See BostonSundayLessons.org for ideas for adults, teens and children about “Making Our Communities Holy Through Service.”
Additional topics below:
- What if “serve refugees” is the answer to an unrelated prayer?
- Jesus cares a lot about the poor, from start to finish of His earthly ministry.
- “This is not a program, it is who we are.”
- God feeds the 5000; we just bring our lunch and watch Him amplify it.
- If we feel inspired to do so, we may be able to reprioritize our lives.
- Even Jesus didn’t try to do it all.
- More scriptures.
What if “serve refugees” is the answer to an unrelated prayer?
Valerie Anderson was teaching the history of the church. She said, “We were talking about one of the periods when there was a lot of persecution in the early church, and the Saints just prayed and prayed for relief. Well, the Lord gave them three revelations: pay tithing, send the men on missions, and build a temple. I’m going ‘Excuse me? This is not my idea of relief.’ I’m thinking lightning bolts from Heaven . . . , yet as you saw it unfold and you saw how making these sacrifices drew the Saints together, obviously the Lord was smarter than I was.” “For All the Saints,” (a history of the church in the Boston area) by Kristen Smith Dayley, page 66.
What if “I Was A Stranger” may be part of the answer to the challenges of pornography devastation, single women in a family-oriented church, women’s role in the church, etc.? It’s not that service takes the place of more targeted action on these issues, but Christlike service always brings unexpected blessings and perspective. For thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion, and in this THOU shalt have strength (Doctrine & Covenants 24:7, emphasis added).
Jesus cares a lot about the poor, from start to finish of His earthly ministry.
Jesus’ first act in His earthly ministry was to open the scroll in His home synagogue and read from the book of Isaiah (stop when you hear the first group of people His ministry is about): “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). Later, at His last public sermon, He declared “I was a stranger and ye took me in” (Matthew 25:35). Finally, in His last conversation with the apostles before His ascension, He asked Peter to “feed my lambs, feed my sheep, feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17. Jesus cares a lot about the poor, from start to finish of His earthly ministry.
“This is not a program, it is who we are.”
God feeds the 5000; we just bring our lunch and watch Him amplify it.
If we were on that mountainside during the miracle of the loaves and fishes (John 6:1-13), we might have felt overwhelmed when surrounded by 5000 hungry people. But God doesn’t ask US to feed them. He knows it’s impossible for us. Miracles are His job, not ours. He just asks us to surrender our lunch to Him and watch what miracles He can perform with our small contribution. Elder David A. Bednar said, “The enabling power of the Atonement strengthens us to do and be good and to serve beyond our own individual desire and natural capacity.” “The Atonement and the Journey of Mortality,” April 2012
If we feel inspired to do so, we may be able to reprioritize our lives.
Belle Spafford, previous Relief Society General President said in 1974, “The average woman today, I believe, would do well to appraise her interests, evaluate the activities in which she is engaged, and then take steps to simplify her life, putting things of first importance first, placing emphasis where the rewards will be greatest and most enduring, and ridding herself of the less rewarding activities.” “Daughters in My Kingdom,” preface.
Even Jesus didn’t try to do it all.
We often hear “What Would Jesus Do” and assume that we should help everyone all the time. But Christ took time to be alone and to rest when he needed it (Matthew 14:23). No one scolded Him for all the people whom He might have healed while resting and praying. He did not heal everyone. At the waters of Bethesda He healed only one of “a great multitude” waiting for relief (John 5:2-9). He was sent to that one man. It is not about quantity but saving our best for what matters most. It’s about doing what the Lord asks us to do: nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.
- Acts 10:38 “Jesus. . . went about doing good. for God was with him.”
- 3 Nephi 27:21: “[T]he works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do.” verse 27: “”what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”
- Doctrine & Covenants 64:33 “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.”
- Psalms 57:1 David was a refugee, hiding from Saul, and finds refuge with God, “until these calamities be overpast.”
- Other refugees in the scriptures, among many: Jesus (born in a manger, refugee in Egypt as a child, without a place “to lay his head” as an adult); Joseph (sold into Egypt: Genesis 37-45); Ruth and Naomi, fleeing famine in Moab (Ruth 1:6); Daniel captive in Babylon (Daniel 1-5); Joseph and Emma Smith, Brigham Young and all the saints (Doctrine & Covenants 135, 136).