Today I let the natural man take over. Before class, I hid several dollars worth of money in bills and coins throughout the classroom. I hid them under shelves, under chairs, on the side of picture frames, under the piano bench, under my ipod dock, over the chalkboard; everywhere. I wrote the word "SEEK" on the chalkboard, and told them they had 5 minutes to scour the room for as much money as they could find. And yes, they could keep what they found. (I spend more on them buying them a box of donuts than I did on this lesson.) I can never predict what they are going to do with these object lessons, so I watched and observed them as they were busy searching.
- The students who usually fall asleep were up on their feet.
- One of my quiet boys, I discovered, is a chatterbox.
- One young lady found a dollar bill and sat down.
- One young man got discouraged after finding a dime and sat down.
- 5 students didn't leave their seat ("Mormons do too many object lessons").
- Everyone who looked for money found something, even if it was just a penny.
- The longer they looked, the more they found.
- After the 5 minutes were up, I revealed another 75 cents they hadn't found.
In Ether 12, the prophet Ether teaches us so beautifully about FAITH and HOPE (an expectation of something in the future); and not just faith itself, but faith in God and His power to bless us. Moroni adds his own testimony on faith to Ether's in our Scripture Mastery verse Ether 12:6: "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." Moroni then shows us that Christ SHOWED HIMSELF to MANY PEOPLE, including the Nephites at the Bountiful temple, because of their faith. It was their faith that allowed them to see Him. There had to be a point where they SOUGHT AFTER HIM in order to have Him manifested unto them.
Moroni himself then tells us at the end of the chapter, "And then shall ye know that I have seen Jesus, and that he hath talked with me face to face, and that he told me in plain humility, even as a man telleth another in mine own language, concerning these things; And only a few have I written, because of my weakness in writing. And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever." (Ether 12:39-41)
Moroni has challenged us to SEEK HIM. How do we go about doing that? That's where our object lesson comes in. My question to the class was, "What did it take to SEEK and find the money in the room?"
Some points they brought up were:
-They knew me and that I wouldn't lie to them so they KNEW the money was there, somewhere even if they couldn't see it.
-They wanted the money (DESIRE)
-They had to get up off their chairs and move (WORKS)
-They had to KEEP LOOKING (persistence, endurance)
I asked them to apply this to themselves with the money representing a blessing/prompting from the Lord. Using prayer and scripture study as an example, the young lady that found a dollar bill and sat down might reflect someone who prays for something, receives an answer, and doesn't pray again until she needs to. One student said this would be someone who reads her scriptures only when forced to in class. Or perhaps even someone who reads for 10 minutes a day just to say she did it rather than to get a message out of it.
I shared with them how I prepare to go to the temple. This was my example of SEEKing the Lord. I told them that before I enter a session, I take a few minutes to pray for the Lord to teach me something. I don't always go with something specific on my mind. But I do want to be open to what He has to teach me. This prayer opens my senses. I hear better, see better, think better, and I feel more from my experience there. There have been times where I've left not feeling I had been taught by the Spirit.........only to have an impression come to me days later as a result of my temple experience. The prayer I have before entering the temple, is an exertion of my FAITH that the Lord CAN and WILL teach me what I need to know. It is my way of SEEKing Him.
My challenge to my class was to SEEK the Lord throughout their day. Pay attention to small blessings He grants them through their FAITHfulness. Acknowledge those blessings in prayer frequently. Before leaving home for seminary, pray for Him to teach you through the Spirit what you need to hear. Do the same for Sunday instruction and in sacrament meeting. Petition to be taught. I think they'll be amazed at the inspiration and small miracles they are open to receiving if they do this.