Chapter 15: Serving One Another

“Chapter 15: Serving One Another,” The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual Religion 150 (2017)

“Chapter 15: Serving One Another,” The Gospel and the Productive Life Teacher Manual

Chapter 15

Serving One Another

Thailand: Family Life


Service is an important part of our eternal progression. We grow by serving others and by allowing others to serve us. Encourage students to plan for a lifetime of meaningful service, and help them understand that they should not feel guilty or ashamed about receiving help. Those who are served go on to serve others in many different ways.

Principles to Understand

  • The Lord’s servants and the scriptures teach us to serve each other.

  • Everyone needs help at some time.

  • We can serve each other in many different ways.

  • Serving each other should be a lifetime pursuit.

Teaching Suggestions

The Lord’s servants and the scriptures teach us to serve each other

Tell students the following story: Andrew was a popular athlete in his school. He was also somewhat proud of his accomplishments. One day his bishop asked him to spend two hours a week helping at a nearby orphanage. He was upset by his bishop’s request.

Ask students to use the study helps in their scriptures to find verses they could share with Andrew regarding his bishop’s request for his service. Invite several students to share a scripture they found and to explain why they feel it applies to Andrew.

Ask several students to read aloud the statements by General Authorities under the section “The Lord’s servants and the scriptures teach us …” in the student manual. Invite students to find principles and ideas they could share that would also be relevant to the bishop’s request.

  • In what ways might Andrew grow from this experience?

  • Of what value might his service be to those in the orphanage?

  • Why do you think the subject of service is mentioned frequently in the scriptures and by the Lord’s servants?

  • In what ways does serving others draw you closer to the Savior?

Everyone needs help at some time

Share the following story: Cinthia was always available to help others. Nearly everyone in her ward had received her help at some time. She seemed to know when people needed something even before they told anyone. One day she fell down some stairs while helping another family clean their home. She broke her leg and was placed in a full-length leg cast for several months. The many people she had helped gathered around her and offered to help by serving her. To their surprise, she refused to allow them to help.

Ask students to discuss this situation and the advice they would offer to Cinthia and those in her ward.

Invite students to share who they think might need the service or strength we can offer. List students’ responses on the board. The list might include the following:

  • The sick

  • The lonely

  • The sad

  • The widowed

  • The hungry

  • The poor

  • Newly-called missionaries

  • Parents with young children

  • Single parents

  • Children who are fatherless or motherless

  • Those suffering the effects of sin

Explain that we sometimes look for opportunities to serve others when those who have the greatest needs are within the walls of our own home.

  • Why do we sometimes overlook the needs within our own families?

Ask a student to read aloud the excerpt from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” under the section “Everyone needs help at some time” in the student manual.

  • What does the proclamation on the family teach about service?

  • What reasons do we sometimes give for not serving our family?

Invite students to share examples of times they served members of their family and how they felt about serving them.

Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008):

Hinckley, Gordon B.

“We are prone to speak of large numbers such as the total membership of the Church. But we must never forget that we are all individuals with our own needs and problems, our own hopes and dreams, our own faith and convictions. Some are strong, some weak, but we all try. We have problems to deal with—they are serious and difficult. We need one another to build and strengthen each other. We must never lose sight of the fact that we are to ‘succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees’ (D&C 81:5)” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Work Moves Forward,” Ensign, May 1999, 5).

  • How do you feel when you receive needed help?

  • Why is it important to be humble enough not only to frequently give service but to receive it when we need it?

We can serve each other in many different ways

The miracles Jesus performed exemplify acts of service. Write the following scripture references on the board, leaving out the phrases in parentheses. Divide the references among class members. Instruct students to silently read their assigned scripture and then write on the board next to the scripture reference a brief description of the service the Savior rendered. (Depending on the size of your class, you may need to add to the list or use fewer references.)

Disuss the following questions:

  • What are some acts of service we can perform for others?

  • What are some acts of service we can give to God? (After responses, invite a student to read Mosiah 2:17 aloud if it was not mentioned.)

  • How important is our attitude when giving service? Why?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has become internationally recognized for its humanitarian efforts. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

Hinckley, Gordon B.

