We’re often taught that to hold the priesthood is to be called to minister to God’s children – to teach, to help, to rescue, to lift. Certainly, most “priesthood” duties and assignments are to minister somehow; home teaching is the most universal example. A moment’s reflection informs us that the missions of the Relief Society and the Young Women organization are also to minister, so ministering is not solely the province of priesthood holders.
In Mosiah 18 Alma teaches that ministering is actually a universal assignment. At baptism, and again at the sacrament table, every Church member promises not only “to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people,” but also “to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; . . . to mourn with those that mourn; . . . to comfort those who stand in need of comfort, . . . and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (vv. 8-9). In other words, to minister.
Callings, assignments, and ordinations direct our ministry in some respects, but before any calling, beyond any assignment, and without any ordination, our Christian covenant is to minister to God’s children.