Our Stake (Arlington Texas) studies one scripture per month. To help families to integrate the scripture into their homes in meaningful ways, for each scripture we share the following:
- the accompanying challenge
- free printables of the scripture or related challenge for display in the home
- family home evening lessons for all types of families
- ideas for using the scripture in a talk or lesson
You can find all of the resources at A Year in the Scriptures.
The scripture for August 2017 is Doctrine & Covenants 64:33.
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.
Take a moment to ponder the small things in your life that you are doing that make a difference. Then, determine what else you might do (or not do) to make life even more joyous and write it down.
Ideas for accomplishing the challenge:
- Make a list of all of the things you do that contribute in some way, no matter how small. We’ve provided a list of possible things below. The list is not to suggest you are failing in some way if you are not doing them. They are suggestions to consider for ways you may be contributing without recognizing it as contribution.
- Do you fulfill your calling?
- Do you do your home or visiting teaching?
- Are you patient with other drivers on the road?
- Do you give an honest day’s work to your employer?
- Do you greet people at church?
- Are you willing to speak or substitute for a teacher when asked?
- Do you attend the temple when possible?
- Do you do indexing?
- Do you work on family history or help others to do so?
- Do you participate in family activities?
- Do you speak words of kindness?
- Do you pay attention in Sacrament meeting?
- Are you a good listener?
- Do you use social media for good?
- Do you share what you have?
- Do you express gratitude?
- Do you pray for your family? The sick? Our leaders, both in the Church and in the government?
- Do you offer compassionate service?
- Do you help with service opportunities?
- Do you feed the missionaries or help them in some way?
- Do you donate to the Church’s funds for missionaries or humanitarian aid or other offerings?
- Do you donate time or funds to charities or causes?
- Do you greet your neighbors or help them in any way?
- Do you help clean the building?
- Do you know the names of the children and youth in your ward?
- Do you send nice texts or other messages to people?
- In considering how you could make your life even more joyous, it may be helpful to consider the advice of habit scholar BJ Fogg from Stanford University. He suggests identifying the “smallest behavior that matters” when trying to make changes. Consider what the smallest behavior you could make that would matter, and then attach that to something you’re already in the habit of doing. For instance, if you’re already checking Facebook once a day, add in sending a private, uplifting message to a friend while you do it. If you’re already praying each day, consider adding in a special thought for someone in your ward. Read more about Dr. Fogg’s method at TinyHabits.
- It may be helpful to observe what things others do that make you feel loved or cared for when looking for ideas. Can you emulate their actions or words?
- Part of the challenge is to write down the thing(s) you want to begin doing to bring more joy to your life. Be sure to record it (them) in a place you will see it regularly. It may be helpful to share your ideas with your family or close friends.
The chalkboard printable above is from the Bradshaw-Family blog, where you will find other great chalkboard scriptures as well.
Unfortunately, we were unable to find the original source for the above printable.
Family Home Evening Ideas
We created an FHE lesson to go along with the verse.
- Purchase or gather ingredients for “small and simple things” snack (see below).
- Gather supplies for pointillism art project.
- Read the verse as a family, using a call and response pattern with hand motions as follows:
- Wherefore be not weary in well doing (lay hands to cheek in sleeping motion)
- for ye (point index finger outward toward another person)
- are laying the foundation (sweep hands, palms down, outward from middle of body)
- of a great work. (jazz hands)
- And out of small things (put index and thumb together to make a pinching motion)
- proceedeth that which (hold left hand in an open fist; raise right fist through the left hand and open the fingers like a flower blooming [click here to see this motion]).
- is great. (place hands, palms facing outward, at head level, as if against a wall in front of you).
- Note: for older children, omit hand motions if they won’t like it & simply repeat the segments of the verse.
- Explain that Heavenly Father needs everyone to help, even if what we can do is very small.
- Show this picture and tell the accompanying story below:
Mary Whitmer was born in Germany, and she moved to the United States where she met her husband, Peter. Mary worked very hard on their family farm in New York.
For a time, Joseph Smith himself lived with the Whitmers while he translated the Book of Mormon. Emma Smith and Oliver Cowdery, Joseph’s scribe (the person who wrote down what Joseph translated) were also staying with the Whitmers.
The Whitmer family was big, and Mary had a lot of extra work caring for all of the people in her home.
When Oliver Cowdery wanted to put the pages of the Book of Mormon together, he used this piece of string given to him by Mary. She may have even made the string herself.
One of Mary’s sons, David, was one of the three witnesses who saw the gold plates and the Angel Moroni. He had a second copy of the handwritten Book of Mormon, also held together with his mother’s string. He kept it all of his life.
