It’s funny how this word has been popping up so often in my scripture study this year. I mean the word has been there all along but I just started noticing it. And I’m thrilled.
A long time ago somebody said to me something like, “In this church we don’t aspire to callings.” I know that technically this is true. Every calling is needed and necessary in the church to help move the work forward. We all are serving each other no matter what title we are currently going by at church. But I think this direction has been misunderstood. And I’m coming to a new understanding now as we study the Doctrine and Covenants.
We are currently in Chapters 18 and 19 and several times over the last 19 sections the Lord has said to a person that if you desire to do the work then you are called. Of course I understand that if I desire to be a relief society teacher I can’t just go in there and start teaching and take away the assignment from the one in place but I can feel like it isn’t wrong to want to serve in Relief Society and I can pray for that opportunity. The wrongness comes if I want a position or title because it will make me feel superior to others. That a desire to serve in a certain capacity is good.
In 1 Timothy3 it says
1 This is a true asaying, If a man desire the office of a bbishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be ablameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, bsober, of good behaviour, given to chospitality, apt to dteach;
3 Not given to awine, no bstriker, not greedy of cfilthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that aruleth well his own bhouse, having his cchildren in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to arule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a anovice, lest being lifted up with bpride he fall into the ccondemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good areport of them which are bwithout; lest he fall into reproach and the csnare of the deSo
So here is Timothy saying that it’s ok to have the desire to hold a certain office. To desire to serve in a certain way. But then he talks about how to get yourself ready for the call when it comes. Like dressing for the job that you want.
A long time ago…maybe seven years, I had a feeling and it felt good. I felt like I was going to be the Relief Society President. And I was excited. It was an opportunity that I wanted. A few months later the Bishop called me into his office and I was ready! And he said, “Beth, we would like to call you to be the compassionate service leader in our ward.” For a second I sat there confused, wondering if the feeling I had had was incorrect. Wondering if I was not hearing the Spirit like I thought I had. So I said absolutely I would be happy to do it and I got set apart that next Sunday and went along. Still wondering though what that whole feeling was about.
You know how you have a thought and it’s a good idea but you don’t write it down because it’s so good you’ll remember and then within 30 minutes you can’t remember that good idea? Happens to me all the time. But the feeling that I would be Relief Society never went away. And a little over 2 years from the first inkling I was called to be the Relief Society President. The compassionate service leader position was preparatory. And it was a great experience.
Now I’m going to tell you that I have a desire for a calling right now. It’s a calling that will probably never happen because there are so few people called to do it. But because of the scripture I’m studying I don’t feel badly about having the desire. I can look at what the women in that position are called to do and I can serve in a similar way. I can do what they are doing on a larger scale and help in my small sphere just the same.
In this church we don’t aspire to callings because we wish to be the boss or to have power over anyone. We do desire to do good works and sometimes those good works can only be done by holding certain positions and sometimes that same service we desire to do can be done on our own initiative.
I am loving the study of the Doctrine and Covenants this year. What a great way to liken the scripture to myself. what a great thing it is to put myself in the shoes of the men and women who were there at the beginning and to look at what God would have them do then and to see how I can apply those things to my own life.
Photo by Michael Held on Unsplash