What really makes this lesson valuable is the comments from the class. Leave plenty of time for that. I found that I didn't need to plan much - there are so many great quotes. Read those and then open up for comments. My rough outline is below, hope it helps!
Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease
BY ELDER DAVID A. BEDNAR
Story about the truck - Ask someone to summarize
Elder Bednar uses this story to illustrate an important point about the load - it was the weight of the load that gave the traction the truck needed to get out of the snow. He asks that you keep this example in mind as we discuss the loads that we have to bear.
What is our load?
Quote 1: “Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. “
How do we view those loads?
Quote 2: “Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load: “Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?”
Quote 3: “Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that truly matter most.”
I wondered what he had in mind when he said that last part - things that are nice but unnecessary. What do you think some of those things could be?
Bearing that load with strength from the Atonement
Quote 4: “The Savior said: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
What is a yoke and how does this example help us understand the importance of the atonement in bearing our burdens?
How do we take up that yoke?
Quote 5: “Making and keeping sacred covenants yokes us to and with the LordJesus Christ. In essence, the Savior is beckoning us to rely upon and pull together with Him, even though our best efforts are not equal to and cannot be compared with His. As we trust in and pull our load with Him during the journey of mortality, truly His yoke is easy and His burden is light.”
But in order to receive this promised aid, we must do our part. Elder Bednar emphasizes: “Note the centrality of covenants to the promise of deliverance. Covenants received and honored with integrity and ordinances performed by proper priesthood authority are necessary to receive all of the blessings made available through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
Elder Bednar draws from the book of Mosiah:
Quote 6: “”And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs” (Mosiah 24:14). Many of us may assume this scripture is suggesting that a burden suddenly and permanently will be taken away. The next verse, however, describes how the burden was eased. “And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:15).”
What do we learn from this? How does it make you feel?
I find that it gives me great comfort, even more than if it said that my burdens would be removed. I don’t think that that’s realistic - we will always have burdens and as Elder Bednar noted in the first part of his talk, they are necessary to help us get traction. I think I would be far worse off if I expected to have none rather than feeling equipped to handle them when they come.
The Atonement comforts us
We are all on the same page about our burdens not taken from us. We have discussed how the Atonement strengthens us and enables us to get through them. But it’s kind of a two-pronged approach. The Atonement strengthens, yes, but it also is our source of comfort when we are feeling low.
Quote 7: “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. “And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12). Thus, the Savior has suffered not just for our sins and iniquities—but also for our physical pains and anguish, our weaknesses and shortcomings, our fears and frustrations, our disappointments and discouragement, our regrets and remorse, our despair and desperation, the injustices and inequities we experience, and the emotional distresses that beset us.”
Is there anyone who has experienced this comfort and would be willing to share their experience?
Learn more about the Atonement
Elder Bednar encourages us to study, pray, ponder and strive to learn more about the Atonement so that we can understand how to apply it in our lives to the burdens that we carry. He says:
Quote 8: “The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah. I testify and promise the Savior will help us to bear up our burdens with ease. As we are yoked with Him through sacred covenants and receive the enabling power of His Atonement in our lives, we increasingly will seek to understand and live according to His will. We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly for God to change our circumstances according to our will. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon. We will be blessed with spiritual traction.”
My favorite part of this talk was this quote:
“We are not and never need be alone. We can press forward in our daily lives with heavenly help. Through the Savior’s Atonement we can receive capacity and “strength beyond [our] own” (“Lord, I Would Follow Thee,”Hymns, no. 220). As the Lord declared, “Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end” (D&C 100:12).”
How easy it is to forget when we are wallowing in our pain or our difficulty that there is someone to help us. We feel alone. This simple statement “We are not and never need be alone” has two very powerful messages in it. The first is that our Savior is always with us, to help us, strengthen us, guide us, succor us. The second part is that we must CHOOSE not to be alone. It is up to us to make those covenants that bind us to Him and share the yoke. If we feel alone, it is not because we are, but because we have removed ourselves from feeling his love, his strength, his help. Do not forget him, do not forget to draw closer to him and LET him help you. You are not alone and you never have to feel alone.