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A Generous Heart

Have you ever prepared the same lesson as someone else for Sunday school?

It can cause for a difficult moment. Or, it can be the opportunity for a kind deed by someone who is generous of heart.

Last week one of the gospel doctrine teachers asked me to sub for her. I love preparing gospel doctrine lessons. It forces me to spend a week in the scriptures, which is honestly one of my favorite things to do. So I read 3 Nephi 1-7 over and over all week. I felt specific instruction and answer to prayers I’ve had. I felt God’s love for me and His infinite wisdom in preparing the Book of Mormon full of answers for my life…

The only way I had time for all this study this week was because of one person: Joseph. He took the kids and gave me the time I needed. He also prepared the chart I needed (see below!) And he encouraged me when I thought I really am silly to put so much into a lesson when my family needs to eat dinner.

Sunday morning at our house is a bit…crazy. Bathing, feeding and dressing everyone is always a task but there is something about doing it all for three hours of church that is even more intense! Anyone agree with me on this? I thought that as a missionary covering 4 wards, attending 6 hours of church, teaching as many appointments as we could squeeze in, and talking with as many members as we could made for the most un-restful Sunday ever. I wish I could go back and tell my 21 year old self… just you wait. ha. church with young children blows any ‘busy’ day I had out of the water. Recovering from the rush of the morning with the added last minute lesson preparations took most of sacrament meeting. I wondered is this all really worth it just to teach a 40 minute lesson?

Joseph saw the other usual gospel doctrine teacher (who is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had a chance to learn from!) slip out early from Sacrament meeting and he said, I wonder if she prepared to teach today too.

Yup. She did. The teacher who had asked me to sub must have forgotten they had already worked out the schedule. My heart sank as I realized I had pushed my family to the limit this past week for no reason, someone else prepared the lesson and I had done so needlessly.

I suppose one never prepares a lesson needlessly considering its our souls that need to be taught, not so much lessons that need to be taught. But still.

By the time I walked in the room, Joseph had already let Jan know that I had prepared the lesson too. Jan (the real teacher) gave me a hug and told me I could teach the class and she would be fine with that.

!!!!!!

All the time she spent preparing– yet, she quickly just let me move in. I wondered if I should be stepping aside since she is the real teacher and I’m just a substitute, I kept thinking the price my family -especially Joseph- had to pay for me to prepare this lesson. And my heart felt a rush of gratitude for Jan for seeing this situation more clearly than I could. She put aside her perspective and saw the world from mine. There isn’t a better definition of compassion.

I’m quite certain she would have taught the lesson better. In fact afterwards when we were discussing how much fun we had both had reading these incredible chapters, she told me what she had pulled from the same 30 years of history. We all missed out on hearing her great insights and thoughts! Nevertheless, her example of selflessly stepping aside will stick with me forever.

What is charity other than putting aside our way to uplift, comfort and inspire another?

I wish I could have been the stronger one today, but I am thankful for the lesson I learned so that next time I can be the compassionate friend that Jan was for me today.

 

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Lara

 

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For today’s study- here are a few of the lesson notes from one of the best sections of scripture. 3 Nephi 1-7. Enjoy!

S: (Prayer/Ask) How can I keep peace in my life, even in the turbulent times that we live in?

M: (Study)

  • Look at the following chart. What trends do you notice? Which parts make you want to go read the details?

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  • A Chinese proverb I heard on my mission goes something like this: How do you find peace? First thing when you wake up, find a place of peace in your heart. Then don’t leave there all day. These Nephities let their righteousness fluctuate up and down, again and again- each time they let Satan push them away from God they lose their peace. Each time we let Satan push us away from our place near to God we lose our peace.
  • Read the most sarcastic section in the Book of Mormon, Giddiahi’s letter. 3 Nephi 3:1-10 Then read the following:

Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! -Isaiah 5:20

  • Read 3 Nephi 2:1-2. This is only a few years after the star appeared to mark the birth of Christ. Read what Elder Maxwell says about this.

