I love that Luke 18 has all that we need to know to get to the Kingdom of God! I found this summed up nicely in my New Testament Study Guide, which is my most helpful scripture study aide:
- We must pray always and with sincerity (vv. 1-6; 9-14).
- We must be humble and become as a little child (vv. 9-14; 15-18).
- We must fix our hearts not on our earthly possessions but on the hope of God's kingdom (vv. 19-25).
- We must understand the true mission of the Savior and how the words of the prophets are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (vv. 31-34).
- And, finally, we must live our lives by faith, seeing things in their true perspective and glorifying God throughout our days (vv. 35-43)
There is plenty to learn in this week's lesson, and I found a lot of great content to go with many of the different themes. I hope there is something applicable to your needs below.
I know that this can be a touchy topic for some, but I loved this video by John Hilton III. I think he explained the teachings so well while taking care to not cause harm to those that have had to deal with divorce:
This talk by Elder Holland was referenced in the lesson and is definitely one of the best on the topic. Some of my favorite quotes are below, but you can access the whole talk with the link at the bottom:
Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.
What happened in this story at 9:00 or noon or 3:00 is swept up in the grandeur of the universally generous payment at the end of the day. The formula of faith is to hold on, work on, see it through, and let the distress of earlier hours—real or imagined—fall away in the abundance of the final reward. Don’t dwell on old issues or grievances—not toward yourself nor your neighbor nor even, I might add, toward this true and living Church. The majesty of your life, of your neighbor’s life, and of the gospel of Jesus Christ will be made manifest at the last day, even if such majesty is not always recognized by everyone in the early going. So don’t hyperventilate about something that happened at 9:00 in the morning when the grace of God is trying to reward you at 6:00 in the evening—whatever your labor arrangements have been through the day.
This parable—like all parables—is not really about laborers or wages any more than the others are about sheep and goats. This is a story about God’s goodness, His patience and forgiveness, and the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a story about generosity and compassion. It is a story about grace. It underscores the thought I heard many years ago that surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it.
The Laborers in the Vineyard by Jeffrey R. Holland
This video also goes well with the talk:
Concerning the request from James and John (and their mother) to be seated at the right and left hand of Jesus, Elder Uchtdorf gave this amazing talk:
On one occasion, as the Savior prepared to make His final journey to Jerusalem, James and John approached Him with a special request—one perhaps worthy of their nickname.
“We want you to do for us whatever we ask,” they said.
I can imagine Jesus smiling at them as He responded, “What do you want?”
“Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.”
The Savior now challenged them to think a little more deeply about what they were asking and said, “To sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”3
In other words, you can’t get honor in the kingdom of heaven by campaigning for it. Nor can you “power lunch” your way to eternal glory.
When the other ten Apostles heard about this request from the Sons of Thunder, they weren’t especially happy. Jesus knew His time was short, and seeing contention among those who would carry on His work must have troubled Him.
He talked to the Twelve about the nature of power and how it affects those who seek and hold it. “The people of influence in the world,” He said, “use their position of authority to exercise power over others.”
I can almost see the Savior, looking with infinite love into the faces of those faithful and believing disciples. I can almost hear His pleading voice: “This is not the way it shall be among you. Instead, whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”4
In God’s kingdom, greatness and leadership means seeing others as they truly are—as God sees them—and then reaching out and ministering to them. It means rejoicing with those who are happy, weeping with those who grieve, lifting up those in distress, and loving our neighbor as Christ loves us. The Savior loves all of God’s children regardless of their socioeconomic circumstance, race, religion, language, political orientation, nationality, or any other grouping. And so should we!
God’s greatest reward goes to those who serve without expectation of reward. It goes to those who serve without fanfare; those who quietly go about seeking ways to help others; those who minister to others simply because they love God and God’s children.
Read the full talk here: The Greatest Among You by Dieter F. Uchtdorf
This talk from Linda K. Burton is a gem as she discusses what we should do in order to "live with Him someday". These are some of my favorite points:
The Savior taught, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” What do we need to know and do “to live with him someday”? We can learn from the story of the rich young man who asked Jesus what he needed to do in order to receive eternal life. Jesus answered him, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
The young man asked Him which ones he should keep. Jesus then reminded him of several of the Ten Commandments we are all familiar with.
The young man responded, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”
Jesus said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
Jesus called him to become a part of His work—the work of a disciple. Our work is the same. We are to “lay aside the things of [the] world, … cleave unto [our] covenants,” and come unto Christ and follow Him. That’s what disciples do!
Now, sisters, let’s not start beating ourselves up because the Savior spoke to the rich young man about becoming perfect. The word perfect in this account was translated from a Greek word that means “complete.” As we try our best to move forward along the covenant path, we become more complete and perfect in this life.
Like the rich young man in Jesus’s day, sometimes we are tempted to give up or turn back because maybe we think we can’t do it alone. And we are right! We cannot do the difficult things we have been asked to do without help. Help comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the guidance of the Holy Ghost, and the helping hands of others.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “All the easy things that the Church has had to do have been done. From now on, it’s high adventure, and followership is going to be tested in some interesting ways.” You have been sent to earth in this dispensation of time because of who you are and what you have been prepared to do! Regardless of what Satan would try to persuade us to think about who we are, our true identity is that of a disciple of Jesus Christ!
Read the full talk here: Wanted: Hearts and Hands to Hasten the Work by Linda K. Burton
This talk goes well with the Bible video: