Possible scriptures:Matthew 18:11-13; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 15:4-32; John 3:16; John 13:1; John 15:9; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 3:19; 1 John 3:1; 1 Nephi 11:22; Alma 26:37; 3 Nephi 11:13-15; 3 Nephi 17:6-7, 11-2, 21-24; Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, 15-16; Doctrine and Covenants 19:16-19; Doctrine and Covenants 138:2-4; Moses 1:39;
Possible Songs: How Great the Wisdom and the Love, hymn 195; ‘Tis Sweet to Sing the Matchless Love, hymn 176 or 177; God is Love, hymn 87; God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son, hymn 187; Our Savior’s Love, hymn 113; Where Love is, Children’s Songbook page 138; Because God Loves Me, Children’s Songbook page 234; My Heavenly Father Loves Me, Children’s Songbook page 228 [my favorite choice]; God’s Love, Children’s Songbook page 97; I Feel My Savior’s Love, Children’s Songbook page 74; Jesus Is Our Loving Friend, Children’s Songbook page 58.
Possible Materials: A crisp dollar bill; a simple puzzle; wordart for quotes given in the discussion; Pictures with Christ and the children of the New Testament and Book of Mormon, as well as any other picture you have of Christ in the Americas; A pictorial representation of the prodigal son, the lost coin, and the lost sheep (There is also a PowerPoint here) ; Hidden pictures from the Friend;
Preparation: Begin with prayer. Review the appendix to the Family Home Evening Resource manual titled “Unconditional Love.” Ask yourself if you believe that God really loves you. How do you know? What is keeping you from believing He loves you and from knowing of your own worth? Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources.
Children: ask your parents to get you a crisp dollar (not to keep, silly), and find a really easy puzzle that you can put together pretty fast. Put a piece in your pocket. Then watch as many of these videos as you can: Jesus Tells 3 Parables and Parables 1, 2, and 3, as well as Jesus blessing the Children and Jesus in the Americas and blessing the Book of Mormon children.
Introduction: Take a crisp dollar bill (doesn’t have to be a dollar, but dollars are easier to come by and hold onto…). Ask the family what it is. How much is it worth? Now wrinkle it up, crumple it, stomp on it a few times, and get it looking pretty haggard. Ask the family how much it’s worth now? Did the value change?
Secondly, take a basic puzzle and have the family put it together, but keep one piece hidden. Ask if the puzzle is complete. But we used all the pieces that were here?
Discussion: Discuss how a dollar is a dollar no matter what hardships it has to face. Some value is there and cannot be taken away (if you have a smart-alecky family member who points out that if you rip the dollar or shred the dollar, it’s worthless, point out how you can tape that dollar back together and a bank will still trade it in). Point out how even a simple puzzle piece is necessary. The puzzle is not complete without each piece. Discuss how important we all are and every person is necessary to complete the puzzle. That puzzle is like our family and our church and our earthly life. Share the following quotes:
President Spencer W. Kimball: “God is your father. He loves you. He and your mother in heaven value you beyond any measure … You are unique. One of a kind, made of the eternal intelligence which gives you claim upon eternal life.
“Let there be no question in your mind about your value as an individual. The whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for each of you to reach your fullest potential, which is eternal progression and the possibility of godhood.” (“Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” p. 105.)
Elder Marvin J. Ashton, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “As children of God we are somebody. He will build us, mold us, and magnify us if we will but hold our heads up, our arms out, and walk with him. What a great blessing to be created in his image and know of our true potential in and through him!” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 21; or Ensign, July 1973, 24).
From the Life of the Savior: Hold up the picture of Christ teaching the Children. Read Mark 10:13-16. Show a picture of Christ with the children of the New Testament. Discuss how Jesus took time out for the little children, and even little children are important to the Savior. Did everyone have the same idea? Even His apostles thought the children would be a waste of the Savior’s precious time.
From the Book of Mormon: Hold up a picture of Christ in America. Discuss key points of the savior in the Americas, as found in 3 Nephi. Focus mainly on chapters 11-20. Bring to the attention of the family that not only does He bless the children, but he also blesses the sick and the afflicted. But that was not all; Christ took time for each person that would come to him! Point out that there weren’t just a few people. Think about if the savior only spent seconds with each person, mere seconds, how long he would have been there. But I don’t believe he stood there with each of them for just a second. Or even hurried them along!
Activity for Young Children: Sing “Happy Family” but use Heavenly Father and Jesus as the names in the song.
From Jesus’ Teachings: The Savior often taught in Parables. Read the 3 parables found in Luke 15:4-32. Discuss how we feel when we lose something. Discuss how we are more important than money and sheep and will be as graciously received as the prodigal son. In what way might a person be lost?
Activity: Print off a few Hidden Pictures from the friend, or copy some of your own.
From Modern Leaders: Watch this message by President Uchdorf and discuss one of the articles found in resources.
From your own life: This lesson is so personal in nature that it will not be enough to share stories of people in ancient times. This lesson needs a personal story. If you are uncomfortable with sharing one, ask the family members to think of ways they know that God loves them and experiences that they have had.
Further discussion: Discuss how this message is not only important for us to understand, but it’s also important that we share that God and our Savoir love all of us. We all need to get back to him, and need to do our part to show others how God loves them. We need to be nicer to those we know, because they are Children of God, too. We need to share the gospel with others because they are the lost or the prodigal. Close with Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, 15-16.
Challenge: Encourage each member of the family to take better care of themselves and others this week by remembering that each person is important. Have the older kids write down any negative thoughts they had about themselves each day and how those thoughts were not in line with what they know about their divinity. Heavenly Father sends positive reinforcements and ways to improve, but never negative or demeaning thoughts. Note that this challenge would also make a great Young Women Personal Progress project.
Resources: Behold Your Little Ones lesson 4;Sunbeams Manual Lesson 6; The Lord Has Not Forgotten You by Linda S. Reeves; The Worth of Eddie Porter by Ray Goldrup; The Power of God’s Love by John H. Groberg; What the Book of Mormon Teaches about the Love of God by Russell M. Nelson; Our Divinely Based Worth by Barbara Day Lockhart; The Love of God and You Matter To Him by Dieter F. Uchtdorf; Where is the Pavilion? By Henry B. Eyering; Sugar Beets and the Worth a of Soul by President Thomas S. Monson