Relief Society lesson on Service
I was inspired by Sister Kingrey’s lesson last month on what holds us back from following the Savior. I would like to follow the same train of thought and talk about what holds us back from serving Him because we don’t serve His children or vice versa, not serving His children and therefore not serving Him.
Remember the principle taught in John 21:15–17. The Lord asked Peter, “Lovest thou me ¼ ?” Peter answered, “Thou knowest that I love thee.” And the Lord replied, “Feed my lambs.” The Lord asked him the second time, “Lovest thou me?” Peter again answered, “Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.” The Lord said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” The Lord asked a third time, “Lovest thou me?” Peter answered, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Jesus said unto him, “Feed my sheep.” Last week Corrie used this scripture to talk about how if we truly would be able “ to feed His lambs and nourish His sheep with testimony and the Spirit, we must also cultivate in our homes and classrooms respect for each other and reverence for God.” This scripture also suggests that to show our love for Christ we would be of service to His sheep. That’s what I would like to talk about today - service - however, talking about Relief Society and service will also include some discussion of visiting teaching, the place in Relief Society where service often starts.
Read Mosiah 18:8-10 We made this commitment when we were baptized. VT is the program that helps us put this scripture into practice. Many of us wouldn’t do some of these things on our own but will do them when assigned. I think VT helps us fulfill the commandment to “feed my sheep.” VT benefits not only those who are being taught but the one who does the teaching.
And look at what VT can accomplish. Christ “multiplied his service by twelve” in order to further his ministry, rather than doing it alone. I can see the reasons for doing it this way. FIRST, the Lord knew that every-one needed to experience the joy of service. I have learned that it I am the one who grows when I give service whether by VTing or doing compassionate service. SECOND, He needed the service of the Twelve, men who could spread his goodness and compassion, men who would carry on even after he left them. There are real needs that need to be addressed and people need the physical and spiritual help that we can bring.
The Christlike service of Relief Society visiting teachers is a living example of this multiplier effect. Fanning out into LDS homes, they can maintain heart‑to‑heart contact with every sister for whom the bishop is responsible - does our ward look like that - sisters maintaining heart-to-heart contact with each other? And their effectiveness is limited only by their creativity. “The purposes of visiting teaching are to build caring relationships with each sister and to offer support, comfort, and friendship.”
So what stops us from VTing or doing compassionate service, either freely or when called upon by assignment? IDEAS
As disciples of Christ, we too declare that we love Him. So how do we go about feeding His sheep? IDEAS
1. Visit each assigned sister regularly (where feasible, in her home every month).
2. “Learn of the spiritual and temporal needs of the sister and her family.”
3. “Offer appropriate assistance.”
4. “Give spiritual instruction through a monthly message.”3
The Lord has blessed women with divine attributes of love, compassion, kindness, and charity. Through our monthly visits as visiting teachers, we have the power to bless each sister as we extend our arms of love and kindness and give the gifts of compassion and charity. No matter what our individual circumstances are, we all have the opportunity to edify and nurture others.
We can and should be able to provide meaningful relief. We have the gospel perspective in our lives. We have divine promptings encouraging us to do good. Let us commit to effective visiting teaching. We can provide temporal and spiritual nourishment. We can and should offer understanding and be able to teach doctrine. We can relieve spiritual hunger and feed the sheep. Feeding the sheep might mean strengthening and nourishing the new members, the less active, or even the fully active members.
Sister Beck: Latter‑day Saint women must be strong and immovable in relief. We are a Relief Society, and we should be the best women in the world at providing relief. This has been our special province from the beginning. The word relief means “to lift up, lighten.” It means “a raising [up].” “The notion is ‘to raise (someone) out of trouble.’ ” Our service and the relief that we offer are a sign that we are the Lord’s disciples and we are members of His true restored Church. It is a privilege to be part of this worldwide organization for women, whose name describes what we are meant to do: provide relief.
Notwithstanding the important relief efforts of the past, the greatest and most important work for the women of this Church still lies ahead. The earth must be prepared to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, and we must help with this preparation in the midst of wars, turmoil, natural calamities, and an increase of evil. There has not been a time in the history of the world when a full‑scale relief effort was more needed. Because we are disciples of Jesus Christ and we have made covenants with Him, we are already committed by covenant to participate in that relief effort.
You are each unique and precious. Each of you has your own burdens and challenges, which give you the blessing of turning to the Lord for help. We also have the opportunity to assist the Lord by providing relief for others, which is the greatest, fastest solution to loneliness and hopelessness and a sure way to obtain the companionship of the Spirit. All we need to do to start offering relief is get on our knees and ask, “Who needs my help?” Every sister—married or single, young or old—is needed in this relief effort, and it is what we should do better than anyone else.
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