It was my first week in a BYU singles ward and I was called as Elders Quorum President. First item of business: fill all the callings.
All the leaders gathered in the bishop’s house for some snacks and then the party began.
Each calling was put up on the board, and one by one we went around and picked people for each calling until everyone had a calling.
After another night for prayer, some minor tweaks were made and then it was settled. So it was that in a matter of two days, all the callings were filled.
I learned something from this experience that has proven true throughout the last 10 years of callings and that many Church leaders agree has been their experience as well.
There are three potential reasons you have the calling you do: to help, to learn, or simply to do.
1. You need to help someone (or many people).
This is the one that we normally think of when we consider the reason we have our calling, our ministering list, or even our mission call.
"There is someone that we have to help," we think to ourselves.
Honestly, this is probably the biggest and most important reason that we have callings. There is good that won’t get done if we don’t do it. There are people only we can touch or reach out to because of our unique experiences and abilities. There is a job that only we can accomplish in the way that we must.
I can think of many people who have blessed me personally because of their calling—people who were put in specific callings to help me personally, such as bishops, ministering companions, etc., and I am eternally indebted to them.
2. You need to learn something.
This is how I feel when I go to a new ward and get the same calling again…or again…and especially again.
But truly, there are some callings we need to help our spiritual progress.
By really putting your heart into your calling, even if it doesn’t change someone’s life, per se, if you let it, every calling can change your life. Maybe it’s learning how to get along with a variety of personalities or teaching yourself how to conduct music or simply expanding a skill you already have.
Magnify your calling and certainly, the Lord will magnify you.
3. The job just needs to be done.
That’s right. This is one I want to spend a little more time on because it’s one we usually dismiss.
In this situation, it isn’t that your destiny prepared you for that calling to change anyone’s life. It isn’t even that your life will be changed as a result of a lesson forged by fulfilling your calling. Sometimes, it is just something that needs to get done.
I’ve heard of Primary teachers who have had a profound impact, and I know some have had a big impact on me, but two months after we moved out of the ward, I doubt our Primary kids even remembered my name. My job in that short time was to make sure those kids liked coming to church, felt loved, and—between story time and snacks—maybe learn something about Jesus. In my personal opinion, that particular calling at that particular time wasn’t to change their lives or mine but to watch the kids so their parents could have a chance to worship. Anyone could have done it, we happened to plug the hole for the few months we did.
Again, Primary teachers can and do have a significant impact, but pick any calling—building coordinator, greeter, bulletin writer, Sunday School teacher—sometimes stuff needs to get done “and as it happened, it was [your] lot” to do it (Alma 20:30).
Now let me be clear, there is absolutely revelation that goes into callings, but at times, the Lord lets us make our own choices, knowing that if it doesn’t fall into category 1 or 2, our agency and rational thought will do just fine in helping us fulfill a job that needs to be done.
There are even situations where there is simply nobody else available to fulfill a calling, such as when I was called as an Elders Quorum President on my mission. So how high up does the calling have to go to be truly an edict from God? I don’t know. But I do know that if you put your whole heart and soul into a calling and didn’t feel like you really blessed anyone or that your life was significantly changed, worry not—you might have been the keeper until someone else needs the calling.
And good for you in keeping everything in working order. You did the job that needed to be done.