Moment: Which of Them Needed a Blessing More?

  By Ricke Reed, Church News Contributor

  • 12 December 2013

The resurrected Christ ministers to the people in Jerusalem.

Article Highlights

  • Priesthood blessings are not only for those who may be physically afflicted but also for those who may be poor in spirit.
  • When people suffer, those who love them often suffer vicariously.
  • The Spirit can help us discern the needs of those around us as we minister to others.

“When we minister, may we address not only articulated needs but also others perceived only through the Spirit.” —Ricke Reed, Mount Vernon Washington Stake

Entertaining and insightful, Uncle Earl was everything a nephew could ask for, and time with him was always worth remembering.

As a young Melchizedek Priesthood holder, I was invited to help him give a blessing to one of his old friends, who was facing delicate and dangerous heart surgery.

We were greeted by the bedridden ward member and his deeply concerned wife, who stood nearby.

Being old friends, these two men shared stories and laughed, which lightened the heavy feeling in the room and cheered all of us considerably.

Then my uncle asked, “Can we give you a blessing?”

As requested, I anointed his head, then Earl expressed what flowed into his mind—that this brother’s weakened heart would be healed and all would be well. Hearing that from his friend and bishop, Brother Erickson was now well prepared for whatever would come.

Although it was time to go, Earl grew silent as he pondered the scene before us. Then, looking at Sister Erickson, he asked, “Would you like a blessing too?”

With a sigh, she declared, “Yes, I would!”

Following a blessing of comfort, she too was exuberant, buoyed up by the affirmations of the Spirit.

On the way to the hospital, the two of us had talked light-heartedly, but as we departed, neither one of us wanted to speak.

Finally, my uncle posed a question, “Which of them needed a blessing more?”

I replied, “He is the one having life-threatening surgery.”

Earl countered with, “Yes, but he has doctors, nurses, and specialists to care for him. Who is taking care of her? No one. I think she is the one who needed us more.”

Because of that sublime insight, I have made a point of ministering to not only the sick, but the heartsick, to not only the ill of body, but also the ill of spirit.

When people suffer, those who love them suffer vicariously, and that can take a terrible toll.

When we minister, may we address not only articulated needs but also others perceived only through the Spirit.

—Brother Reed is from the Sedro Woolley Ward, Mount Vernon Washington Stake.