God can use each one of us in His work, no matter where we are on His path. Each one of us is needed in the Kingdom of God. We can be part of His great work when we have the courage to do His will, and the commitment to see it through. Our Come Follow Me family home evening lessons each week help you teach your family important gospel principles. This FHE lesson includes three different plans.
And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?
1. I love to see the temple.
I’m going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I’ll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.
2. I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
A fam’ly is forever.
Review: The Jews had been captured by Babylon for about 70 years. Over these years, they had lost their temple and the words of the Law of Moses. One Jewish man, Nehemiah, remembered the value in these things and bravely addressed the king about what the children of Israel had lost in captivity. (source)
Read: Nehemiah lived as a servant to the king. While serving the king wine, the king (Artaxerxes) asked Nehemiah why he was sad.
Read: Nehemiah 2:2-3
Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, And said unto the king, Let the king live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?
Explain: Nehemiah was frightened of what the king’s reaction would be, but he courageously explained to the king that he was sad because his ancestral land had been destroyed and his ancestors’ graves desecrated.
Teach: Sometimes we are afraid to tell the people close to us what is really going on in our hearts. We may be afraid they’ll judge us, or think less of us. Maybe we feel tempted to hide our sins or mistakes from parents or church leaders because we are worried how they will react. When it comes to being honest and repenting to be clean before the Lord, it is always worth it to be brave–to tell the truth and confess our sin.
Video: Sometimes it takes courage to defend our own integrity–to not cheat or allow others to cheat off us. Watch this video about how when we cheat or allow others to cheat, we diminish our integrity and our learning. Watch here.
Ask: Why was Nehemiah “sore afraid” of telling the king the truth about why he was sad? How might the king have reacted? What risks was Nehemiah taking to be so brave?
Read: Nehemiah was brave, however, and this brought about great blessings to his people.
Read: Nehemiah 2:4
Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request?
Teach and Read: Nehemiah recognized his opportunity to ask the king for what he truly wanted, but still worried how the king would respond. In this moment of great need, he turned to the Lord. Continue reading verses 4 & 5:
So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.
Testify: Nehemiah trusted in the Lord, called on His help, and was brave enough to say what he needed to say to rebuild the walls and strength of the city of Jerusalem.
It may take courage to do what the Lord calls us to do, but if we have that courage, we can be a part of the Lord’s sacred work.
FOR TEENS & ADULTS
Teach: King Cyrus of Persia, sometimes known as Cyrus the Great, had conquered many lands including Babylon where the Jews had been held captive for many years. Although he built such an empire, he respected the Jews’ beliefs and freedoms. He allowed the children of Israel to return to their homeland. (source)
Whether it was out of sincere belief or merely respecting the beliefs of others, he declared the following:
Read: Ezra 1:2-3
Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
Explain: Cyrus sent the Jews back to Jerusalem and charged them to build a temple there.
Ask: Cyrus was not a Jew. Why did he free the Jews from captivity? Why did he support their building a temple? Can people who are not members of the Lord’s church receive revelation that supports the church? [Absolutely. God can and does speak to any of His children who will listen to Him. Knowing this helps us to understand why we should pray for our local and national leaders.]
How can we also support our friends of other faiths? Why is it important to do so?
Teach: Later, Nehemiah went to rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem and although his path was made possible through blessings from the Lord, He still faced opposition.
Read: Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf described Nehemiah’s focus on completing what mattered most, despite opposition, as follows:
Fearless, Nehemiah did not allow the opposition to distract him. Instead, he organized his resources and manpower and moved forward rebuilding the city, “for the people had a mind to work.”
But as the walls of the city began to rise, opposition intensified. Nehemiah’s enemies threatened, conspired, and ridiculed. Their threats were very real, and they grew so intimidating that Nehemiah confessed, “They all made us afraid.” In spite of the danger and the ever-present threat of invasion, the work progressed. It was a time of stress, for every builder “had his sword girded by his side, and so builded.”
As the work continued, Nehemiah’s enemies became more desperate. Four times they entreated him to leave the safety of the city and meet with them under the pretense of resolving the conflict, but Nehemiah knew that their intent was to do him harm. Each time they approached him, he responded with the same answer: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down.”
What a remarkable response! With that clear and unchanging purpose of heart and mind, with that great resolve, the walls of Jerusalem rose until they were rebuilt in an astonishing 52 days.
Nehemiah refused to allow distractions to prevent him from doing what the Lord wanted him to do.
Ask: What “great work” are we engaged in that we need to protect from distraction?
Quote: In his worldwide devotional in June 2018, President Russell M. Nelson taught the youth of the Church what is the “greatest work on earth today.”
My question tonight to every one of you between the ages of 12 and 18 is this: Would you like to be a big part of the greatest challenge, the greatest cause, and the greatest work on earth today? …
Think of it! Of all the people who have ever lived on planet earth, we are the ones who get to participate in this final, great gathering event. How exciting is that!
Our Heavenly Father has reserved many of His most noble spirits—perhaps, I might say, His finest team—for this final phase. Those noble spirits—those finest players, those heroes—are you!
Testify: The Lord has invited each one of us to be a part of His sacred work, and if we will remain faithful and focused, we can prepare the earth for His Second Coming.
FOR SINGLE STUDY
Review: When Nehemiah bravely faced the king to ask if he could go back to Jerusalem to rebuild it, the Lord softened the king’s heart and opened a way for Nehemiah to do his work. This did not mean, however, that there would be no opposition for Nehemiah going forward.
Sanballat and Geshem opposed Nehemiah’s work and tried to trick him into leaving his work on the city walls to meet with them, but as Nehemiah said, “they thought to do me mischief” (Nehemiah 6:2).
Consider or Journal: What messages are you receiving from people who would do you mischief?
It doesn’t have to be intentional, but if any influence in your life is directing you away from Jesus Christ and His servants–the prophets and apostles–then those influences are seeking to do you mischief and you must not yield to them.
What influences would you be best to eliminate from your life so you can continue on in the work of the Lord?
Quote: When speaking to priesthood holders worried over their wards and stakes, President Ezra Taft Benson taught the following:
Often we spend great effort in trying to increase the activity levels in our stakes. We work diligently to raise the percentages of those attending sacrament meetings. We labor to get a higher percentage of our young men on missions. We strive to improve the numbers of those marrying in the temple. All of these are commendable efforts and important to the growth of the kingdom. But when individual members and families immerse themselves in the scriptures regularly and consistently, these other areas of activity will automatically come. Testimonies will increase. Commitment will be strengthened. Families will be fortified. Personal revelation will flow.
Consider or Journal: How does immersion in the scriptures help us discern truth from error and prevent us from yielding to damaging influences?
Snow in July? Maybe not, but these no-bake Avalanche Cookies mix up in no time and still keep the house cool.
Forewarned is forearmed. Role-play some scenarios with your children about how they might respond when their friends and classmates are tempting them to cheat (or asking your kids to let them cheat). Role play how to respond when tempted to steal, drink alcohol or try other harmful substances, lie, or dishonor the Sabbath day. Letting children think through each of these incidents will give them more courage to do what is right when the moment of temptation arises.