January 2024 Come Follow Me Ministering – Imperfect Families at the Tree of Life
The January 2024 Come, Follow Me Ministering Printable ties together Sister Tamara W. Runia’s 2023 October General Conference talk “Seeing God’s Family through the Overview Lens,” and this January’s “Come, Follow Me” lessons on imperfect families and the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi.
Download January 2024 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable (4×6)
You can print these printables as 4×6 photo prints. My local drugstore prints them for just pennies. They are also a higher resolution if you want to enlarge them.
January 2024 Come Follow Me Ministering Message
1 Nephi – Imperfect Families at the Tree of Life
The Book of Mormon starts with the story of a family. But it isn’t a perfect family. It is a family that makes mistakes, fights, and suffers terrible losses.
In the “Come, Follow Me” manual it says, “Rarely in scripture is there such a detailed account of a family trying to live the gospel: parents struggling to inspire faith in their family and worrying about their safety, children deciding if they will believe their parents, and brothers dealing with jealousy and contention—and sometimes forgiving each other. Overall, there is power in this imperfect family’s examples of faith.”
If we ever feel inadequate, Lehi’s family is a vivid reminder that the Lord’s plan is for imperfect families – including ours. This knowledge shines the light of Christ into whatever dark trial or troubled family relationship we face.
Sharing the Tree of Life
We see this principle in practice when Lehi recounts his vision of the Tree of Life. In the dream, he sees the Tree of Life after wandering in a dark and dreary waste. When he partakes of the fruit of the tree, he is filled with joy. It is the sweetest fruit he has ever tasted. His very first impulse is to look for his family so that he can share the fruit with them. Part of his family comes to the tree right away, but his sons Laman and Lemuel refuse.
In contrast, some individuals partake of the fruit, but the first place they look to is the great and spacious building. When they see the people mocking them, they are ashamed, leave the tree, and are lost. Unlike these individuals, Lehi’s love for his family helps him ignore the taunts and maintain his ground.
Staying at the Tree of Life
Imagine you are Lehi. What kinds of things do you think the people in the building were saying to him? In the past, I have always imagined them as jeering teenagers making fun of all the “uncool” people at the tree. But Satan is more sophisticated than that.
I imagine that Lehi heard things that played on his greatest insecurities. If Satan can make us feel like we don’t belong, he can get us to leave. Maybe the people mocked Lehi for not being able to bring his whole family to the tree. Maybe they mocked him for leaving all his wealth in Jerusalem and struggling to provide for his family in the wilderness. Perhaps they reminded him of all his shortcomings and imperfections. Maybe they told him that someone like him didn’t belong at the tree.
Every time we sit in the pew at church and are tempted to leave because we feel like we don’t belong or that we are inadequate, we can remember that even prophets like Lehi have sat there too. But like Lehi, we don’t have to listen. Lehi stays put. And because he stays by the Tree of Life, he is able to observe what is happening from a celestial vantage point. From this perspective, he does not get lost down strange roads nor does he drown in the depths of the fountain. He can see the overarching plan and the dangers that are present.
Keeping a Celestial Vantage Point
In her recent General Conference talk, Sister Tamara W. Runia teaches us how important this heavenly vantage point is. She shares, “As humans, we have an earthbound point of view, but God sees the grand overview of the universe. He sees all creation, all of us, and is filled with hope.” And with our sights focused on the Savior, we can feel that hope and joy too. Just like Lehi felt the joy of the fruit even when his situation was so terribly hard. Sister Runia teaches, “Everything you and you and you are worried about—it’s all going to be OK! And those who look with an eye of faith can feel that it’s going to be OK now.”
Sister Runia also points out that Lehi didn’t leave the tree even to go after Laman and Lemuel. She shares that her father was like Lehi and “knew that you don’t chase after your loved ones who feel lost. ‘You stay where you are and call them. You go to the tree, stay at the tree, keep eating the fruit and, with a smile on your face, continue to beckon to those you love and show by example that eating the fruit is a happy thing!’”
Imperfect Families Help Perfect Us
In the scriptures, Heavenly Father does not give us a perfect family for us to follow. Instead, He picks an imperfect family who shows us how to follow Jesus even in their imperfections.
“Remember, families are a God-given laboratory where we’re figuring things out, so missteps and miscalculations are not just possible but probable,” says Sister Runia. “And wouldn’t it be interesting if, at the end of our lives, we could see that those relationships, even those challenging moments, were the very things that helped us to become more like our Savior? Each difficult interaction is an opportunity to learn how to love at a deeper level—a godlike level.”
These little globe stress balls are so cute and go perfectly with Sister Runia’s message.
Did you like this January 2024 Come Follow Me Ministering message? Find more Relief Society Ministering Printables for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the “Come, Follow Me” lessons into their own study. They are also perfect for Young Women’s, Relief Society, Sunday School, or Family Home Evening. I hope that these ministering printables will be a simple way to reach out to those we minister to.