Many of my quotes and ideas were taken from two talks: Magnify your calling by Gordon B. Hinckley and “Your calling: Joy or Drudgery?” by Larry Hiller. They are both wonderful, and if you ever get the chance I would highly suggest reading them.
What does it mean to magnify your calling and why should we do it??
“That word magnify is interesting. As I interpret it, it means to enlarge, to make more clear, to bring closer, and to strengthen.”
To enlarge: to make something bigger than it was.
To make more clear: to define it
To bring closer: to bring your calling closer to the ward (or to your heart)
To strengthen: to make stronger
Rather than define all of these further, I have an example of someone who I believed really magnified their calling. In my ward over spring, we had committees, and our activities committee had just been cut (as all had) to allow other auxiliaries to take it’s place. Well there was a girl named Sarah who was co-chair of friendship committee and decided that it was really important to have regular ward activities. Friendship committee in the past had been mostly only in charge of “Nice Notes” at ward prayer, and had not done much else. Sarah decided that activities would be a great way to strengthen friendships within our ward, and boy did she go for it. We had barBQs and ice blocking, and movie nights all spring semester long. She enlarged her calling and made it something bigger than it had been before, she made it more clear and clearly defined new ways to be a friendship cochair, brought it closer to both her and the members of the ward, and strengthened the calling and meaning of being on the friendship committee.
Why should we do this? Why should we magnify our calling?
“And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence.”
If you are the kind of person that needs incentives to do what you should sometimes (although I know nobody in here is that kind of person, right) I mean, we do homework because we should, not for the incentive of a good grade…… but IF YOU DID, here it is, if you don’t do your responsibility, you will answer the sins of the people on your heads.
Now in this talk, some of it is directed at the priesthood, but for our purposes today I will talk about it in terms of callings.
“Each of us is responsible for the welfare and the growth and development of others. We do not live only unto ourselves. If we are to magnify our callings, we cannot live only unto ourselves. As we serve with diligence, as we teach with faith and testimony, as we lift and strengthen and build convictions of righteousness in those whose lives we touch, we magnify our (callings). To live only unto ourselves, on the other hand, to serve grudgingly, to give less than our best effort to our duty…just as looking through the wrong lenses of binoculars reduces the image and makes more distant the object.”
“We magnify our priesthood and enlarge our calling when we serve with diligence and enthusiasm in those responsibilities to which we are called by proper authority. I emphasize the words, “diligence” and “enthusiasm.” This work has not reached its present stature through indifference on the part of those who have labored in its behalf. The Lord needs men, both young and old, who will carry the banners of His kingdom with positive strength and determined purpose.”
How do we do this? How do we enlarge the power of the priesthood with which we have been endowed? We do it when we teach true and sound doctrine. The Lord has said: “And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.” ( D&C 88:77.)
We diminish that calling, we shrink that mission when we spend our time speculating about or advocating that which is not set forth in the scripture or that which is not espoused by the prophet of the Lord. Rather, ours is the responsibility, as set forth in revelation, “to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come;”
BUT SOMETIMES ITS HARD!
To teach doctrine, to prepare the saints for the hour of judgement, to seal up testimony. How do we do this when our calling feels so insignificant? Or when we feel insignificant for our calling? One word: facilitate. We are not here to teach people. They already know. Whether we pass out hymn books so that the spirit need not be interrupted as people panic and realize they don’t have a hymn book, or you facilitate a classroom environment in which the spirit can be felt.
I have been on both ends of the spectrum…. (story of gospel doctrine teacher, first counselor in the relief society, and hymn book passer-outer/collector)
Maybe through that calling there is a new friend to be made, or a part of your testimony that needs some strengthening, or maybe it has nothing to do with you at all. There are people and hearts that only you can reach and touch. You never know what the Lord has in store for you when He gives you a calling.
So what are those Two different reasons for not magnifying your calling. Fear vs. Pride Fear and pride I often think of as conflicting emotions, but in many cases their effect is the same. When we are given callings we are often prone to feel one of these two emotions. Sometimes we may think a calling is above us. We have fear that we can’t do it, even when we know the Lord called us, and He knows full well our capabilities.
What makes it hard?
These are the words of a bishop from a talk I mentioned above. “It seems to me that the Lord not only desires that we serve in his kingdom but that we do so willingly and joyfully. Yet, as a bishop, I have watched some people accept callings hesitantly, because they felt it was their duty, and then fulfill those callings in the same way—hesitantly and without much satisfaction. Still others also accept callings with some hesitation or trepidation, but become successful and happy. And in both cases our bishopric has given prayerful and careful consideration to the callings and has felt that our choices were confirmed by the Spirit.
So what makes the difference? Why is it that some people seem to be happy and successful in their Church calling, no matter what it is? Do they just happen to be special types who are more gifted and able than most? Or are there principles and techniques anyone can use to find more joy and success in a Church calling?”
Nobody is perfect, and we all have our fears and insecurities.
How can you magnify your calling?
1. Be open-minded about the calling, about yourself, and about those whom you are called to work with and serve. 2. Learn to love those whom you are called to serve. This relates closely with being open-minded about people. We must love others not only because it is the second great commandment, but because love turns duty into joyful service and because you will never touch someone’s heart until you love him and he senses it.
We each have a calling where this exact principle comes into play. We must not think of our calling as purely what committee the bishop has called us to be on. In ways of responsibility, each of us has exactly the same amount in ways of visiting teaching and home teaching. Those are callings too, and often the most important. As said above, “you will never touch someone’s heart until you love him and he senses it”. 3. Learn your duty and then do it. In the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord states: “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.” ( D&C 107:99; italics added.) Sometimes we have a tendency to say to the Lord, “Help me enjoy this job and then I’ll do it” when we should be praying for help in doing it well so that we can enjoy it.
I remember having two distinctly different kinds of seminary teachers in high school. One was Sister B. Sister B started being a seminary teacher to keep her son that was near our age under control. She was a little quirky, and the kind that immature high school boys often made rude remarks about. But what I remember about her are all the things I learned. I remember being fascinated at her knowledge of the scriptures and always impressed at how prepared she was at 6am. When she was released, we got a new teacher. Brother W. Brother W was awesome, and we all loved him as a person, but he did not “learn his duty and do it” as the talk tells us. We hardly ever prepared a lesson and sometimes would not show up and tell us to let him know who was there. Brother W was young and fun, and I’m sure he thought he was letting us have a grand old time (which we were at the time), but I look back on my last year of seminary and I can find hardly any value in the way we spent our time.
Sister B. was doing her duty, she was preparing us with a gospel foundation for our missions and lives. I will forever remember that about her. Brother W was having fun, but certainly did not understand his duty in his calling. High School is not an easy time, and I will forever be grateful to a seminary teacher who understood her duty and taught us the doctrines of the gospel. 4. Gain a greater understanding. Strive to see all the ways your calling contributes to the building of the kingdom and to the building of people. It will make you realize the importance and purpose of your calling.
Each calling is important in it’s own way. If not, they would not be here. Brothers and Sisters, I know Heavenly Father is mindful of us. I know He knows your name and mine, and that He, through the discernment of our Bishopric, will place us exactly where we need to be. If we magnify our calling, we will understand why He placed us there.