“Are You Missing This Vital Part of Ministering?” Ensign, October 2019
When we think about ministering, it’s easy to think about helping those in need. We talk about gardening for the widow, bringing dinner to the sick, or giving to those who are struggling. We remember Paul’s counsel to “weep with them that weep,” but do we focus enough on the first part of that verse—to “rejoice with them that do rejoice”? (Romans 12:15). Rejoicing with those we minister to—whether that means celebrating their success or helping them find joy in difficult times—is an important part of ministering as the Savior would.
Here are three ideas that can help (and one to avoid) as we look to focus on the good God puts in our lives.
Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women General President, helps us understand that we need to see those we minister to—see not only their burdens and struggles but also their strengths, talents, and successes. She said that we need to be “a champion and a confidant—someone who is aware of their circumstances and supports them in their hopes and aspirations.”1
In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the Savior said those who would be found on His right hand would ask: “Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in?” (Matthew 25:37–38).
“Brothers and sisters, the key word is saw,” Sister Cordon said. “The righteous saw those in need because they were watching and noticing. We too can be a watchful eye to aid and comfort, to celebrate and even dream.”2
Celebrate successes large or small. It could be getting through cancer or getting through a breakup, finding a new job or finding a lost shoe, surviving a month after the loss of a loved one or surviving a week without sugar.
Call to congratulate, drop off a card, or go out for lunch. By sharing in our blessings together, living with gratitude, and celebrating the blessings and successes of others, we “have rejoicings in the joy of our brethren” (Alma 30:34).
Sometimes rejoicing with others means helping them see reasons to rejoice—no matter what difficulties or delights enter our lives. The simple truth that Heavenly Father is aware of us and ready to uplift us can be an incredible source of joy.
You can help others see the hand of the Lord in their lives by sharing how you have seen it in your own. Be vulnerable enough to share how Heavenly Father has helped you through your challenges. This testimony can help others recognize and acknowledge how He has helped them (see Mosiah 24:14).
Unfortunately, we can sometimes limit our own ability to rejoice with others, particularly when we feel insecure about what we have to offer or where we are in life. Instead of finding joy in another’s happiness, we fall into the trap of comparison. And as Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Comparing blessings is almost certain to drive out joy. We cannot be grateful and envious at the same time.”3
“How can we overcome such a tendency so common in almost everyone?” asked Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “… We can count our many blessings and we can applaud the accomplishments of others. Best of all, we can serve others, the finest exercise for the heart ever prescribed.”4 Instead of comparing, we can compliment those we minister to. Freely share what you appreciate about them or their family members.
As Paul reminds us, we are all members of the body of Christ, and when “one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). With Heavenly Father’s help, we can be aware of others’ experiences, celebrate successes large and small, help them recognize the hand of the Lord, and overcome jealousy so that we may truly rejoice together in the blessings, talents, and happiness of others.