Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Personal Ministry

I was looking for something else on Cindy's blog today when I came upon this post. In it she references a talk by Bonnie D. Parkin. Bonnie D. Parkin discusses the role of Personal Ministry in our lives. (well technically she was discussing the idea in the lives of women...but I'm going to include myself for now.)

Parkin's definition is important, so I'll start there:

“The work of the ministry is to do the work of the Lord on the earth—to represent the Lord among the people . . . The chosen servants and appointed officers in the Church of Jesus Christ are put on earth by him to conduct the work necessary for the salvation of mankind.”Clearly, ministering is a holy, even sacred word. When priesthood leaders speak of personal ministry, they often refer to the ministry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the miraculous things He did in our behalf."

Furthermore she states:

"Now, let’s think for a minute about why we minister to one another. One of the reasons is because we have made covenants to do so. Alma taught us that we entered into a covenant with the Lord at the time of our baptism. We specifically committed 'to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light . . . and . . . mourn with those that mourn . . . and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.'”

I am especially drawn to that last part as it pertains to my personal ministry. I'm a regular Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to this. An example - There is a dear friend I have that lives near me. Often when we are out driving I will ask her what she is thinking or how she feels. Some days I really do mean it and look for ways to lighten her load or comfort her if she stands in need of comfort. However, some days I'm just asking because there is nothing on the radio and I'm trying to break up the silence.

During this past week, Melinda's sister posted a blog about how their other sister is having family problems and is in need of someone to carry the burden of the children. In the past, I have been totally supportive of this sister and Melinda and I even discussed her delaying her mission to help this sister with her kids. This week, however, I was combative - suggesting the sister stop burdening her family with her kids. It wasn't my place - but I did it anyway. And I felt sorry later.

In case you haven't noticed - I haven't written for about 6 weeks. I haven't felt like writing but more appropriately, I haven't felt like much of anything. Several of my friends say I'm depressed. Maybe. But I think I'm more off my path. Prior to Idaho, I was in tune to either the spirit or to Karma. I knew when to ask if others needed help and I knew to act. Except for about a year of Idaho, I resembled that say pre-Idaho person. (I went on a date with a girl in 2005. She couldn't get away fast enough. In 2006, when I broke my wrist, she was one of the first in to offer help. She explained to a roommate the change "He's not the same angry Sean in 2005. This year he cares.")
Since being back from Idaho, though, I have increasingly been not caring about others. In moments of quiet reflection it saddens me. It saddens me that I'm not in a place to feel those promptings and it saddens me that I'm not willing to act even if I do feel those promptings. I'm afraid I may have put my personal ministry on vacation.

Cindy's blog comments on

"And suddenly, I knew exactly what it is that I need to be doing right now, at this singular time in my life - while I do not yet have the commitment of husband, family, or even boyfriend or fiancé, and therefore have more time to work on myself. The ark that I need to build is this: Discovering, and fulfilling, my personal ministry."

I too am not committed to a wife, girlfriend, fiance or family. I have some time to rediscover my personal ministry and fulfill it. I hope I can become better at comforting those that stand in need of comfort and mourning with those that mourn. I hope I can do better at not burdening those who are not in need of burdens.


  1. Interesting that you throw in that last comment there - because I have to say, as much as it seems like this shouldn't be the case, marriage has actually really thrown me out of my nice tidy little scripture-and-journal groove. Well, marriage combined with events leading up to my marriage, which tried and bruised my faith in ways that I am still residually struggling with. But - I just think that the total upheaval of routine by adding another person into your life... makes it harder. Which adds more strength to my feeling that a solid foundation is best built before marriage as much as possible.

    That said, I sympathize with you in your off-path rut. I have been off and on all year, and it is frustrating.

  2. I meant no dig. I just liked how you stated that in your post. I have no one to care for so I have no excuse not to better my personal ministry. I think that's pretty simple. I bet adding someone else to the mix does shake things up. I think that is why my personal ministry should be reactivated now - because it will be even harder once I get a better half.

  3. Oh, I know you didn't mean a dig - I really did just mean it was interesting that you put that quote in there. I had forgotten that I wrote that, and now being as it were "on the other side" it strikes me that it was a lot truer than I realized at the time. So I just thought I'd comment.

  4. Your comment here is interesting to me. You were bulding an Ark and waiting for the rain. You were so focussed on the ark and the rain that you didn't understand the voyage, maybe. It's great to get the animals 2 by 2, but feeding them and caring for them on the journey has distracted from other stuff. While you were building the ark and waiting for the rain - you could plan your own schedule. However...now you have chores and others that rely on you and it is cutting into your set schedule of scripture and journal study. Interesting.