A couple of Sundays ago I was looking around at the other members of Ward Council and marveled at how strong and capable each one was. I felt honored to work with them, and inspired to bring my best game. I also reflected on other callings I knew each of them had had. And suddenly it hit me that this gigantic, amazing church is run by people who often have no professional training in the jobs they’re doing. Christ designed this church to function perfectly, utilizing the very imperfect people Elder Holland spoke about in Conference-us!
A Ward Clerk could be a salesman, or a teacher. A Young Men’s President could be a construction worker or a surgeon. A Ward Mission Leader could be an artist or a computer programmer. In short, nobody comes into their calling with a Ph.D. in Getting Along or Following Through or Sacrificing. We simply agree to roll up our sleeves, follow the handbook, and love those we serve.
No calling is outside your skill set. Instead, these jobs require traits every one of us can muster: Willingness, Faith, and Hard Work. The Nursery Leader today can be the Stake Relief Society President tomorrow. The Librarian can become an Emergency Preparedness Specialist. The Bishop can be the Scoutmaster. The Elder’s Quorum President can be called to the High Council. A Primary Pianist can become Young Women’s President. As long as we’re willing, we can switch places and plug into new assignments with every hope of success.
Church leaders urge us to accept callings in faith, not bow out in fear (obviously there are exceptions, such as an impending move, a divorce, or a difficult pregnancy that would prevent someone from serving). But when callings are extended, we should understand that these positions are prayed about. Leaders have felt inspired and directed by the Lord, to ask you, personally, to perform those duties.
Neal A. Maxwell once said, in his famously eloquent way, “God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only about our availability, and if we then prove our dependability, he will increase our capability.”
How many times have you gulped with fear when given a calling that seemed beyond your abilities? And then, how many times have you marveled that God helped you in your weakness, answered your prayers, and showed you how to fill those shoes after all? It happens every hour of every day.
Sometimes we hear callings described as “hard” or “easy,” but in truth every calling is hard if you do it right. Every calling requires your dedication, time, and talents. The amount of your heart that you consecrate to your calling should always be the same, the devotion to fulfilling your assignment always unobstructed. How valiantly we serve is usually a constant, regardless of our calling. It’s a little like being punctual. People who are on time are usually on time to everything, not late to some things and early to more important things. It’s a standard they keep. And how hard we work within our stewardship is a similar personal standard of excellence.
So every calling is do-able. People with initial doubts filled that spot before you, and they will fill it after you’ve been called to another one. And everyone will worry at first and hope they do well. And everyone will pray, research, dig in, and discover that the Lord helps us just as Elder Maxwell described. We need no special training. We just need to give the Lord our whole-hearted effort.
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