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An Insight to Ministering

Ministering has been an abundant topic in Church and Gospel conversations worldwide for a year now. The conversations are usually about how we can go and accomplish this higher and holier program. Too often the conversations divulge back to closely mirror our conversations about home teaching. On the other side of the coin, too often we miss the point and it is suggested that this higher and holier program is about making friends and getting to know people.

First off, what is the purpose of Ministering?

A wonderful article from the January 2019 Ensign sums it up well:

"While there are many purposes of ministering, our efforts should be guided by the desire to help others achieve a deeper individual conversion and become more like the Savior."(1)
The article goes onto to explain what this looks like. It mentions things like "connecting service to the Savior", "Focusing on the Covenant Path", and "Invite and Encourage". In short, we can see that ministering is about doing those things that will draw a person to make covenants with the Savior, especially in the Lord's House.

This leads me to an insight I had about ministering this morning as I read 3 Nephi 26.

The context is needed to set the stage. Many LDS scholars agree and call the events of 3 Nephi 11-28 the "holy of holies" of the Book of Mormon. In the previous chapters before chapter 26 the Lord expounds upon and gives Malachi 3-4 unto the Nephites to write. We are told that Jesus not only recited it so they could write it down, but that he actually expounded upon the words (Jesus' elucidation of the text is not found in Book of Mormon). Chapter 26, therefore, carries on this theme as we find Jesus expounding "all things unto them, both great and small" (verse 1). Verses 3-4 expands what this means even further by telling us that the Savior started "from the beginning... even unto the great and last day, when all people... shall stand before God, to be judged of their works".

Christ, therefore, gave a whole panoramic view of the plan of redemption to the hosts of Nephites that were present. Mormon goes onto tell us that he was going to write the Savior's words down, but the Lord told him not too. Note that it is not because the Lord didn't think it was necessary for us to know; quite the opposite actually. It is for the intent to "try the faith of my people" (verse 11). Verse 9 makes it clear that the trying of our faith is supposed to eventually enable us to have "the greater things... manifest[ed] unto [us]."

The Lord then ministers to the children and loosens their tongue so they spake "even greater [things] than he had revealed unto the people" (verse 14). We are told these things are so sacred they "are not lawful to be written" (verse 18). This serves as a contrast to the words that the Savior spoke when he expounded all things. His words were at least written down, but are contained in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. The word's of these children were even more sacred and the Nephites were instructed to not write them for that reason.

This is where it gets interesting, we get a transition in verse 17 where the disciples begin to baptize people so that they were filled with the Holy Ghost (A side note: to me, this is not just referring to baptism and confirmation. This is speaking of being baptized by fire which includes the ordinances of the Temple or, in other words, what Joseph Smith called a "fulness of the Holy Ghost" in D&C 109:15). After this, we are told that many of these people began to see and hear things "which are not lawful to be written" (verse 18) because of their sacredness.

It is right after this (verse 19) we have the stage set for what will happen in 4th Nephi. Verse 19 reads:
"And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another."
We learn at the end of the chapter that these people were called the Church of Christ. For me, this all begged the question of why effective ministering is placed unmistakably in a whole chapter where very sacred things were revealed and spoken?

Is it possible that the events found in 3 Nephi, particularly chapter 26, prepared the Nephites to be effective ministers to each other? We know that this is where Zion got its start among them when it lasted for hundreds of years in 4th Nephi.

In other words, do we undervalue revelation in our ministering efforts? We often speak about gaining revelation about the needs of our family, but that is not the kind of revelation spoken of in 3 Nephi 26.

I have long been of the opinion that the most effective revelation we can get is those things which will teach us about the Savior. The kind of revelation that will teach us what he knows, who he really is, what he has done, how he has done it, and how we relate to Him. I believe that this kind of revelation usually knocks two birds out with one stone as the needs of us and our families can usually be fulfilled by learning more about the Savior.

A ministering program that preserved a Zion people that lasted hundreds of years was preceded by a zenith of revelation. Instead of believing we do not need to understand certain things, we can begin to see how our relationship with the Savior is reflected in the spirit of revelation we have. This spirit of revelation opens our minds to the full plan of salvation which enables us to more effectively accomplish the purposes of ministering.


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