Elder Wong, in this last General Conference, shared the New Testament story of the man stricken with palsy, who was borne on the shoulders of four people to the Savior. When they could not enter because of the crowds, with determination they hoisted the man to the roof, cut a hole in the roof, and lowered him down so he could be healed. Jesus, seeing their faith, healed the man and forgave his sins.
We are invited by Elder Wong to imagine this story in a modern church setting. One of the people bearing the sick man is a Relief Society sister, another a young man from the ward, another the Elders’ Quorum president, and finally a full-time missionary. (Although in Elder Wong’s version the missionary was a man, we might just as well envision a woman in this role).
The modern imagery imposed on this ancient tale is stunning. It is the story of our cooperative ministry. “In order to assist the Savior, we have to work together in unity and in harmony. Everyone, every position, and every calling is important. We have to be united in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Each of the four people had a specific and crucial role to fill in the healing of their sick brother. They literally had to bear the burden together, hoist together, lower together, to bring him finally to the Savior.
But as we learn how to pull together, let’s not forget the man stricken with palsy. He — every weak and seeking brother or sister — is the reason that any of this matters. For their sakes, we must accept the insight and skills that every woman or man brings to the table. For their sakes, we must lay aside pride and preconceptions, and invite everyone to lift the litter, believing in our cooperative strength.
- What role do you see yourself playing in Elder Wong’s story?
- What elements of our church community or culture keep us from cooperation?
- What kind of environment supports cooperation? How can you cultivate it in your ward or family?
- Share stories of cooperative ministry from your ward or stake here, and read others’ stories here.