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Howard W. Hunter Chapter 20: Walking the Savior's Path of Charity is a great chapter to study before all the holidays come. If we can develop a better habit of charity now, think of how great we'll be able to kick off the new year. Charity is goal that really matters.
In the last section of this manual, President Hunter relates a story about Vern Crowley and how he learned there is a way out of every problem. There is not only a way but there is a different way than we may often first think- a better and higher way. A more excellent way. How amazing is the phrase, "Charity never faileth." Never, not once.
One of the negative things that may occur as you teach about charity is some will hear of all these acts and feel like they have never been the recipient of any. Watch for those that may have a sad countenance and see if you can reach out to them this week. Sometimes we get so weighed down it's hard to see any of the good. However, as Sister Jean B. Bingham mentioned in this past Women's Session of General Conference, as we count our many blessings we see a truer perspective. Help them remember the good.
- Use the black handout above to talk about the touchstone test. The top line is gold and the bottom line is less pure. you can find this quote at the end of section 2. The link takes you to an image. You will have to right click to save the image. You can then order prints or put them in a Word Document to print at home.
- Stage some opportunities for charity around the classroom before your class starts- Have someone sit alone, another drop a pile of papers, someone else linger by the door but won't come in, etc. See how people respond and use it to start a discussion at the beginning of your lesson. Chances are some didn't notice at all, others found excuses not to help, and some helped immediately. Don't focus on who helped, focus on how there are opportunities for charity all around us everywhere almost all the time. We have to open our eyes and heart in order to see them and act upon them.
- Use the tree branch handout to discuss the 2 great commandments. How does everything else hang on these two commandments?
- Ask for examples of charity this past week from the class- either something they did, witnessed, or had done to them. Fill the board up the best you can. Then cover up all the acts with some weeds (paper or draw them on). How sad it would have been if these people didn't choose to cut through their weeds to do these acts of charity this week. Use Elder James E. Talmage's quote, "Excuses [not to do so] are easy to find; they spring up as readily and plentifully as weeds by the wayside." (section 2) How do you chop down the weeds and get to the doing?
- Use the hymn, "Lord, I Would Follow Thee" as a musical number, put the music to a slideshow of people in your ward serving, or dissect it as a class pointing out all the different ways to be charitable like the Savior. Also talk about the blessing of finding "strength beyond [our] own" as we do these things.
- In section 5, President Hunter mentions how charity is "the highest pinnacle the human soul can reach." Illustrate this point with a mountain drawing on the board. At the very bottom we are completely selfish, at the top put charity. How do we climb the mountain? Discuss it as a class and have your class fill in the middle.
- Video with more ideas below. Join the Private Facebook Group for more ideas.
Questions to Ponder
- Why do you think President Hunter refers to the 2 great commandments as "the Lord's touchstone"?
- What kind of mark are you leaving on the Lord's touchstone?
- Are you a good neighbor?
- Does the test show you to be 24-karat gold or can a trace of fool's gold be detected?
- What can you learn from President Hunter's account of the parable of the good Samaritan?
- How can you increase your love for those who are more difficult to love?
- How do you overcome the excuses the pop up?
- Why is it important to remember that God has made your neighbors everywhere?
- How have you been blessed by someone who has loved and served you in a time of need?
- Who can you serve now?
- How can you develop greater love for others?
- What are some ways you can more actively show your love?
- When have you felt the Savior's love in your life?
- What blessings have come to you as you have exercised charity?
- How do you "clothe" yourself with charity?
- What do you learn from President Hunter's story of Vern Crowley?
- How can you replace feelings of "anger and vengeance" with feelings of charity?
- What experiences have helped you learn that charity is the more excellent way?
Suggested Study Schedule
Please remember these articles are to enhance your knowledge and strengthen your testimony of this principle. They are not to replace your lesson in shape or form. Most the words you teach should still be from the manual.
Remember to join our Private Facebook Group to discover more thoughts and ideas.
Watch: The Coat (about 2 minutes)
Watch: Parable of the Good Samaritan (about 5 minutes)
"Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"Love- the Essence of the Gospel" by President Thomas S. Monson
"Choosing Charity: That Good Part" by Sister Bonnie D. Parkin
"Charity Never Faileth" by President Thomas S. Monson
"He Asks Us to Be His Hands" by Sister Cheryl A. Esplin
"I Was a Stranger" by Sister Linda K. Burton is a good one to read too.