"Because I Have Been Given Much" (Hymns, 219)
Gather ingredients for a simple treat you can make as a family, like chocolate chip cookies.
Have someone read Doctrine and Covenants 58:27. “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.
After reading the scripture, discuss what it means to be “anxiously engaged.” Discuss the opposing characteristics of idleness and engagement, or activity. When we are idle, we tend to think only of ourselves. When we are actively seeking others to help, we find people that need us and we also find ways to help them.
Brainstorm and write down different circumstances in which you are idle (watching TV, surfing the web, talking for too long on the phone) and active habits your family can substitute so that everyone is trying to become “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” Suggestions may include turning off the TV and helping another with their homework or mom with dinner, or doing chores before playing and without being asked.
Read this quote by Elder Derek A. Cuthbert of the Seventy: “Service channels our desires and energies into righteous activity. Every son and daughter of God is a storehouse—even a powerhouse—of desires and energies, which may be used for good or evil. This great potential needs to be harnessed to bring blessings to others.
Ask someone to read Mosiah 2:17 and explain that by serving others, we are, in fact, serving the Lord. Charity is the number one virtue because it is the pure love of Christ, and by being charitable, we are serving Christ. Tie everything together by having someone read Moroni 7:47. “Charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
Try to illustrate how relatively easy—and fun—it is to be anxiously engaged. Have the family line up, race style, and tell them to run to their rooms, look through their closets, and find something that they’ve grown out of or that they aren’t going to wear anymore. Time them.
Chances are it took the family less than a minute to find an article of clothing or a toy for someone who might not have as much. Explain that there are 86,400 seconds in a day during which each person could be helping someone or thinking of others to help.
Discuss who the clothes or other items should be given to. There may be a family in your ward that doesn’t have the resources to buy extra clothes for their children. Your kids may now of others at school who don’t seem to have as much. If you can’t think of anyone, tell your children you are going to take the clothes to the bishop of your ward. He will know where they are needed most. You can also donate the items to an organization like Deseret Industries.
Have your family members list specific ways in which you, as a family or individually, can give to others. Explain that this is a practice list for what each member of the family will come up with in the coming week. Some examples are:
-Paying fast offerings once a month
-Volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
-Giving weekly after-school tutoring
-Babysitting for no charge, two weekends a month, so that a couple can go to the temple
-Gathering clothes to donate every six months
-Contributing to a church or community service project
-Helping a friend with his Eagle Scout Project
-Starting a family fund to be donated to the Church’s humanitarian aid fund
-Having the missionaries over for dinner once a week
-Fulfilling Duty to God and Personal Progress requirements
-Sponsoring a missionary
-Sponsoring an orphan
-Performing temple ordinances
Finally, make a family goal to be “anxiously engaged” throughout the week in thinking of different ways to help others. Have each person make his or her own list throughout the week, as you each think of ways to help at school, with friends, or at work. This will help you concentrate their thoughts on others, rather than yourself.
Next week at family home evening compare lists. The person with the most ideas gets to choose the service project for your family to do that evening or week.
Together, make two batches of cookies; one for your family, and one for another family in your ward. Deliver the cookies as a family and leave a note of friendship.
After family home evening, take the clothes to the other family’s home or the bishop, explaining what they are for. You can also take the clothes to Deseret Industries or another charitable thrift store.