Guest Author - Terrie Lynn Bittner
The following is a family home evening lesson or other type of lesson based on a general conference talk. I will be doing these periodically. The lesson is written for adults, teenagers, and some older children. It requires minimal preparation. I'm not good in the handout department, so although I chose a quote for the handout, you are on your own to decide what to do with it!
Source: General Conference, October 2003, Relief Society Session
Speaker: Bonnie D. Parkin, General Relief Society President
Title of Talk: Choosing Charity: That Good Part
1. Picture of Mary and Martha (Gospel Art Kit picture 219)
2. Scriptures for each person
3. Copies of Sister Parkin’s talk for students old enough to use it.
4. Chalkboard or whiteboard and something to write on them with
5. Poster of two sentences from Sister Parkin: “Charity is our love for the Lord, shown through our acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding for one another….Charity is also the Lord's love for us, shown through His acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding.”
6. Have a copy of Marvin J. Ashton’s quote marked or on a separate piece of paper for a student to read.
7. Handout (described at end of lesson)
Attention: Show the picture of Mary and Martha. (You can bring it up on the computer and show it there. It is available on LDS.org in the section of resources for families.) Ask students to find this story in their scriptures. (Luke 10) If students do not know where the story is and don’t know how to find it, show them. Read it together to the point where Martha complains to Jesus.
Question: Who was doing the right thing—Mary or Martha? Why did each feel her actions were acceptable? Why was Martha upset about Mary’s behavior? Accept any answers from students. Then ask them to read Jesus’ answer. Did Jesus understand how Martha felt? What was he trying to teach her? What was the better part?
Vocabulary: Write the word charity on a chalkboard or whiteboard. Ask your students to look it up in the Bible Dictionary. What does charity mean? If you have time, have students look up a few of the scriptural references listed in the entry. Discuss what true charity is, based on this information. Show the poster with Sister Parkin’s definition of charity: “Charity is our love for the Lord, shown through our acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding for one another….Charity is also the Lord's love for us, shown through His acts of service, patience, compassion, and understanding.”
Questions: What are some of the ways we can reduce the value of the service we give? What are some ways we make it harder to provide service to another? Have students skim the talk to find ideas after they have contributed their own ideas.
Quote: Ask someone to read the following quote from Marvin J. Ashton. Students can follow along in their copy of the talk. "Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don't judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone's differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn't handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other."
Discussion: This sounds easy, but in practice can be very challenging. Ask students to list ways they can learn to do this. Write answers on board. Sister Parkin offers suggestions in her talk.
Application: Give each student a piece of paper, an envelope and a pen or pencil. Ask them to write the name of someone who could benefit from their service. Encourage them to select someone they find difficult to serve. Have them write what they will do for this person and how they will overcome their challenges. They do not need to share what they write. Encourage them to write this goal in their journals and to record what happens, how they feel and what they learn.
Make a simple handout that includes this quote from the talk: “I invite you to not only love each other more but love each other better.”