Sunday, April 01, 2007

Our Personal Ministry

Bonnie Parkin spoke at the BYU Devotional on February 13, 2007. Her talk really touched me. She started with a story of a woman who lived in President Kimball's ward and decided to sew him a new tie when she saw him wearing a new suit. After she had made the tie and was about to deliver it, she got cold feet.

On her way to the front door, she suddenly stopped and thought, “Who am I to make a tie for the prophet? He probably has plenty of them.” Deciding she had made a mistake, she turned to leave.

Just then Sister Kimball opened the front door and said, “Oh, Susan!”

Stumbling all over herself, Susan said, “I saw President Kimball in his new suit on Sunday. Dad just brought me some silk from New York . . . and so I made him a tie.”

Before Susan could continue, Sister Kimball stopped her, took hold of her shoulders, and said: “Susan, never suppress a generous thought.”

I love the phrase, "Never suppress a generous thought." President Parkin immediate followed up that story with this one.

Some years ago, at the conclusion of a Utah Board of Higher Education meeting, Elder Neal Maxwell submitted his resignation. He said he needed to do so to make time for his personal ministry. Most of the board members assumed he was referring to his apostleship. However, he explained that his personal ministry was different than his apostleship. His personal ministry was to comfort fellow cancer patients.

It is hard to justify not taking the time to do something that even an apostle can make time to do. We each have a personal ministry to perform. We must seek to be the answers to someone else's prayers. One last story from Sister Parkin's talk. This one appears to have been taken from a BYU-I devotional from a few years ago.

The prayers of one missionary’s parents were answered by the personal ministry of another. A missionary arrived in a foreign mission and was struggling with discouragement. He said he couldn’t take it and wanted to come home. His parents and others tried to encourage him but to no avail. At a reception during a training session, this distraught father mentioned his son’s struggle to a priesthood leader.

The following week an envelope arrived at the parents’ home. Inside was a copy of a letter that had been sent to their son. The letter had been typed on a typewriter and very tenderly addressed to the discouraged elder. It was several pages long, full of encouragement and the writer’s own missionary experiences about faith and sticking to it. The letter was warm, loving, thoughtful, personal, and signed, “Sincerely, your brother, President Gordon B. Hinckley.” Shortly after this, the elder wrote his parents to say he was staying. He became a mighty power for good among the people of his mission.


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  • I like this idea. Unfortunately, too many members think their gospel activities should to be limited to official callings and assignments, such as home-teaching and visiting-teaching. Too many people think they are authorized to do only those things which are specifically assigned to them, and should do nothing outside of those instructions.

    By Blogger Bookslinger, at 4/02/2007 5:37 PM  

  • Bookslinger, your website is a great demonstration of your point. Thanks for living the gospel and not just talking about it! You're a good example to me.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 4/02/2007 6:13 PM  

  • Or perhaps some feel so overburdened with their assigned duties that they can't even think about finding time for personally developed assignments. It really comes down to a way of thinking. If an apostle that is a cancer victim can find time to freely serve others, most members should be able to as well. When serving others becomes an integral part of your life, it's amazing what other elements diminish in importance and fall away.

    By Blogger Scott Hinrichs, at 4/03/2007 11:01 AM  

  • I've found that multi-tasking is a way to effectively increase my time.

    I basically give out books when I go out to eat, shop, buy gas, or do laundry, things I do anyway.

    Okay, so I've magnified it a bit, and sometimes go out of my way to eat out or shop or buy gas when I don't really need to.

    But a lot of us shop at least once a week, buy gas once a week, and eat out once a month, for nine opportunities per month right there. (Even more if you're a shop-aholic. :-)

    By Blogger Bookslinger, at 8/09/2007 1:17 PM  

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