“Sharing Time: Nephi Builds a Ship,” Tambuli, Mar. 1992, 9
Nephi wrote down the things that happened to him and his family. We can read his history in the Book of Mormon. One of the things he told about was how he was blessed while he built a ship as the Lord had commanded him.
Nephi and his family had been journeying in the wilderness for eight years. When they kept the commandments, the Lord blessed them, and they were able to find food and had health and strength.
One day the voice of the Lord said to Nephi, “Arise, and get thee into the mountain” (1 Ne. 17:7). Nephi obeyed, and the Lord told him there, “Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters” (1 Ne. 17:8).
Nephi did not know how to build a ship, nor did he have the tools to do it. But he knew that the Lord had told him to do it, and he “did strive to keep the commandments of the Lord” (1 Ne. 17:15).
Nephi prayed for guidance. The Lord told him where to find ore to make tools and gave him instructions on how to build the ship. Nephi’s brothers, Laman and Lemuel, didn’t think he could do it, and they refused to help him. “Our brother is a fool,” they said, “for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters” (1 Ne. 17:17).
Nephi told Laman and Lemuel that God had commanded him to build the ship and that He would help them to do it. He reminded them of the many times the Lord had already helped them.
But Laman and Lemuel only got angry and wanted to throw Nephi into the ocean. As they tried to grab him, he said, “In the name of the Almighty God, I command you that ye touch me not … ; and whoso shall lay his hands upon me shall wither even as a dried reed” (1 Ne. 17:48).
Laman and Lemuel were so frightened that they didn’t dare touch Nephi. After many days had passed, the Lord told Nephi to “Stretch forth thine hand again to thy brethren” (1 Ne. 17:53). When he did so, they were shaken by the power of the Lord. Laman and Lemuel then knew that the Lord had commanded Nephi to build the ship, and they began to help him. When the ship was finished, they put all the things needed for the journey into the ship. Then they sailed for the promised land.
God helped Nephi and his people obey the commandment to build the ship. He showed them how to make tools and how to build the ship. When they did as the Lord directed, they felt reverence for Heavenly Father and for one another.
The Lord has commanded us to be honest, to go to church, to be kind, to pay our tithing, and to do many other things. As we pray for his help in keeping his commandments, he will give us the courage and direction we need. When we obey his commandments, we will have a reverent feeling for Heavenly Father and Jesus.
Mount the figures on pages 10–11 on lightweight cardboard. Color and cut out the figures. Put sand into a shallow box, and add shells or other objects to make it look like a seashore. Fold back the tabs on the figures as indicated. Place them inside the box as you tell the story of how Nephi obeyed God’s commandment to build a ship.
Have the younger children draw a picture of themselves or their families obeying a commandment—going to church or praying, for example. Ask some of the children to show their pictures to the group. Talk about ways Heavenly Father helps us to keep the commandments, and discuss the feeling of reverence that we develop as we obey him.
Have each Primary leader prepare a story from the Book of Mormon that teaches the importance of keeping the commandments. Divide the children into groups and have them rotate to different areas of the room to hear each leader’s presentation.
Dramatize stories from the Book of Mormon that show how obedience to the commandments brings blessings from Heavenly Father.
Notice ways the children are obeying the commandments. Share your observations with them. Ask the children to share experiences of when they have noticed other children obeying the commandments.