Today Bishop Pope talked to the Relief Society and Priesthood brethren about personal ministry in our combined class.
What is personal ministry?- Reaching out to help others.
- Seeing a need and trying to fill it
- Taking the spiritual gifts we've been given and acting on them
- Accepting and filling callings
- Prayerfully asking Heavenly Father what he wants us to do
- All with the right intent, following the promptings of the Spirit
President Kunz several years ago said, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Better yet do unto others as they do unto themselves, but best of all do unto others as God would do unto them." (Jen Low)
We also need to allow others to minister unto us. Sometimes this is very hard. (Bro. Horton)
Bishop: We need to let others serve us, even when the church tells us we should be self-sufficient. It takes humility to admit that we need help.
High Priests were asked by President Coe to give an additional night a week for personal ministry. This may mean where our families need us, or for our own personal spiritual growth, or in some aspect of our calling. We need to step up the effort. (Dave Behunin)
Bishop: Yes, are we having our daily prayers and scripture study? If we are struggling with an aspect of keeping the commandments, sometimes we need to take time out and work on this.
In prayer we may ask for blessings for family members, such as my widowed mother. When the answer may be that we need to give it some thought ourselves about what we can do to help. And not just throw it over the wall to God and go about our way. (Dave Behunin)
Bishop: The scriptures are full of personal ministry, such as Nephi, Alma, Sons of Mosiah, and King Benjamin. In Mosiah 2:16-18 King Benjamin said if I have been in your service I have only been in the service of God. And if I your King can serve then you can too.
What prevents us from performing our own personal ministries?
- We like to talk the talk, but don't walk the walk (Kellen Wentzel).
- We are so caught up in busy-ness of life (Elizabeth Latey).
- Fear. Reaching out one to one may not be part of our nature (Marie Tiller). Remember the first door you knocked on your mission...the fear of rejection or the unknown reaction (Bishop). There are quiet things you can do...genealogy, or something small that works for you. Or we can choose to grow into the role (Craig Clark). But if the spirit speaks we should find a way. The Lord will make up for our shortfall (Elizabeth Latey). Sometimes we are forced to go beyond our comfort zone just based on the circumstances (Cheryl Wentzel).
- Low confidence, low self-esteem. Bishop: start with baby steps. Do something. Do what you can.
- Our thoughts are not focused. "We move our lives in the direction of our most dominant thought." (Melanie Low, Reylyn Checketts). [My aside: Perhaps this is why we covenant EVERY week to "always remember Him."]
- We talk ourselves out of a good action. Never suppress a generous thought - President Monson (Jenn Low).
ExamplesJenny Boyer's neighbors began helping with dinners and offering to do other things after the twins were born. One neighbor now comes almost every day to help after school and at the dinner hour. She is a single woman and needed do a little more in her life and not dwell on negative thoughts. I need the help and she is taking notice of my parenting style. Our hearts are uniting and understanding one another. It goes both ways when we minister. (Jenny Boyer)
If we feel inspired to help more because of this lesson or General Conference, we have to look no further than being a really good visiting teacher. It's already set up for us (Reylyn Checketts).
Bishop: I want to leave this challenge with you. Start with home teaching and visiting teaching. President Coe said it should start there. Do a little more, take it to the next level. It's amazing what that will do for your testimony and you'll see more and more what you can do.
Sometimes the place to start is in our family. We shouldn't neglect their needs in looking to help others. (Kristen Hinchman)
When I was busy with little kids and was a Relief Society President, I couldn't get in to see a woman I was visiting teaching. She never answered. At the store one day I bought a flower and a card and left it at the communal mailbox, hoping she would get it. It was her birthday and I told myself it was my last effort. She called that night and asked how I knew that she loved African Violets. I didn't know but the Lord knows what our favorite flower is. He will help us in our personal ministries if we forget ourselves and listen to Him. (Margie Clark)
Bishop: I think President Monson and other prophets become so close to the Spirit and have listened so much that it's as if the Lord is there speaking to them. We can become more sensitive to the Spirit to and know what the Lord wants us to do.
The Bishop then went on to relate the story of President Monson who as a young new Bishop was prompted to visit an older ward member in the hospital. He put it off until after a church meeting and arrived too late. Let's not ignore the promptings, but act right away.
Thanks, Bishop, for the reminder to seek to know what our personal ministry is, to listen to the Spirit and to act today.