“Priorities,” Family Home Evening Resource Book (1997), 213
“Priorities,” Family Home Evening Resource Book, 213
Our Heavenly Father has told us to seek first to build up the kingdom of God and establish his righteousness. The activities of our lives should be centered around this priority.
Give each family member a piece of paper. Have him leave some space at the top of his paper and write on it two things he would like to accomplish in this life. Set the papers aside to be used later.
Remind family members that they are each children of our Heavenly Father and that they used to live with him.
To help your family understand this concept, you might lead them into another room. As you stand together, tell them that this room represents the place where they all lived together before this life. One by one they left the presence of Heavenly Father and came to earth. Try to help them understand how much our Heavenly Father loved each of them as he sent them to earth to have experiences that would help them become like him. Try to help them realize how much he wants each one of his children to return safely to him. (See Moses 1:39.)
Return to the room you left, which represents your life now.
What is the most important thing our Heavenly Father wants us to do here upon the earth?
Read Matthew 6:33. You might underline the word first in this Bible verse. Explain that the word priority means something that we do first before other things. Our first great priority is to do those things that will enable us to return to our Heavenly Father.
Ask family members to write their first priority in the space they left at the top of their papers. Their statement will probably say something like “My first priority is to do those things that will help me get back to my Heavenly Father.”
Discuss how an understanding of this priority helps them evaluate the importance of everything they do in their lives. Ask each family member to look at his written statements of things he would like to do in this life. Have them ask themselves, “Will doing this thing help me get back to my Father in Heaven?” Ask family members if they would like to change their statements.
Ask the family to suggest things they could be doing individually or as a family that would show that they were putting the Lord first in their lives.
You may want to make a poster of Matthew 6:33 or one that reads, “Do not let the least important things get in the way of the most important things.”
Ask your family to pretend they are in the following situation:
Someone calls, “Help, the neighbor’s house is on fire!” As you rush to help the neighbors, which of the following would you do first? Carry out the furniture, call for help, save members of the family, or get the car out of the garage? Why did you choose as you did?
Discuss with the family the fact that all of these things are important, but saving the family members is the most important, so it is the thing you should do first.
Explain that in this situation it is very easy to see that one thing is more important than other things and so must be done first. But every day we must decide which are the most important things for us to do that day, and often we have a hard time making the right decisions.
Ask family members to list, in as much detail as possible, the things they did during the last two days. Have them set these lists aside for a few minutes.
Explain that our first priority in this life is to do the things that will help us return to our Father in Heaven. We are commanded to seek first to establish the kingdom of God (see Matthew 6:33).
What are some things that you do each day that help you or other people to return to our Father in Heaven?
They may name such things as serving other people, spending time with family members, working hard at school or job, making home a clean and pleasant place to be.
Ask family members to look at the list of things they did during the last two days and decide what this list says about their priorities. Have they been doing the things that are most important or have they been spending much of their time doing things that do not really matter?
You may want to have family members make a list of the things they want to do to help themselves and others return to our Father in Heaven. They could then make a plan for how they will use their time during the next week, making sure that they plan to get the things they have listed done.
You may want to spend another evening evaluating the effectiveness of the family’s plans for using their time.
Joshua 24:15 (Choose you this day.)
John 14:15, 21 (He that loveth me keepeth my commandments.)
2 Nephi 2:27 (We can choose.)
See also “Objectives” in the Topical Guide.
“Do What Is Right,” Hymns, no. 237.
“Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah,” Hymns, no. 83.
“I Need Thee Every Hour,” Hymns, no. 98.
“Choose the Right,” Hymns, no. 239.
Gospel Principles, chapter 15, “The Lord’s Covenant People.”