“[In the Church] will be found hundreds of thousands of men, from all honorable walks of life, endowed with authority to act in the name of God and obligated under the very nature of the sacred gift each has received to strengthen and assist one another. …

“This is one of the great purposes of quorum organization in the priesthood of the Church—to bring an awareness of the needs of others and an opportunity and a vehicle to strengthen one another” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “What Will the Church Do for You, a Man?” Ensign, July 1972, 71).

Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by Sister Mary Ellen Smoot, who served as Relief Society General President, to the women of the Church:

Smoot, Mary Ellen Wood

“I am constantly inspired by your faith, your goodness, and your desire to do what the Lord wants you to do. Thank you for your service. … Everywhere I go, I see the fruits of Relief Society being manifest in the lives of the sisters of the Church. Each of us is an instrument in the hands of God. …

“ … When we unitedly serve each other and all of our Father’s children, we can be instruments in the hands of God, not only to relieve physical suffering but, more importantly, to succor those who are in need spiritually” (Mary Ellen Smoot, “We Are Instruments in the Hands of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 89, 91).

  • In what ways can you and your family do more to help those in need?

Invite several students to take turns reading Mosiah 4:16–27 aloud. Then discuss the following questions:

  • What should our attitude be about “impart[ing] of the substance that [we] have” (verse 21)?

  • Should we give money to everyone who asks for it? Are there times when other kinds of service would be more helpful?

  • What should our attitude be if we “have not and yet have sufficient” (verse 24)?

  • What does it mean to “see that all these things are done in wisdom and order” (verse 27)?

Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder H. Burke Peterson (1923–2013) of the Seventy:

Peterson, H. Burke

“We have been taught in [the scriptures] that no matter how great and significant our mortal accomplishments, no matter how much was accomplished under our hand—as a bishop, a clerk, a president, a teacher, or a parent—unless we learn to exhibit charity, we are nothing. (See 1 Cor. 13:1–3.) All our good deeds will not weigh in our favor if charity is lacking.

“Charity is measured in several ways. Perhaps a supreme form of charity may be exhibited by one who withholds judgment of another’s acts or conduct, remembering that there is only one who can look into the heart and know the intent—and know the honest desires found therein. There is only one whose right it is to judge the success of another’s journey through life. Uncalled-for judgments or prejudiced feelings keep many from displaying a truly charitable attitude or a willingness to help those in need, even those in our own family circle” (H. Burke Peterson, “Our Responsibility to Care for Our Own,” Ensign, May 1981, 81).

Help students understand that we should find ways to help those in need that truly strengthen them. You may want to review with students the principles in chapter 9, “Becoming Self-Reliant in the Lord’s Way.”

Serving each other should be a lifetime pursuit

Invite students to think of a person they know personally whose life has been filled with service. Write on the board How they served. Without having students give the name of the person they are thinking about, ask students to share the kinds of service that person gives to others. List students’ responses on the board.

  • How does this person’s service follow the principle taught in Matthew 6:3–4?

  • According to Doctrine and Covenants 64:33, what does the Lord teach about small acts of service?

  • What are some of the oldest people you know doing to help others?

  • What does their example teach you about the importance of serving throughout our lives?

Tell students that when some people are released from a calling that required great service, such as a mission, they mistakenly feel that because they have done so much they are entitled to rest from serving others.

  • Why can this attitude be spiritually dangerous?

Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Ballard, M. Russell

“To those of you who have already served [full-time missions], please remember that you were released from your missions but not from the Church. You spent two years as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. We expect you to always look and act like one of His disciples. Look the part. Act the part. Don’t follow worldly trends and fashions. … The rules for happiness and success after your mission are pretty much the same as they were during your mission: pray hard, work hard, and be obedient” (M. Russell Ballard, “The Greatest Generation of Missionaries,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2002, 49).

  • How is Elder Ballard’s counsel applicable to all Latter-day Saints?

  • Why must we continue to serve the Lord and His children throughout our lives?

Suggested Student Assignments

  1. Invite students to consider ways to help someone in their family, in their local Church congregation, and in their community during the coming week. Ask them to think of a person in each of the three categories if possible. Invite students to write about their experiences in their class notebooks or study journals.