Mary Whitmer didn’t leave a journal or any other record of her life, but we are still blessed by all of the things she did. Washing clothes and cooking food and even making string may not have seemed like important or valuable tasks to her, but part of why we have the Book of Mormon is because she was not weary in well doing.
- Discuss some of the small things different people in the family do that help the family or help others.
Activity: Pointillism Activity
- Do a pointillism art activity, explaining that small dots combine make a beautiful picture, just like small things we do make a big difference.
Activity: Make “small and simple things” snack mix
- Explain that even food is made of small and simple things.
- Using one of the following recipes, let everyone mix their own snack mix.
Closing Song: Dare to Do Right
Treat: Eat your “small and simple things” snack
Idea #1: (no-prep)
Visit this site to see the list of talks that have quoted this scripture. Have different members of the family look up some of the talks and look at how the scripture is used. Have each member share out the context or ideas they learned.
Idea #2: (no-prep)
- Read this short excerpt from Elder David A. Bednar’s talk, More Diligent and Concerned at Home:
“In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting.
Each family prayer, each episode of family scripture study, and each family home evening is a brushstroke on the canvas of our souls. No one event may appear to be very impressive or memorable. But just as the yellow and gold and brown strokes of paint complement each other and produce an impressive masterpiece, so our consistency in doing seemingly small things can lead to significant spiritual results. “Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great” (D&C 64:33). Consistency is a key principle as we lay the foundation of a great work in our individual lives and as we become more diligent and concerned in our own homes.”
- The picture Elder Bednar is referring to is “Golden Harvest” by LDS artist David Merrill (below):
Looking at the picture and considering the remarks from Elder Bednar as a family, discuss:
- What “small and simple things” go into growing wheat?
- When do farmers “grow weary”?
- What are the “brushstrokes” that make our family strong?
- What are some brushstrokes we could add?
- What are some things we are consistent about doing? Where could we be more consistent?
Either of the Teen lessons would work with adults, or use the following idea:
This talk is under 15 minutes, and it’s quite good. Here are discussion questions to ponder/talk about:
- What does President Hunter’s confidence in the members of the Church to fulfill large callings tell us? What does the story tell us about the importance the Prophets place on home teachers?
- Elder Pinegar says, “Obedience in doing the simple things has always been the means of obtaining the blessings of the Lord.” What blessings have come to you from obedience in simple things?
- How can we be less like Naaman? What commandments are we given that we often reject because they seem too simple?
- Consider this quote from President Hunter: “The achievement of true greatness is a long-term process…It seems that it always requires regular, consistent, small, and sometimes ordinary and mundane steps over a long period of time.” What things have you accomplished through this pattern as opposed to a single or short-term effort?
- How is this a good comparison in the quote by President McKay? “The dark night is made pleasant by the glimmer of what seem to be little stars; and so the true Christian life is made up of little Christ-like acts performed this hour, this minute, in the home, in the quorum, in the organization, in the town, wherever our life and acts may be cast.”
- What thoughts come to mind from Elder Pinegar’s story of working with concrete that ends, “Just as a few simple elements combined in a proper way form a sturdy foundation for a house, so do the simple teachings of the gospel bond together to make a strong foundation for our lives”?
- Consider the small and simple things Elder Pinegar recommends to keep destruction at bay. Which ones are applicable to you? What adjustments do you need to make in your life to make sure you’re not losing big things because of small things?
For Lessons and Talks
- Read the historical background of Section 64.
- What is meant here by “well doing”? Is it limited to gospel-related works?
- If we do find ourselves weary in well doing, how can we un-weary ourselves?
- David Whyte said, “The antidote to exhaustion is not always rest. The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.” How does this connect to this verse? Do we become more weary when we are not fully invested with our hearts?
- This verse begins the same as Galations 6:9: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” It’s worth comparing the differences in the way the verses end. In what ways are the messages similar? Different?
- In commenting on these verses, Biblical scholar Matthew Henry says, “Our present time is a seed time.” In what ways is well doing similar to planting a seed?
- In the Galatians version, the connection to harvest is interesting. The Greek translated here as “weary” is translated elsewhere as “flag.” When do the workers in the field become most weary? When do we begin to flag? What happens if they leave the field then? In what ways do we leave our fields before the harvest?
- Another translation of “weary” is “lose heart,” making the verse read, “Don’t lose heart in well doing.”
- In both the modern and ancient instances, these verses are meant to be an encouragement, not an admonition. They are to inspire us, not to condemn us. How does knowing we’re building something great give us inspiration?
- The verse emphasizes that small things matter. We don’t need to feel that our small contributions are not worthwhile and that only those with tremendous talent have something to contribute. Every member of God’s kingdom, working together, builds the great work. We all have a part to play.
- This verse immediately precedes last month’s scripture, so it may be helpful to visit those resources as well.