"The Sabbath Is a Day to Serve Others" LDS Teaching Tips and Ideas

I love the topic of this Sabbath day lesson- service. It's exactly what Jesus Christ did His whole life and what we should be doing. 


From the Church, "What can we learn about serving others on the Sabbath from the ways the Savior served and blessed those around Him? Encourage members to review and discuss Matthew 9:10–13; Luke 19:1–9; John 11:32–46; 13:1–5, 12–17; and 3 Nephi 17:5–10. Ask members to think about these scriptures as they consider how they can serve on the Sabbath. For example, they could serve family members, reach out to individuals and families they minister to as home and visiting teachers, work on family history, visit the sick, or share the gospel. Perhaps members could have a family council to plan ways they can serve others on the Sabbath."

Teacher Study

Matthew 20:25-28

Matthew 25:24-40

John 13:35

Mosiah 2:16-18

Mosiah 18:8-9

D&C 64:33

"The Joy of Service" by President Thomas S. Monson

"The Greatest among You" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Unselfish Service" by Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"Finding Joy through Loving Service" by Elder M. Russell Ballard

"'I Was a Stranger'" by Sister Linda K. Burton


Remember, as a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS member, you can access these eBooks or audiobooks anytime. Find out more about Deseret Bookshelf PLUS.

Suggested Videos

"Jesus Heals a Man on the Sabbath" (about 3 minutes)- Children's Bible Videos (they describe the story). The regular Bible Video of this story is here.

Preparation of Gordon B. Hinckley: Forget Yourself and Go to Work (about 2 minutes)- Story of the missionary letter he got from his dad.

Service Through Song (about 3 1/2 minutes)- A group shares love through singing hymns to a group of elderly residents.

Service (about 20 seconds)- Side by side comparison of showing love like Christ does (These short videos are great to share before or after your lesson through email or social media to keep the conversation going).

Dominoes (about 30 seconds)- How service continues to bless (all check out the other videos on this page)

Check out 2 more pages of service videos.

Questions to Ponder

  • How can you make serving others a way of life?
  • How has other's service blessed you?
  • How has service brought you happiness?
  • How can you and your family reach out and serve?
  • What blessings has Church service brought into your life?
  • How does this attitude of service change the way you approach your calling?
  • What keeps you from serving?
  • How does service bring light into your life?
  • What opportunities for service did you see this week? How did you respond to each one?
  • What ills of yours have been cured through service?
  • How do you serve within the church?
  • What types of service have been meaningful for you to receive? Why?
  • What distracts us from serving?
  • Do we recognize the small things we do as service?
  • How can we encourage children to serve and know that it matters?
  • How can we serve within our homes? Is it service?
  • What happens when we change our view of going to church from getting what we want to serving someone else?
  • How can we recognize those in need of service? 
  • What keeps us from asking for help?
  • What does service have to do with the Sabbath?
  • What are you currently doing on the Sabbath? How can you make it more?

Teaching Ideas

  • Give time to your class to ponder possible service opportunities on the Sabbath. Give everyone paper and let them think and write down whatever comes to mind. Challenge them to take the opportunity to do this every Sunday after they say their prayers and see what happens. They can even keep a service journal- not what they did but what they learned and felt as they did serve.
  • Split into groups to discuss the scriptures the Church recommended in the suggestions for this lesson. I made scripture cards so you can easily give each group a different scripture to discuss. Be sure they answer specific questions such as "How do we apply this scripture to our lives? What can we learn from this scripture story?"
  • One of my favorite songs is "Lean On Me" wherein it talks about leaning on each other because one day, the other one will need it in return. All of us want to be able to lean on someone in times of trouble. Visiting and Home Teaching does this! It allows us to lean on one another when we need it! How can you allow your Visiting or Home Teaching families lean on you right now?
  • Tell the story of Christ healing a lame man on the Sabbath (John 5). What is the lesson that Christ wants us to learn here? How can we apply it? 
  • Use President Thomas S. Monson as an example of serving (including on the Sabbath). I love the article with insights from his daughter, Ann Dibbs. She helped President Monson serve to the end. How can we emulate his example?
  • Discuss what service does for us. Then discuss what the Sabbath can do for us. Show how these two things are related and have similar purposes. 
  • Encourage people to continue to #LIGHTtheWORLD with my service flipbook. It's the perfect example of applying the Christ's teachings into our lives. My flipbook has each of the scriptures mentioned this past December plus room for journaling experiences. Since there is no specific date tied to them, it is easy to use all year. Once you have done a particular scripture service challenge, record your experience and flip to the next one. 
  • Day 3 of #LIGHTtheWORLD was Matthew 12:12, "Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days." What does this scripture mean? You can use the short video in your lesson as well as some of their questions such as, "How can you use your talents on a day of rest?" 
  • Have a group of Primary children sing, "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" then discuss what that song means and how we can be rays of sunlight each Sabbath. 
  • Text or email people for examples of how they have served last month before class. Write their answers on the board or put each one on a sticky note forming a heart on the board. In class, discuss how these acts of service helped and what they did for both parties.
  • Make a list on the board of appropriate Sunday service ideas. Often, we need a few ideas to get the rest of our brain going. Then revisit the term "appropriate." What really makes the service appropriate on Sunday?