The Ministry of the Saviour and Us

Area Leadership Message

Elder Massimo de Feo
Elder Massimo de Feo First Counselor, Europe Area Presidency

At Christmas time we celebrate the birth of the Saviour, we think of Him, we adore Him, we worship Him, and we ponder about what He did for us. Then when Easter comes, we remember Him again, we feel eternal gratitude for his Atonement, and we happily and reverently celebrate His resurrection.

As we think of the single events of the Saviour’s life, how do we focus more deeply on what happened between those most sacred events, his birth and death? How do we celebrate his life, day in and day out, beyond just celebrating the single events that characterized the beginning and the end of his sacred mission on earth?

In his sermon to the Nephites, He taught: “…ye know the things that ye must do…; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do…”[1]

The only true way to celebrate Christ is to follow Him in the ministry, day after day, not only at Christmas or Easter.

As I learn more about the Saviour’s ministry and try to emulate him, I find that the three most important elements of his ministry are: how He loved; how He served; and how He endured.

Loving others is the beginning of our ministry as it was the beginning of the Saviour’s ministry.  He came because He loved us and loved the Father more than Himself.  Therefore, we show our love for the Saviour and celebrate His ministry when we minister to all children of God with love, not because we have received an assignment as ‘ministering brothers and sisters’, but because we sincerely love others as He did.  We don’t minister by assignment, but by love.

Serving in the kingdom is a crucial element of our ministry to establish the Church, administer the ordinances of the gospel, and allow all children of God to return to Him.  The Saviour served tirelessly in the kingdom that He organized, through the authority of the priesthood, showing how important it is to serve in the church.  Serving is the heart of our ministry as it was the core of the Saviour’s ministry. He started with the ordinance of baptism to fulfil the covenant through the proper authority, and then called His disciples to the ministry to serve tirelessly until the end, to establish the kingdom of God on earth.

Enduring to the end is the element of our ministry that ultimately shows our true faith. The Lord never quit, He never stopped, He never withdrew, or refused to serve.  Of course, even the Saviour had his ‘moments' when He felt alone or abandoned by all around him. He was tempted but resisted. He became unpopular, mocked, and was insulted, but never stopped focusing on His eternal mission and never asked to be released from His sacred assignment. He gave to the Father the true sign of His faith by enduring to the end.  Only then did He say: ‘It is finished...’[2]

How will we show our faith when we are tempted, tired, or mocked? When the influences of the world shake our lives, or when we are confronted with the storms of illnesses or emotional or temporal difficulties, will our faith keep us strong? Will we endure like the Saviour?

Pres. Russell M. Nelson said: “A commitment to endure to the end means that we will not ask for a release from a call to serve.  It means that we will persevere in pursuit of a worthy goal.  It means that we will never, no never, give up on a loved one who has strayed.  And it means that we will always cherish our eternal relationships, even through difficult days of disease, disability, or death.”[3]

As we try to emulate the Saviour’s ministry we will find power for our lives.  As we love, serve and endure as He did, we will draw the power of the Saviour himself into our lives.

As we minister as He did, His birth, death, and resurrection will become more meaningful to us. We will come to realize that Christmas and Easter are not a one-day commemoration, but an every-day celebration of the life of the Saviour. 

Every day will be a new spiritual birth for us, even a new spiritual resurrection, as our “natural man”, dies to be born and live again in Christ.

May we celebrate Christmas by following Him in His sacred ministry, to become more and more like Him, every day of our life, one day at a time.

[1] 3 Nephi 27:21

[2] John 19:30

[3] Russel M. Nelson – Gratitude for the Mission and Ministry of Jesus Christ – BYU Devotional August 18, 1998