During the April 2018 General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson announced a new ministering effort — one that will replace visiting teaching and home teaching. This new program is called a “newer, holier approach” and should be “motivated only by the pure love of Christ.” As we embark in this new service opportunity, we can draw inspiration from the One who dedicated His life to ministering — the Savior Jesus Christ. We can embark in ministering like Christ did.
The scriptures are filled with stories of the ministering efforts of the Savior. Each story shows a certain Christlike attribute that we can also strive to develop as we start our own ministering efforts. Here are four examples of Christ’s ministering and the Christlike attributes that the Savior exhibited.
Jesus Christ and Lazarus
When Jesus knew of Lazarus’ death, he went to comfort his friend’s bereaved family. In John 11, we can read of Christ’s example of “mourning with those that mourn.” Instead of telling a grief-stricken Martha to stop crying because He was sure her brother would rise up anyway, He encouraged her to have faith. And — recorded as one of the shortest yet most powerful verses in the New Testament — “Jesus wept.”
We do not fully know what the rest of Lazarus’ family felt when they saw Jesus weeping but imagine how comforting that must have been for them. Someone understood their grief, someone understood their sorrow. Christ did not mock their pain just because He knew Lazarus would rise from the dead. He wept with them. He mourned with them.
As we go on with our ministering efforts, let us learn to listen to those who need to talk, and mourn with those who are experiencing grief. Knowing the Plan of Salvation shouldn’t make us overlook the reality of grief and sorrow — just listen, ask for the Holy Ghost’s guidance, and let it guide you as you comfort those you serve.
Jesus Christ and the Five Thousand
When the Savior saw that a multitude of people was following Him, He had great compassion towards them. Throughout that day, Jesus took the time to heal the congregation from their sicknesses. As it began to get late, his disciples wondered what to do and how to feed the large crowd. Jesus — perhaps seeing how hungry the people were — proceeded to feed the five thousand. During that day, the Lord was not only aware of their need to be healed physically and spiritually– He also saw their need to eat.
Ministering is more than sharing a spiritual message to our brothers and sisters. Ministering is a program that should exhibit a “heartfelt care for one another.” Following Christ’s example, when we minister, we must look beyond the need to deliver a spiritual message and begin to identify what our friends truly need. By recognizing what they need the most, we will be able to serve them better.
Jesus Christ and Jairus
Jesus’ three-year ministry was filled with service, but despite that, He still took the time to respond quickly to anyone who needed help. When a grieving father asked Him to come see his daughter, Jesus immediately went with him and eventually healed his daughter.
Sometimes, life gets in the way of our ministering efforts. At times, we may feel that we no longer have the time to minister to the people assigned to us. However, when we give time to minister, no matter how hectic our schedules are, we can bring joy, peace, and comfort to those we are serving.
Jesus Christ and the People of Bountiful
When Jesus visited the people in America, he let everyone — one by one — see and feel the marks of the nails in His palms and feet. When He healed those who were sick and afflicted, He did so one by one. “One by one” — a powerful phrase that shows how mindful the Lord is of the needs of each and every one of us.
The people who are assigned to us are more than just names on a paper — they are individuals with stories, and with needs. As we minister, let us also truly know them — one by one. As we continue to get to know them better, our love for them will inevitably increase.
Ministering Like Christ: Not Easy but Possible
Ministering like Christ is not easy but through the help of the Lord, it is very much possible. We do not need to feel clueless as to what we need to do — we have our Savior’s example to guide us as we serve. May we always draw inspiration from Jesus Christ as we go about ministering.