Whatever your station, you have the call to minister in a “newer, holier” way.
In my congregation at BYU, there is a faithful Relief Society president named Emma. Ever since I met her, I have been impressed with Emma’s tenderness and grace as she has ministered to the sisters under her care. One of my favorite memories of Emma is seeing her look around the chapel immediately after a Sacrament Meeting had finished one Sunday to find someone to serve. She quickly caught the eye of another young lady sitting nearby, and then gave her a compliment and started a conversation.
Recently, as I watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, a shot from the film caught my eye and reminded me of Emma and her personal ministry:
In this scene, a congregation has assembled to worship one Sunday morning and to hear Joseph Smith preach. Just the night before, Joseph was tarred and feathered by an angry mob, and Joseph’s friends were up until the early hours of the morning helping scrape the tar off his skin.
In the frame above, the woman in purple is Emma Smith, Joseph’s wife.
Emma Smith, like my own friend Emma, was the president of the Relief Society in her time. During her life, she endured many persecutions, but she was a faithful disciple and a servant to countless women and men.
In this scene above, Emma Smith is looking down at her lap, undoubtedly feeling discouraged from the events of the night before. Suddenly, however, the woman in the yellow dress sitting next to Emma reaches over and takes her hand. Emma holds on tightly and lifts up her head with newfound strength drawn from this fellow sister.
Who is this woman in the yellow dress?
She could very well be the Emma that I know, because the Emma I know reaches out with charity to minister as the Savior would.
Yes, in a great literary triangle, both of these figures—the wife of the prophet and her unnamed friend—personify my friend Emma.
Similarly, maybe you are a Relief Society or quorum president with a group of people under your care, or perhaps you are an unnamed character, cast by a heavenly Director to play the role of a brother or sister who quietly reaches out in love to minister to those around you.
Whatever your station, you have the call to minister in a “newer, holier” way. May we all take this opportunity to serve like the Savior. May we all have the resolve to be like Emma Smith, like the woman in the yellow dress, or like my own friend Emma, and reach out in love.
While it will be up to us to discover the specifics of how we should minister, it is my testimony that as we do so, our lives will be full of great satisfaction and great joy.