I’ve been the Relief Society (Church Women’s Organization) President in my ward (congregation) for over 4 years now. I have loved this calling. It has also been very frustrating.
Frustrating for 2 reasons. I realized how set in their ways most people are and how long it takes for things to change. These things apply to me too – too much. That realization has been hard for me because when I was first called i had big dreams and plans for the sisters in my ward. Don’t get me wrong, there were some changes but nothing sweeping that outside eyes would notice.
During this calling I have thought about ministering/service a lot. One of the problems with the word service is it has connotations. People have a meaning in their head and it’s not budging. We think of service as a physical act. Bringing dinner, helping someone move, cleaning up after a storm and other big acts like that that often only take place directly after some giant life thing happens such as a new baby, etc.
We take the sacrament each week and the word of the prayers remind us about what Christ would have us do to minister. First we take His name upon us which means we are representing him in everything we do. (I wonder if we think about this covenant before we fight with people on the internet about our political positions – but that’s another post.) And we promise to always remember him.
We also covenant to bear others’ burdens, that they may be light; mourn with those that mourn; and comfort those in need of comfort (help others). We stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in
all places (testify of Christ and set a good example at all times) and serve God and keep his commandments.
So many times a casserole brought to the door is welcome but the service ends there. So many times I have wanted someone to just sit with me quietly. When we are struggling sometimes it’s hard to answer probing questions but it is nice to have a physical person next to me, there if I want to talk and there if I prefer not to.
When we think of what Jesus did for people it’s easy to see an example of reaching out, of encouragement, of love and friendship. I can hire someone to fix my roof or move my stuff but I can’t hire someone to show me love, compassion, kindness. And those are the harder things that only come with a lot of time invested.
Right now, in person time isn’t necessarily an option but phone calls and text messages and zoom calls are possible. Walks outside and kind words are also options.
“Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.” —Mosiah 23:18
Do you really know that your people don;t need anything or did you say “Is there anything I can do for you?” and they responded with no. What you can do, what you can ALWAYS do is be a real friend. And if they won’t let you close today, keep trying. Reach out every week saying things like, I was thinking of you or I made this recipe and I thought your family might like it or I just watched this really great show and thought you might enjoy it or wanna go take a walk with me sometime or let’s go get a soda together and hang out at the park this week. Those are the ways you build friendships. With time and effort.
That is what ministering looks like. It is reminding someone over and over that they are on your mind. If they aren’t on your mind I have a way to remedy that too. Pray for them by name every day. Even if you don’t know what they need, the Lord does and He will give you ideas about how to serve them. I know this is true because I have experienced it myself.
One thought on “This is What Ministering Looks Like”
Thanks, Beth. I needed to hear this message.