A Gift for Billy

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“A Gift for Billy,” Friend, Oct. 2010, 2–3

Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

A Gift for Billy

From “Only a Teacher,” Ensign, Jan. 1990, 2.

President Thomas S. Monson

President Monson tells about how a class of children learned compassion from a Sunday School teacher.

Perhaps the teacher you and I remember best is the one who influenced us most.

It was my experience as a small boy to come under the influence of such a teacher. In our Sunday School class, she taught us concerning the Creation of the world, the Fall of Adam, and the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

One Sunday morning she announced sadly to us the death of a classmate’s mother. We had missed Billy that morning but knew not the reason for his absence. The lesson featured the theme, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Midway through the lesson, our teacher closed the manual and asked, “How much money do we have in our class party fund?”

Depression days prompted a proud answer: “Four dollars and seventy-five cents.”

Then she suggested, “Billy’s family is hard-pressed and grief-stricken. What would you think of the possibility of visiting the family members this morning and giving to them your fund?”

Ever shall I remember the tiny band walking those three city blocks, entering Billy’s home, greeting him, his brother, sisters, and father. Tears glistened in the eyes of all as the white envelope containing our precious party fund passed from the hand of our teacher to the hand of a grief-stricken father. We fairly skipped our way back to the chapel. Our hearts were lighter than they had ever been, our joy more full, our understanding more profound. A God-inspired teacher had taught her boys and girls an eternal lesson of divine truth: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Left illustration by Jewel Hodson