a father and a mother generally differ?

  • What responsibilities listed on the board do they share?

Read the following statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“Some years ago President Benson delivered a message to the women of the Church. He encouraged them to leave their employment and give their individual time to their children. I sustain the position which he took.

“Nevertheless, I recognize, as he recognized, that there are some women (it has become very many, in fact) who have to work to provide for the needs of their families. To you I say, do the very best you can. I hope that if you are employed full-time you are doing it to ensure that basic needs are met and not simply to indulge a taste for an elaborate home, fancy cars, and other luxuries. The greatest job that any mother will ever do will be in nurturing, teaching, lifting, encouraging, and rearing her children in righteousness and truth. None other can adequately take her place.

“It is well-nigh impossible to be a full-time homemaker and a full-time employee. I know how some of you struggle with decisions concerning this matter. I repeat, do the very best you can. You know your circumstances, and I know that you are deeply concerned for the welfare of your children. Each of you has a bishop who will counsel with you and assist you. If you feel you need to speak with an understanding woman, do not hesitate to get in touch with your Relief Society president” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 93; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 69).

Suggested Student Assignments

  • Have the students answer the following questions in the “Notes and Impressions” section in their student manual:

    • What do you think it means to be a good provider?

    • How do the roles of a provider differ between a father and a mother? What do each provide?

    • What are you doing that will enable you to become a good provider for yourself and for your family?