What’s a “calling” mean to you?
As a Mormon, to me it means accepting an assignment from church leaders to serve others. I know my leaders have pondered and discussed and prayed before asking me to serve. After saying Yes, I have the responsibility to kneel and to find out for myself that such a calling is from God. Because I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I want to magnify my calling.
Magnifying my calling is less concerned with what I do as I serve others and more concerned with how or why I serve others.
For example, I had a friend in college who moved into our congregation and immediately accepted a calling to lead the music in church each Sunday. Kathy was a recent convert to the Church of Jesus Christ, and she felt the calling was inspired of God. She gathered her roommates around her, told them of the new calling, and explained that she was terrified, as she had no musical experience whatsoever. They rallied around her, practiced singing and leading hymns in their living room over and over and over, for weeks on end, until she was comfortable directing the congregational music on her own.
I remember that first Sunday when Kathy stood before the congregation. Her fear was clear in every movement. With her hands, she deftly directed a perfect 3/4 meter in a little tiny triangular pattern, moving her hands about four inches from top of pattern to bottom. Her roommates ran up to her afterwards and all gave her a big hug. Weeks later, in our next testimony meeting, Kathy bore witness to how she had grown by accepting this calling and how she felt it was inspired of God. Then, the member of the bishopric who had issued the calling to her stood to explain that congregation leaders had been misinformed about her musical experience, were surprised to discover otherwise, and were pleased by Kathy’s willingness to serve in any capacity and by her roommates’ willingness to assist. As Kathy’s musical confidence grew over the next few months, the pattern of her musical direction grew to a more normal size. During those months, I remember seeing some of her roommates with tears streaming down their smiling faces as they watched Kathy’s trembling hands. We all watched as Kathy’s face smiled more and as her countenance glowed more each week as she stood before us. This calling had little to do with the knowledge of man and much to do with the knowledge of God. Kathy’s willingness to submit and to say Yes, to take initiative to educate herself, to learn new skills outside of her comfort zone, inspired us all.
Again, callings are less concerned with what we do as we serve others and more concerned with how or why we serve others. Kathy is proof. I’m glad there are so many Kathy’s in the world.
——– End of Post ——–
1. Watch, listen, or read Elder Dallin H. Oaks as he speaks to the general membership of the Church as one of the twelve apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ in his address, entitled “Why Do We Serve?” (Length: 19:47.)
2. Watch, listen, or read the address of Elder M. Russell Ballard on showing our love and appreciation for the Savior’s atoning sacrifice through our simple, compassionate acts of service, entitled “Finding Joy through Loving Service.” (Length: 15:03.)
3. Watch, listen, or read Elder Derek A. Cuthbert in his beloved address, entitled “The Spirituality of Service.” (Length: 9:35.) It was a landmark address, quoted for years afterwards, particularly: “Over the years, many people, especially youth, have asked me, ‘Elder Cuthbert, how can I become more spiritual?’ My reply has always been the same: ‘You need to give more service.’ ”
4. Watch, listen, or read the wonderfully inspired words of President Barbara B. Smith, entitled “She Stretcheth Out Her Hand to the Poor.” (Length: 9:54.)
5. Watch, listen, or read President Thomas S. Monson as he describes, “The Service That Counts.” (Length: 22:26.)
6. Watch, listen, or read the address of Elder Dallin H. Oaks on how our Savior teaches us to follow Him by making the sacrifices necessary to lose ourselves in unselfish service to others, entitled “Unselfish Service.” (Length: 17:19.)
——– End of Bonus Material ——–
WebCredits—List of web resources used in this post but not explicitly credited above:
- Photo, “We’re Responsible To Know For Ourselves”—www. lds.org/media-library/images/prayer?lang=eng
- Photo, “Conducting Music At Church”—www. lds.org/media-library/images/music?lang=eng
- Photo, “Having Learned For Ourselves, We’re Responsible To Help Others Know”—www. lds.org/media-library/images/education/spiritual?lang=eng
- Photo, “Studying To Learn”—www. lds.org/media-library/images/education/miscellaneous?lang=eng
——– End of WebCredits ——–