How quickly [Satan] moves in even where people have had special spiritual experiences, seeking to get people who have seen signs ‘to disbelieve all which they had heard and seen.’ (3 Nephi 2:1–2.) The adversary has a better chance to persuade us that what we believe is foolish if we worry about looking foolish in front of our fellowmen. -Neal A. Maxwell 1978

  • To the heart break of the parents, many of the rising generation go over to the Gadianton Robbers. (3 Nephi 1:28-30) Often the “Me Generation” of selfishness and putting ourselves first cause us to walk away from our God.

The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come … the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. -C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

  • After defeating the robbers, the Nephites have a short span of peace and prosperity. Their quick fall back into wickedness is summed up in President Eyring’s words:

A little prosperity and peace, or even a turn slightly for the better, can bring us feelings of self-sufficiency. We can feel quickly that we are in control of our lives, that the change for the better is our own doing, not that of a God who communicates to us through the still, small voice of the Spirit. Pride creates a noise within us which makes the quiet voice of the Spirit hard to hear. And soon, in our vanity, we no longer even listen for it. We can come quickly to think we don’t need it. -Henry B. Eyring 2001

O: (Ponder)

  • This is what Ezra Taft Benson said: “The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming.” (1987) Why do you think this is true?
  • Read this quote and think about why the secular woman or man can never be a woman or man of God:

It requires watchfulness and great effort to be men and women of faith in a secular world. It is the nature of people, when inundated by worldliness, to “first endure, then pity, then embrace.” Secularism is inundating people today with such results. Unchecked by faith in Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of mankind, the secular world produces men and women who are “proud, obsessed with self, overly competitive, reactionary, fiercely independent, driven by desires, appetites, [and] worldly acclaim. … In general, the natural man is an unredeemed creature, a being who walks … in the light of his own fire … [see 2 Nephi 7:10–11]. Such a one is acclimated to the nature of things about him, taking his cues and bearings from a fallen world.” Succinctly stated, “All men that are in a state of nature, or … in a carnal state, … are without God in the world” (Alma 41:11). -Keith B. McMullin 2015

  • As I studied and felt so sad for the Nephites quick falls back in and out of sin, scriptures that described “The Few” who stayed righteous regardless kept popping out at me. I went through and listed them all. Read through the list. Does anything surprise you on it?

The Few

3 Nephi 1

8 Watch steadfastly

11 Mighty prayer

23 Baptism (covenants), remission of sins
3 Nephi 2

12, 14 Uniting
3 Nephi 3

12 Not frightened

16 Great words/prophesies

25 Listening to prophets and preparing, mighty prayer
3 Nephi 4

10 Meet foe in the strength of the Lord

33 Gratitude, felt God’s deliverance
3 Nephi 5

1 All believe

3 Forsake sins

4 preach the word of God, forgiveness, generosity of heart to robbers, share with previous enemies
3 Nephi 6

13 They receive railing and persecution and all manner of affliction, remain humble and penitent

14 Converted to the true faith, firm, steadfast, immovable, willing with all diligence to keep commandment

20 Men inspired from heaven (connection to God is strong), preaching, testifying boldly, speaking of Christ
3 Nephi 7

7 Few righteous men

15 Visited by angels, eye witness, power given to him that he might know concerning Christ, grieved because of wickedness, testifying boldly of repentance and faith, ministering with power and authority, angels minister daily, miracles

21 Visited by power and spirit of Christ

22 Marvelous miracles

24 Baptism/covenants

R: (Write) your thoughts, what you learned, impressions you received, and anything else in your scripture journal (include your thoughts on the study session question: How can I keep peace in my life, even in the turbulent times that we live in?)

  • Copy down your favorite quote into your scripture journal.
  • Write down your response to the challenge below.

E: (Prayer/Thank)- thank God for what you’ve learned and ask if there is anymore.

The Challenge: Look back over the list of things that “The Few” did. Circle three you’d like to work on. Write them down and place them where you will see it often.

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S'mores (4071) - BSP Assignment #206005