“Jesus Came and Stood in the Midst and Ministered Unto Them”

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

While the chosen disciples are ministering to the people and receiving the Holy Ghost, the Savior again appears and instructs them. It is enthralling to think that these people experience the transcendent blessing of being in the presence of our Lord. And yet, the same blessing is extended to all of us in the service of building the kingdom, as the Savior promises in a latter-day revelation: “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). Jesus is our eternal teacher and companion in the service of building the kingdom.

“They Were Encircled About As if It Were by Fire”

Our privilege is to teach the people—in our families and Church callings—and minister to them in love as guided by the Holy Ghost. Ministering to the people of the kingdom of God in accordance with the instructions of the Savior brings about miraculous spiritual blessings for the Saints. The Spirit is bestowed. Light is dispensed. Joy is experienced. Unity is assured. Prayers are given and answered. The people are edified and purified. The essence of the ministry is to lift people up toward a more righteous mode of living so that the Lord might grant His choicest blessings to the obedient and humble children of God.

President Ezra Taft Benson gives this advice on how to serve according to the word of God:

May our message be like Alma instructed the teachers of his day: “He commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets” (Mosiah 18:19). As home teachers, live the kind of lives yourselves that will invite the Spirit. Live the gospel so you can effectively teach it.

Alma further instructs us, “Trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments” (Mosiah 23:14). Therefore, Alma consecrated all the priests and all the teachers, “and none were consecrated except they were just men. Therefore they did watch over their people, and did nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness (See Mosiah 23:17–18.)” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 227)

A Beloved Teacher

President Thomas S. Monson confirms that we are nurtured by the good word of God through inspirational teachers—men and women of God who care, men and women who teach and minister by the Spirit. There is probably no role within the family or in any Church setting that is as powerful as that of a teacher. We have all been blessed by our parents or that friend, coach, or special teacher who has made a difference in our lives. President Monson shares with us this special story that demonstrates the goodness and worth of a beloved teacher:

It was my experience as a small boy to come under the influence of a great teacher, Lucy Gertsch. We met for the first time on a Sunday morning. She accompanied the Sunday School superintendent into the classroom and was presented to us as a teacher who actually requested the opportunity to teach us. We learned that she had been a missionary and loved young people.

“Lucy Gertsch was beautiful, soft-spoken, and interested in us. She asked each class member to introduce himself or herself, and then she asked questions that gave her an understanding and insight into the background of each boy, each girl. She told us of her childhood in Midway, Utah; and as she described that beautiful valley, she made its beauty live, and we desired to visit the green fields and clear streams she loved so much. She never raised her voice. Somehow rudeness and boisterousness were incompatible with the beauty of her lessons. She taught us that the present is here and that we must live in it. She made the scriptures actually come to life. We became personally acquainted with Samuel, David, Jacob, Nephi, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our gospel scholarship grew. Our deportment improved. Our love for Lucy knew no bounds.

In our Sunday School class, she taught us concerning the creation of the world, the fall of Adam, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. She brought to her classroom as honored guests Moses, Joshua, Peter, Thomas, Paul, and even Christ. Though we did not see them, we learned to love, honor, and emulate them.

Never was her teaching so dynamic nor its impact more everlasting than one Sunday morning when she sadly announced to us the passing of a classmate’s mother. We had missed Billy that morning but knew not the reason for his absence. The lesson featured the theme “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Midway through the lesson, our teacher closed the manual and opened our eyes and our ears and our hearts to the glory of God. She asked, “How much money do we have in our class party fund?” Depression days prompted a proud answer: “Four dollars and seventy-five cents.” Then ever so gently she suggested: “Billy’s family is hard-pressed and grief-stricken. What would you think of the possibility of visiting the family members this morning and giving them your fund?”

Ever shall I remember the tiny band walking those three city blocks, entering Billy’s home, greeting him and his brother, sisters, and father. Noticeably absent was his mother. Always I shall treasure the tears that glistened in the eyes of all as the white envelope containing our precious party fund passed from the delicate hand of our teacher to the needy hand of a grief-stricken father. We fairly skipped back to the chapel. Our hearts were lighter than they had ever been, our joy more full, our understanding more profound. A God-inspired teacher had taught her boys and girls an eternal lesson of divine truth. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The years have flown. The old chapel is gone, a victim of industrialization. The boys and girls who learned, who laughed, who grew under the direction of that inspired teacher of truth have never forgotten her love or her lessons. (Inspiring Experiences That Build Faith: From the Life and Ministry of Thomas S. Monson [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994], 211–212)

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2