Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts. And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
As the youth come to find and understand their gifts, they find that they can bless the lives of others.
To illustrate this truth, I ask the students if they ever put together a difficult puzzle. Most students are eager to share a time when they put one together. Several have had the experience of finishing it, only to find several missing pieces. How do you react when you find out several pieces are missing? This discussion helps to illustrate the importance of each youth bringing their gift, their piece of the puzzle to the table, ready and willing to build the kingdom of God.
I shared an experience when I put together a puzzle with my sons. As I recall, it had a dinosaur in the center. My son held up the eye piece and said, “look dad, this is the coolest piece.” I showed him a piece with a tooth or a claw. We talked about what we thought was the most important piece of the puzzle. We both agreed that the sky pieces were the least cool of all the pieces. And yet, if some of the sky pieces wound up missing, we would be frustrated. Even the sky pieces of the matter to the overall picture.
Many teenagers have expressed concern over whether they should attend young mens or young womens when they have had a leader offend them in some way. Some have had disagreements with other youth in their ward, or do not feel as if they fit in. Section 46 addresses these concerns- if I don’t bring my gift to the table, it is much like the missing puzzle piece.
At the seminary where I teach our kids took first place at state in track. They are very proud of this accomplishment. There are some kids on the track team who have received more recognition than others for their first place finishes. Yet when the school competed for the state title, every 4th and 5th place finish mattered. The team won by the slimmest of margins. Every athlete on the team mattered because every point was critical. When we used this illustration in class, more students could identify D&C 46 as having relevance in their lives.
A similar experience happened at our school a couple years ago with the girls JV basketball team. The team was a few girls short and had as I recall, only 8 girls dressed for the game. By the time the 4th quarter came around, even though they were winning, they lost the game. This happened because only 3 girls finished the game. The rest either had injuries or fouled out. The team wound up playing much of the fourth quarter with only 3 players against an inferior team with 5 players. What difference could the 9th and 10th girls on the team have made?
At times we may feel like we are a sky piece, not really mattering in the overall scheme of things here on earth. And yet, we do not see things the way the Lord sees them. Much like the 9th and 10th players on the JV team, we could very well play a critical role at just the right time to make a tremendous difference to one of God’s children. After teaching this, I thought of the character Frodo from the Lord of the Rings trilogy – a seemingly small player in the scheme of things, yet his actions were critical in restoring freedom in all of Middle Earth. George Lucas plays on this same theme in the Star Wars films by having R2D2 execute acts of heroism at various points in his films. Using these and other illustrations help to draw the students in so that they can see the principle more clearly.
When you focus on your individual success, what happens to the team?
We have a natural tendency to focus on our own works and contributions. When are we going to stop focusing on our own glory? What happens in the Old Testament when David has returned with his 10,000 slain, and Saul has only slain 1,000? How does Saul react to David’s success? Why wasn’t David competing? Because he was clearly better. What happens to the concept of team when we are focused on our own glory?
When are we going to stop focusing on the gifts we don’t have?
When the whole succeeds, each individual piece of the body succeeds!
Illustrating this under a variety of circumstances will help drive the point home for the youth. Not understanding this principle is what causes teams and companies to struggle. It is vital that this be understood in every family in the church. For a family to succeed, every person needs to contribute their gifts and talents.