Spiritual Tools

As members of a church that plays such an integral part in our daily lives, we often take for granted the gifts with which it blesses us. Yet all of the blessings that come from the restoration of the Church are intended to help us both build up Heavenly Father’s kingdom and to improve ourselves on a personal level.

Take this opportunity to refresh your family’s appreciation for the tools the Lord has given us, and to remember the responsibility we have to use them.

Song:

“Today, While the Sun Shines” (Hymns, 229)

Preparation:

Gather some hand tools used in gardening, such as a spade, shovels, gardening gloves, a packet of seeds, and fertilizer.

  • Make a preliminary list of some of the spiritual tools Heavenly Father gives us. Your list might include prayer, the scriptures, temples, family home evening, callings, families, home teachers, etc.
  • Write each item on a slip of white paper. Tape the labels to each tool, and place them all in a basket.
  • If desired, you can also prepare materials for planting a family flower.  You’ll need:

    • A small pot and pot dish to go underneath.
    • Enough dark, rich soil to almost fill the pot
    • A marigold, petunia, or other flower purchased from the nursery and ready to be planted.
    •  A sunny windowsill where the plant can sit and grow.

    Treat:

    Instant chocolate pudding, Oreo cookies (crumbled), gummy worms, clear plastic cups, and small wooden ice cream scoops (spoons).

    Scripture:

    Assign a family member to read 2 Nephi 31: 20.

    Lesson:

    Gather the family together in the living room, or even outside in the grass next to the family garden. Begin by asking the family what tools they would need if they wanted to plant a garden. After taking their responses, explain that, just as we need tools to cultivate a garden so it can bear fruit, we also need tools to cultivate our spirits so we can return to the presence of our Father in Heaven.

    Next, ask your family members if they can think of some spiritual tools Heavenly Father has given his children. When someone mentions a tool that you have in your basket, pull it out and briefly discuss how that tool helps our spiritual growth.

    After you have gone through all the tools (you may need to suggest some if the family doesn’t guess them all), point out that Heavenly Father doesn’t give us the tools so he can do all the work in our garden. He will provide the rain and the sunshine, but he also expects us to use the tools ourselves and work to make our gardens the very best they can be.

    Read Alma 32: 28–37 together as a family. Finish by reading verse 41and explain that we must be both diligent and patient as we use our spiritual tools to cultivate our testimonies and to accomplish the things he asks us to do.

    To illustrate this idea, bring out your prepared planting materials (pot, soil, fertilizer, etc.). Hand a tool to each family member and explain that your family has as chance to plant its own “spiritual flower.” Let each family member participate in the planting by giving help as his or her tool is needed. When the planting is finished, carry the pot to a sunny windowsill where it can serve as a reminder of the tools Heavenly Father has given us.

    Treat:

    To create a fun and relevant treat, fill plastic drinking cups with an inch of “dirt” (Oreo crumbs). Pour prepared instant pudding over the crumbs. Stick one gummy worm inside the pudding, and top with another inch of crumbs.

    Before passing out the treats, give family members a wooden ice cream spoon and ask them to think of a goal with one spiritual tool they will practice using that week. Provide a permanent marker and let them write the spiritual tool on the handle of their spoons. Then let everyone enjoy their “cups-of-dirt.”

    The Priesthood: Our Greatest Tool

    Explain to your family that although you have been talking about garden tools, we have a wide range of different types of tools we use in our lives—from shovels and rakes to kitchen appliances. We also have many other spiritual tools.

    Set a toaster in front of the group and ask someone to toast a piece of bread (encourage them to try, even though the toaster is unplugged). When their attempts fail, ask them why they weren’t able to get the toaster to work. Then, ask the father of the home to plug the toaster into an outlet and try toasting the bread. Explain that the toaster is like the priesthood. It must be plugged into the source of power—Heavenly Father—before it can serve as a useful tool to those around it.

    Have a family member read Doctrine and Covenants 132:45–46. Then go around the room and ask each child to say one way in which his or her father’s priesthood blesses the home (e.g., giving priesthood blessings, performing baptisms, conferring the priesthood, having served a mission, etc.).

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