Tuesday, May 8, 2012

FHE 5/14: God's Grace

This week's FHE lesson ideas stem from Elder Holland's talk, "Laborers in the Vineyard."  This is one of those talks that was just for me.  I always love Elder Holland's talks, and this isn't even his first parable talk, either.  :)  Anyway, I remember taking a parable class in institute a few summers ago and this parable, of the laborers in the vineyard, still didn't jive with me even after class discussion--I just didn't "get" it.  I was grateful to know that if we labor all day we're entitled to everything the Father has--which is more than we really deserve even with all our best efforts--but I think it's just hard for us, in our society, to consider it "fair" that someone could come in last minute and "deserve" as much as someone who worked all day.  I love how Elder Holland explains the parable as a parable of the Savior's mercy and grace, to ALL the laborers, because no one "deserved" the grace of the master of the vineyard.  It just makes sense, and is filled with lots of lessons from the parable, and I urge you to read the whole thing as you prepare to teach your families about it.  If you do it with a prayerful heart, it will change you.  The grace of God does that. 

It was difficult to find kid-friendly ideas about this parable or the all-encompassing doctrine of *grace* online, so once again you'll have only a few of mostly my own thoughts this week...I think maybe it's because grown-ups need to hear this talk more than kids.  While kids certainly have strong feelings about what is "fair," they also get the "love" and "mercy" better than the rest of us.  :)

  • How do you react to others' successes or unexpected blessings?
  • Do I believe in God's grace?  Do my thoughts and actions--especially towards others--prove it?
  • "What lack I yet?"  Do I have the commitment to endure to the end of the day?  What wages are in store for me if I do?
QUOTES (there are LOTS this week :):
  • "May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other...The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those."
  • "Be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live."
  • "My beloved brothers and sisters, what happened in this story at 9:00 or noon or 3:00 is swept up in the grandeur of the universally generous payment at the end of the day...So don’t hyperventilate about something that happened at 9:00 in the morning when the grace of God is trying to reward you at 6:00 in the evening."
  • "This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it...It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines."
  • "His concern is for the faith at which you finally arrive, not the hour of the day in which you got there."
  • "Please listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit telling you right now, this very moment, that you should accept the atoning gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and enjoy the fellowship of His labor. Don’t delay. It’s getting late."

  • "I Feel My Savior's Love"
  • "My Heavenly Father Loves Me"
  • "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus"
  • "I Thank Thee Dear Father"


Nothing this week.  Really, parables ARE object lessons.  So it counts.  :)  But if you think of any others, let me know!
  • Read together and have your family act out the parable!  (Matthew 20:1-15)  You can show them this picture.  Reword or explain it with the words of Elder Holland's talk and discuss what it means. Liken it to them--like if they've been picked last for a team, how did they feel?  That's how the 11th hour laborers felt.  That sort of thing.
  • For older children/youth: Elder Holland talks about 3 lessons we can learn from this parable.  Give each family member a copy of the talk and have them hunt for the three lessons, putting each into their own words.  For an extra challenge, have them sum up each lesson in only ONE word!
  • Parables mirror eternal truths.  Use THIS WORKSHEET with older children/youth to help draw parallels between the story of the vineyard and the doctrinal truths of the mercy of God. (It's just one of those "draw lines to match" kinda worksheets...nothing fancy, but effective.  Prints off 4 "worksheets" to a page).
  • Have family members lay out the Plan of Salvation pictures.  Focus attention on the Celestial Kingdom--discuss what it means to inherit that kingdom.  (Read D&C 76: 55-70 for a refresher.)  What more can you ask for than to be gods and to have all that God has?  Discuss how if we love everyone we want that for everyone else, too.   
  • Honestly, with this talk, you could just watch/listen to it online and discuss how you feel afterwards!

  • There's a coloring page of a man working in a vineyard HERE.
  • There's a beautiful painting (although the .jpg is small) of the workers receiving their wages HERE--sorry, I couldn't find any more info about it, it linked back to a blog when I found it.
  • Using generic Bible clip art (HERE), [or, if you're really artsy, draw your own] make some popsicle stick puppets for you & children to color and glue. You could use it to retell the parable in the lesson, or mid-week as a refresher and have the kids color and retell the story.
  • Chocolate coins (make sure everyone gets an equal amount :)
  • Grapes (for the vineyard)
  • If you have anything growing in your garden, have the kids help harvest that and enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of your labors!  :)
I know *I* struggle sometimes with being jealous of other's successes, because I really *do* feel like it somehow negates my own blessings or hope.  And I know that I OFTEN hold myself to Celestial standards (which we ought), but I don't always realize that I have many more miles to travel and much to learn.  Something that struck me a lot as I re-read and re-listened to this talk is that maybe I'm not in that "entitled" first group as much as I think sometimes.  It's really not about the age we came to the gospel, but rather the level of our continued commitment to the gospel, in its fulness, and the person we are becoming.  In that sense, maybe I'm more a 12:00 or a 3:00 laborer; in which case, I am even MORE grateful that the Lord's grace is infinite and sufficient.  I know He *REALLY DOES* love us, and if we come unto Him, He will give us everything there is to have.  What more can we ask for than *everything?* God is good, people.  And He is good to us all.

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