- There is an old Jewish tale about a soap maker who did not believe in God. One day as he was walking with a rabbi, he said, “There is something I cannot understand. We have had religion for thousands of years. But everywhere you look there is evil, corruption, dishonesty, injustice, pain, hunger, and violence. It appears that religion has not improved the world at all. So I ask you, what good is it?”
- The rabbi did not answer for a time but continued walking with the soap maker. Eventually they approached a playground where children, covered in dust, were playing in the dirt.
- “There is something I don’t understand,” the rabbi said. “Look at those children. We have had soap for thousands of years, and yet those children are filthy. What good is soap?”
- The soap maker replied, “But rabbi, it isn’t fair to blame soap for these dirty children. Soap has to be used before it can accomplish its purpose.”
- The rabbi smiled and said, “Exactly.”
He speaks specifically about the type of faith that is needed for us to be partners with God.
- Faith is more than belief. It is complete trust in God accompanied by action.
- It is more than wishing.
- It is more than merely sitting back, nodding our heads, and saying we agree. When we say “the just shall live by faith,” we mean we are guided and directed by our faith. We act in a manner that is consistent with our faith—not out of a sense of thoughtless obedience but out of a confident and sincere love for our God and for the priceless wisdom He has revealed to His children.
- Faith must be accompanied by action; else it has no life. It is not faith at all. It doesn’t have the power to change a single individual, let alone the world.
- Men and women of faith trust in their merciful Heavenly Father—even during times of uncertainty, even during times of doubt and adversity when they may not see perfectly or understand clearly.
- Men and women of faith earnestly walk the path of discipleship and strive to follow the example of their beloved Savior, Jesus Christ. Faith motivates and, indeed, inspires us to incline our hearts to heaven and to actively reach out, lift up, and bless our fellowmen.
He gives us some specific blessings about how we can use our faith for good.
- Our faith can bless and righteously influence both us and those around us.
- Our faith can fill the world with goodness and peace.
- Our faith can transform hatred into love and enemies into friends.
- The just, then, live by acting in faith; they live by trusting in God and walking in His way. And that is the sort of faith that can transform individuals, families, nations, and the world.
When you share this message, one suggestion on how to teach this lesson is provided below.
- You could invite those you teach to share moments when they have seen the blessings and power of living by faith—from either personal examples or observations of others.
If you are teaching families with teenage kids, the following example is given to share with them.
- President Uchtdorf tells us that our faith in God must be “accompanied by action.” When our faith is “yoked with consistent action,” he explains, it “fills … the soul with peace and love.” With the promise of this blessing, we can make a difference, and we can see this in our lives if we take the time to do faith-filled service. You could pray each morning to ask the Lord for help in serving others. For instance, ask Him to show you when a sibling needs help with a chore or when a friend needs a compliment. Then, when you receive a prompting, act on it! If you make these prayers and this service a habit, then your faithful, consistent action will bless your life and the lives of others. President Uchtdorf promises that you “can transform individuals, families, nations, and the world.”
If you are sharing with families that have little kids, there is an activity that can be done that is in the Ensign. When teaching little kids, the following is the point of the message that you could share.
- Sometimes it’s hard to follow directions. But when we try to follow Heavenly Father by listening to the Holy Ghost, He will help us. We can always trust Him.
Our faith can be used for great things. We have a great opportunity lead people to Christ but it takes faith to share the message of God's love with those we meet. You can share that message with the families you Home Teach, Visiting Teach, or come in contact with on a daily basis. We all find such great happiness by following the Savior. Share that joy you have found with someone today.