For the benefit of those not in class yesterday, lesson highlights comprise my post for this week. If you haven’t yet read President Uchtdorf’s address, or you need a refresher, take a moment to get familiar.
People over programs
For many Latter-day Saints, Church activity means rote motions involving programs. That’s especially true with singles. Too many singles committees restrict their function to planning activities. As I’ve posted previously, falling to minister to individuals often yields low attendance.
Why do we singles attend activities? To advance our own agenda? For some personal advantage? Or are we consciously choosing to seek opportunities to minister to other singles?
Perhaps that’s why this section from President Uchtdorf’s address really resonated with me.
This temptation to appear better than we are is found not just in our personal lives but can be found in our Church assignments as well.
I love that the first example recipient of service is a single adult! How I wish local leaders would embrace that spirit and stop merely checking off boxes on their to-do lists! How I wish they would minister to individual singles!
And that brought me to the crux of my lesson yesterday. We singles can sit and decry how our leaders and the other married members of our wards and stakes aren’t doing enough to make us feel included. We can complain how they continually refuse to reach out to us and minister to us effectively. But we can’t expect our leaders to do for us what we refuse to do for ourselves.
Surrender to love
President Uchtdorf invoked the idea of a personal interview with the Savior. Instead of asking after numbers and programs, he envisions Christ asking after our hearts and the people under our care. I love how President Uchtdorf mentioned three special items:
1. How we love and minister to those in our care
Regardless of our situation, we all have people in our lives to love. Whether it be a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, or simply another single, we all have someone we can love. When was the last time you ministered to such a person?
2. How we show our love to our spouses and family
While we singles don’t have our own families according to the ideal modern-day prophets and apostles promote, we are members of wards and stakes. When did you last show love to one of them? If it was before yesterday, it’s been too long.
3. How we lighten their daily load
Feeling loved is a basic human need. So yes, the married members of our wards and stakes should include us singles more. But wallowing in complaints that they aren’t isn’t very productive. Taking the initiative to lead by example and minister to them is.
President Uchtdorf continued
Whether your testimony is thriving and healthy or your activity in the Church more closely resembles a Potemkin village, the good news is that you can build on whatever strength you have. Here in the Church of Jesus Christ you can mature spiritually and draw closer to the Savior by applying gospel principles day by day.
Isn’t that what we all ultimately want? The scriptures commonly use hunger and thirst as metaphors for desire. Thus, God promises we’ll have no more desires. And that’s because He’ll fill them all.
God will correct every injustice in our lives and cater every deficiency. He will make up the difference because He is the difference in every joyful, meaningful life. And that’s the life every one of us can have when we exercise the power of conscious choice.
Ministry of service
Theoretically, the Church should be a place of healing, just as President Uchtdorf described. For many singles, however, attending church only picks at the scabs of old wounds, if not provide fresh ones. It’s easy to feel marginalized when the culture focuses on what you don’t have.
Again, we could point to what others aren’t but should be doing. Or we could embrace a ministry of service to the very people who should be ministering to us. Others may act in ways that leave our needs — even our basic human needs — unmet. But what matters more is that we minister to the needs of others.
Simple, private service is often most effective. As President Uchtdorf noted, the Savior served this way.
The greatest, most capable, most accomplished man who ever walked this earth was also the most humble. He performed some of His most impressive service in private moments, with only a few observers, whom He asked to “tell no man” what He had done. When someone called Him “good,” He quickly deflected the compliment, insisting that only God is truly good. Clearly the praise of the world meant nothing to Him; His single purpose was to serve His Father and “do always those things that please him.” We would do well to follow the example of our Master.
What will you do to follow the Savior’s example in serving others? Happiness comes not from doing the right things, but from giving your all to the right things. When you make that conscious choice, you can access all the joy that God wants you to have here and now.
So what are you waiting for? What private moment will you take today to love someone in your life?
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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