Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday thoughts


So, I was asked to give a talk on home teaching. I immediately came up blank on that, but with a little help from lds.org (and Jill's dad!), I came up with some material. And, as usually happens, I was scrambling to finish in a timely manner and had to leave out much of my talk.

The highlights:

-- The bishopric member I spoke with on the phone said, "You just can't be a member of this church and be a hermit." This actually gave me pause and I thought about it for a couple of days. Because I am a hermit! Or at least, very hermit-like. I have determined that it is a very good thing I have church callings, or I might truly never get to know anyone in the ward. Who are we kidding? I might never leave the house. And I am thinking that moving to Paris is probably a really good thing for me as well -- talk about going outside of my comfort zone.

-- Home teachers support and serve all members of the families they visit. They nurture the friendship and respect of these members, showing genuine concern and love for them. They become acquainted with each member's interests and needs and recognize special events in their lives. (Church handbook)

-- "To perform fully our duty as home teachers, we should be continually aware of the attitudes, the activities and interests, the problems, the employment, the health, the happiness, the plans and purposes, the physical, temporal, and spiritual needs and circumstances of everyone - of every child, every youth, and every adult in the homes and families who have been placed in our trust and care as bearers of the Priesthood and representatives of the bishop. This is literally the Lord's way to watch over his flock." (David O. McKay)

-- "In this world of gluttony and greed, there is a certain satisfaction that comes from rendering service to others purely because of love and not for pay. I think the Apostle Peter felt that same exhilaration when he wrote:

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; (1 Peter 5:2)

"I recognize that it takes time to develop the discipline and desire to prioritize concern for others ahead of one's personal interests. That ennobling transition begins when one makes the baptismal covenant:

Now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light;
Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things...

"Home teaching opportunities provide a means by which an important aspect of character may be developed: love of service above self." (Russell M. Nelson)

-- Above all, be a genuine friend to the individuals and families you teach. (Ezra Taft Benson)

-- I talked about how I have been given a visiting teaching assignment multiple times where I didn't think I had anything in common with either my companion or one of the sisters we were to visit. Without fail, I learned to love those sisters -- usually very quickly. I quoted one of my former companions who said, "I love it when the Lord chooses my friends!"

-- President Faust related an incident that happened to him as a young boy. His father found a lost lamb in the desert and brought it home. He was given the charge to care for the lamb. He fed it out of a bottle, played with it, named it, and generally considered it his pet. One stormy night, he forgot to put his lamb in the barn. He could hear it bleating outside, but he didn't want to get up out of his cozy bed. In the morning, he saw that his lamb had been killed by a dog. He said:

"My young heart was broken. I had not been a good shepherd or steward of that which my father had entrusted to me. My father said, 'Son, couldn't I trust you to take care of just one lamb?' My father's remark hurt me more than losing my woolly friend. I resolved that day, as a boy, that I would try never again to neglect my stewardship as a shepherd if I were ever placed in that position again."

-- "Anyone serving in any capacity in the Church in which he is responsible for the spiritual or temporal well-being of any of the Lord's children is a shepherd to those sheep. The Lord holds his shepherds accountable for the safety of his sheep." (Bruce R. McConkie)

-- "Miracles are everywhere to be found when priesthood callings are magnified. When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes. The priesthood is not really so much a gift as it is a commission to serve, a privilege to lift, and an opportunity to bless the lives of others." (President Monson)

Evidently we as visiting teachers are under the same obligations as the home teachers. That quote about anyone serving in any capacity in the Church is pretty clear. Can you imagine how many burdens would be lifted if all home and visiting teachers took their duties seriously to be shepherd of the Lord's flock? I know I'm inspired to do better.

12 comments:

everything pink! said...

jeff hometeaches one of the biggest families in our ward.
they call him for a lot of things, things they really need.
I find it an honor that they really take Jeff's role seriously that he is there to help. they have been a great example to us of being willing to ask for help.
i know it has really blessed jeff by them being honest about what they need and giving him the opportunity to help them.

great thoughts.

and woo hoo the first to comment, that probably has not happened in a year!

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Thanks for teaching me today, Michelle. Truly visiting teaching/home teaching kept right on teaching today. Thanks. I love your thoughts and quotes, thank you for taking the time to share them.

Claudissima said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claudissima said...

I love your banner....I have been lucky since I married to have the best home teachers ever...they have all been truly special and remarkable people. One special thing we have asked consistently through the years, if for each new one we have, we ask them to give the prayers in the new language they have served while on their mission....

rebekah said...

-- "To perform fully our duty as home teachers, we should be continually aware of the attitudes, the activities and interests, the problems, the employment, the health, the happiness, the plans and purposes, the physical, temporal, and spiritual needs and circumstances of everyone - of every child, every youth, and every adult in the homes and families who have been placed in our trust and care as bearers of the Priesthood and representatives of the bishop. This is literally the Lord's way to watch over his flock." (David O. McKay)

I would be giddy if there was a priesthood leader that was that involved in my life. It would just be fantastic.

Susan said...

I love your thoughts. Even though you were feeling concerned about this topic,you made it great!

I love the quotes and stories.

Your father has always been a very concientious home teacher and I can appreciate that. All in all, it's a lot of giving gifts of love. Gifts of self. Thanks for the challenge and advice.

Marie said...

So great. I loved all the thoughts, but the opener from your bishipric about being a hermit was interesting.

Did you get a hair cut? Your profile picture looks so great.

have fun in Paris!

Jill said...

I commented on this post yesterday but then the comment screen went blank and my comment was lost #$@!, so I had to come back today.

Your talk is great, I knew you'd do a wonderful job!

I think I need to pass this info on to some hometeachers I know, sheesh, ours has only done 2 drop offs in a year's time!

One of my visiting teachers asked me how my month was going so far yesterday...it was the 30th!!

Shawna B. said...

I love the quote about not being able to be a hermit in our church. Really, to experience fully the blessing of the gospel, we do need to reach out and also let others reach out to us. Sometimes it's the "letting others help us" that is hard for me. But, I have been so well cared for the past while with dinners being brought in to my family, even when I didn't want to accept the meal because I knew how busy the family was who was bringing it, that I have realized that some seasons are for serving and others are for accepting service. Not letting our home and visiting teachers serve us doesn't allow them to fulfill their roles. Michelle, I am really rambling here! Forgive me. It's just that your Sunday Thoughts got me thinking!

I also enjoyed this quote - "I love it when the Lord chooses my friends!" Me, too.

Good luck on all your Paris preparations. I hope everything comes together quickly and smoothly!

melanie said...

Great talk Michelle. I'm with Jane, you taught me as well. Thank you!

emily said...

These thoughts are so inspiring to me. My first experience with visiting teaching was in my ward last year, and I know that I did not put as much effort into it as I should have as a shepherd of two of Heavenly Father's sheep. Thank you so much for posting these quotes and thoughts. I'm going to look back on them to help me be better in my visiting teaching this year.

amy m said...

at first I thought, what a difficult talk, but you really found some excellent inspiring quotes. Definitely inspired me to do better.

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