I’ll have to be very quick, but here’s how our lesson went:
We went through King Benjamin’s speech and noted several passages where he talks about our relationship to each other and to God. We made a triangle on the board of “us” “other people” and “God.” Then as we discussed passages or other quotations we drew arrows and wrote words to describe the relationship. In addition to King Benjamin, we talked about Pres. Kimball’s quote: “God does hear us but it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.” We talked about how God relies on us to help other people (Arrow from God through us to others) and how we can’t think that self-reliance means never receiving help. We added lots of arrows and words throughout the lesson.
Then I told a story about my kids fighting over a water bottle. It was one they were given when we were not at home and the two boys were to share it. They barely used it. We were home having a snack and one boy remembered the water and got it to drink during snack. The other boy remembered that he hadn’t had much so he yelled at his brother for taking too much and yanked it out of his hands! I picked up the water and returned it to the first boy, and picked this brother up and put him on the couch! I explained that we had plenty of water at home and there was no need to be mad or to force his brother to give him water! He could have 300 glasses of water if he wanted!
The point of the story was that if we erase God (or Mom, in this story) from the triangle, then we’ve still got arrows going back and forth between us and others but without any clear picture of what that means. My son forgot that there was any other way to get what he needed except from another person and since he didn’t think asking nicely would work, he resorted to force. How true is it in the real world, that when we forget that God is in charge we resort to fighting, harsh feelings, arguing, gossiping, etc.?
Then a lovely prompting came, and we went back to King Benjamin’s speech and read the part where he says if you always remember your weakness and his greatness you will always rejoice, AND, you will live peaceably and not have a mind to injure one another. I thought that was fascinating. If you remember God is in charge and you are only his servant, you won’t fight! You won’t, because there is no need when you are relying on God.
Then we looked at the word Self-Reliance again and reviewed everything we had learned. We added above the word self “secret:God”. The weeks before we had talked about becoming Christlike and had read 3 Nephi 12-13 where Christ talks about having a pure heart. We talked about how God seeth in secret, etc. So we brought that back in and said that what matters in self-reliance is our heart, like always. We’ll need others and they need us, but the point is that we are always relying on God. All money or food etc in the world is really God’s. If we’re relying on him, then we’ll have what we need. He might ask us to give a million dollars to someone else, or he might prompt someone to give a million dollars to us. And we have to be okay with it. But, what we can’t do is assume that we want or need something, and that someone else has to give it to us. Then harsh feelings come.
My partner had related that she is in charge of an office and if others don’t do their work she has to still keep things in order. She jumped in here and said that God really was her secret. She couldn’t do it without him. I mentioned that probably to her office staff it looks like she is very self-reliant and on top of things. She laughed and said that was probably true, but they didn’t know her secret. 🙂
So we ended up saying that self-reliance is when it looks like you are content and independent, when in reality, you are depending on God in such a way that you don’t covet or misuse what you have. It’s a secret relationship with God that makes you truly self-reliant.
I’d add more or explain better but that’s the extent of my time this morning. 🙂