Feast upon the Word Blog

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RS/MP Chapter 18: “Church Leadership and Selfless Service” (Lorenzo Snow Manual)

Posted by kirkcaudle on September 13, 2013

Find the entire lesson here.

Find some of my thoughts on what it means to be a servant of Jesus Christ in my notes from reading The Life of Holiness here.

For the lesson notes this week I will provide a scripture and/or quote from each section and then provide a few questions for you and/or your class members to ponder.

The Lord has given leaders in His Church a divine mandate: “Feed my sheep.”

John 21:12-17:

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him,Feed my sheep.

Regarding this passage Snow remarks:

he continued to say this [feed my sheep] until his apostles felt sorrowful.

Who are the sheep?

How well do we do feeding the sheep?

Do we feel sorrow when we do not feed the sheep?

What motivates us to get to work on this?

Leaders and teachers are called to follow the Savior’s example and serve with love, not to aggrandize themselves.

Lorenzo Snow asks:

Why is [a] man called to act as president over a people? Is it in order to acquire an influence and then to use that influence directly for his own aggrandizement? No, but on the contrary, he is called to act in such a position on the same principle as the priesthood was given to the Son of God, that he should make sacrifices. For himself? No, but in the interests of the people over whom he presides. Would he be required to offer himself up on the cross as did the Saviour? No, but to become the servant of his brethren, not their master, and to work in their interest and welfare.

How can we keep from falling into self aggrandizement when we are called into leadership positions?

How do leaders gain influence over others?

How does want sacrifice on behalf of others?

While pondering these questions, consider the teachings found in D&C 121:34-40

Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson, that the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

Can this passage be liken to church callings? If so, is there a difference between between “called” to a position in Church and be “chosen” for a position in the Church? For example, could I be called to be the Bishop without being chosen to be the Bishop, or vice versa?

Wise leaders appreciate the talents of others and give people opportunities to serve.

Snow teaches:

Because you will find, as a general thing, that talent is diffused through the many and rarely combined in single individuals; and it only needs opportunity in order to be developed

How is talent discovered?

Should we approach leaders and tell them about our talents or should we wait for them to come to us in order to ask about them?

Why do you suppose that talent is “rarely combined in single individuals?

The proper way to lead is by humility, good example, and devotion to the welfare of others.

Snow teaches:

Authorita[rian] rule is not the proper rule by which to govern Saints, but rather seek to administer in the spirit of humility, wisdom, and goodness, teaching not so much by theory as practice. Though one teach with the eloquence of an angel, yet one’s good practices, good examples, one’s acts, constantly manifesting wholeheartedness for the interests of the people, teach much more eloquently, much more effectually

Is it possible to rule by authority without being authoritarian? If so, what are the differences?

What does theory mean in this paragraph? Does theory mean something like doctrine or theology?

Why do you suppose that Snow believes that teaching by practice is better than teaching by theory?

3 Responses to “RS/MP Chapter 18: “Church Leadership and Selfless Service” (Lorenzo Snow Manual)”

  1. Jamie said

    Thank you so much for these thoughts on this lesson. I’ve been randomly asked to teach in a new ward and have been struggling with how to stay out of the negativity I felt the first letter brought into the lesson. So here I am searching for any help I can find and here you are. You didn’t even include the letter which hadn’t even crossed my mind and I needed that. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for the lesson Kirk… This lesson was very well done. As usual, you have an exceptional mind to explain and teach with simplicity.

    Some thoughts came to mind while reading this lesson.

    It would serve us well to take lesson on the points you bring up with regards to callings and to etch them into our souls with a pen of iron, D&C 121: 34-40 until it becomes who we are.

    Regarding sacrifices… Each of us may be called upon to lift up and bring to the altars of consecration our own crosses while on this mortal sojourn. As a leader, especially, I agree, one ought not to aggrandize and lift up oneself, but to put oneself in similitude or servitude like unto the great Exemplar, even the one Jesus, called the Christ. He whom was LOVE and love is who we ought to become; unless, one felt as Ammon of old, and could not contain the overwhelming joy felt….that feeling when in service, that you may explode, if you do not let it out… outside the walls of this mortal frame, and if, you did boast but not in yourself, but with heartfelt LOVE for our God and all for His glory! Then I say boast.


    We have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord.

    Whatever his feelings, Peter said for the third time, “Lord, … thou knowest that I love thee.”12

    To which Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: “Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

    Then, turning to all the Apostles, He might well have said something like: “Were you as foolhardy as the scribes and Pharisees? As Herod and Pilate? Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the nails and the tomb were the end of it all and each could blissfully go back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and my love touch your hearts more deeply than this?”
    My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: “Did you love me?” I think He will want to know if in our very mortal, very inadequate, and sometimes childish grasp of things, did we at least understand one commandment, the first and greatest commandment of them all—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” And if at such a moment we can stammer out, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,” then He may remind us that the crowning characteristic of love is always loyalty.

    “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said. So we have neighbors to bless, children to protect, the poor to lift up, and the truth to defend. We have wrongs to make right, truths to share, and good to do. In short, we have a life of devoted discipleship to give in demonstrating our love of the Lord. We can’t quit and we can’t go back. After an encounter with the living Son of the living God, nothing is ever again to be as it was before. The Crucifixion, Atonement, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ mark the beginning of a Christian life, not the end of it. It was this truth, this reality, that allowed a handful of Galilean fishermen-turned-again-Apostles without “a single synagogue or sword” to leave those nets a second time and go on to shape the history of the world in which we now live. -Jeffrey R. Holland, The First Great Commandment, General Conference Oct.2012

    When you think and flow love, and appreciation, you are naturally experiencing love through you and offering the vibration of it. You are a channel for the Universe’s love. ~Hemal Radia~

    Once converted, our spirit body will naturally want to be performing good works throughout its life, living life, loving, and with it, and our physical body will follow suit; increasing in light becoming like Him, He who sits on the right hand of the father… the Savior of the world, our Prophet, High Priest, and King.

    It would serve us well to understand, the spiritual body in many ways is subject to the limitations of the earthly flesh. At some time future the two will mend or weld together like a fit garment though-out eternity.

    12¶Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
    32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free -John 8:12-58.

    The Lord will render to every man according to his works: Prov. 24:12;
    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works: Matt. 5:16; (3 Ne. 12:16; )
    He that doeth the will of my Father shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: Matt. 7:21

    When we understand the character of God, we begin to understand how to come unto Him. Although I believe wholeheartedly, that it is ultimately and truly grace that we are thereby saved; likewise, it is also by our works we are judged. Works has a place, even a home away from home in the heavens above and in the earth beneath.

  3. Then I say boast. What I really meant was to INSPIRE!

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