Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lesson 11: “The Field Is White Already to Harvest”

To help class members resolve to strengthen the kingdom of God through diligent service, particularly by sharing the gospel through missionary work.
The following true story highlights thee important concepts that we will be discussing today:
1. Prepare ourselves to do God’s Work
2. Serve Him with all our might, mind and strength
3. Remember this is His work and:
a. He is preparing people to hear his words
b. He will give us the words we should speak if we but open our mouths

"Most of the way through the talk, my eyes were drawn to two little slips of paper sitting on my desk. Two papers, each containing a name of a perspective elder in the our ward. Two papers containing a commitment I’d made to visit these people. Of course, I knew that once I left for conference I wouldn’t be able to keep my commitment and that I had better just go and take care of it now. So, I paused the talk, said a prayer, and jumped in my car, off to look for these people.
I found the first home with a little difficulty as their house number wasn’t on their home, but I did find it. A woman answered the door, and I asked, is this where Ken lives? She said yes, but he’s not here, he’s deployed, out to sea. I explained that I was from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’ll try to recount the conversation the best I can below:
* Ken doesn’t claim to be a member of your church.
* OK. Here’s what I'd like to offer. I know how hard it is to be a single parent while your spouse is out to sea. I’d like to offer myself as someone who can come into your home and share with you a message of Christ. Also, I can be someone you can lean on for any help you might need. It’s something we do in our church and it’s called Home Teaching.
* Yes, I know, I grew up a Mormon too.
* Really?
* Yes, but I don’t consider myself a member.
* If you don't want us to come over any more, I can give you a way that we can make sure that doesn't happen any more. You can write a letter to the bishop and you can have your name removed from the records of the church. Then it will be as if you had never been baptized, and we won't bug you any more. But as long as you're on our list, we're going to drop by. It's what we do.
* Well, I don't think I'd want to go that far...
* Well, I’d like to offer myself one more time, I can be someone you can call for anything, even just for help fixing a flat tire. (I shared with her how I had done that with another Navy lady I home teach while her husband was deployed.)
* Well, I’ll think about it.
* I feel that I need to tell you that the Lord is mindful of who you are, and your needs. He loves you and wants you to know that.
* Now you’re going to make me cry.
* I’m sorry, but that’s what I'm here for... to share this message with you. That God knows YOU.
* Bishops, relief society, home teachers, missionaries have been trying to come for 20 years, and here I am, crying.
* I don’t understand why I was here today, or what just happened, but I know I was on the Lords errand, and he had a special message for you, and I got to be the one to bring it. Once again I’d like to offer myself as someone that can be here for you.
* I’ll think about it. Can I have your name and number?
* Sure... I don’t even know your name.
* Hi Cyndi, good to meet you. :-)
* It’s good to meet you too. :-)
* I need to be going now, but I want to testify to you one more time... this wasn’t my doing. There was a reason I was here today. God wanted you to know that you are loved.
And I left. Our entire conversation was probably about five minutes, but SO much was communicated, taught, and learned. A hard heart was softened. A closed door was opened.
As I got in my car, I immediately bowed my head and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. This was EXACTLY what I needed. This healing was for me too. As I left her house, all I could say, “I thank thee, I thank thee, I thank thee.” I was overwhelmed at the miracle that had just occurred.
When I returned home, I resumed the talk where I had paused it and this is the next thing that Elder Eyring said:
“Your faith will grow as you serve the Lord in caring for Heavenly Father’s children as the Lord’s teacher to their home. You will have your prayers answered. You will come to know for yourself that He lives, that He loves us, and that He sends inspiration to those with even the beginnings of faith in Him and with the desire to serve Him in His Church.”"

They have continued to meet weekly and subsequently he learned that Cyndi's grandfather was an active member. Her Grandfather had died not too long ago and it had really impacted her as she was close to him. Her heart was softened; she was prepared to hear this message.

1. Prepare to serve the Lord
What are some of the attributes the Lord desires in those who serve Him? (See the following scriptures. List the attributes on the chalkboard and use the questions to encourage discussion.)
a. D&C 4:3; 11:8. Why is desire an important attribute in serving the Lord? How can we increase our desire to serve Him.
b. D&C 4:5–6; 12:8; 18:19. Which attributes are repeated most frequently in these verses? Invite class members to share experiences that show the importance of any of these attributes in serving the Lord.
c. D&C 11:6, 20. Why is obedience important in serving the Lord?
d. D&C 4:7; 31:12. How has prayer helped you in serving the Lord? Encourage class members to select one of these attributes and prayerfully strive to improve in it.

2. Serve him with all our might, mind and strength
• Read D&C 4:1–2 with class members. According to verse 2, what does the Lord require of those who serve in His kingdom?
What does it mean to serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength? (This suggests total dedication to the Lord’s service.)
• Why is it important that we devote our whole souls to the Lord’s service?
• Why are we sometimes less than fully committed to the Lord’s service?
• How can we improve our commitment to serve the Lord with full devotion?

3. Remember - This is God’s work
a. “The field is white.” - He is preparing people
Throughout the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord communicates a sense of urgency about spreading the gospel. This is because the purpose of missionary work is “the salvation of souls” (D&C 100:4).

• Read D&C 4:4, 11:3, and D&C 33:3 with class members. What did the Lord mean by comparing missionary work to a field that is ready to be harvested? (Answers could include that many people are prepared to receive the gospel.
• The Lord warned the elders not to be idle and said that they should “go forth” rather than “tarry” (D&C 60:13; 75:3). How might this warning apply to us? Why do some of us delay sharing the gospel?

b. “Open our mouths and they shall be filled.”
In the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord gives direction about what we should teach and how we should teach as we share the gospel.
He also encourages us to share the gospel without fear, promising to help when we feel inadequate.
• Read some of the following verses with class members: D&C 11:9, 15:6, 18:6, 31:3–4, 33:10–11, 42:12, and D&C 52:8–9.
What do these verses reveal about what the Lord’s servants should teach? Why is the message of repentance so important? (See D&C 18:10–14. *
• Read some of the following verses with class members: D&C 18:20–21, 38:41, 42:6, 14, 75:4, and D&C 100:7–8.
What do these verses reveal about how the Lord’s servants should teach? Why is it important to avoid contention in teaching the gospel?
What does it mean to “[lift] up your voices as with the sound of a trump”? (D&C 42:6; 75:4).
How can we be both bold and meek as we teach the gospel? (See Alma 38:10–12.)
• The Lord repeatedly exhorted the elders to open their mouths to declare His gospel, “not fearing what man can do” (D&C 30:11; see also D&C 30:5; 33:8–11).
The Lord also said that He is not pleased with those who “will not open their mouths … because of the fear of man” (D&C 60:2).
How might this apply to us? How can we overcome fear in sharing the gospel? (See D&C 19:38; 33:12–14; 75:9–13.

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