There is a quote I love from Lord of the Rings: “Such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.”
Sometimes I feel like we have a tendency to express appreciation for a handful of "great" callings in the Church that have a lot of visible work, while countless "small" callings quietly move the work of the gospel forward without much recognition. I first noticed this when I was called as the Relief Society chorister shortly after moving into a new young single adult ward my second year of college. It was a calling I accepted, but I also felt a little discouraged about it because it wasn’t as involved as some of my previous callings had been. I determined to do my best with it though, and ended up enjoying picking songs each week and smiling at those who looked discouraged while I lead the music. Only a few months into this calling, I was shocked to be called as the Relief Society president, and even more shocked to find out that my efforts as a Relief Society chorister had been very much noticed by my Bishop. It wasn't very long before I really started appreciating my previous calling as a chorister and all the “small hands” that helped the ward run smoothly—there are certainly a lot of them:
- Visiting and home teachers visit everyone in the ward, allowing presidencies to focus their attention on struggling ward members and doing missionary work.
- Program coordinators keep everyone informed every week, and door greeters are in the perfect position to give low-pressure, positive attention to visitors and those who are struggling.
- Librarians often sacrifice attending Sunday School, but also end up meeting more ward members than most as people borrow supplies every Sunday.
- Music directors have a unique ability to bring the spirit with the music they choose as well as notice ward members that might need an extra smile.
- Scoutmasters not only wrangle rambunctious 12-year-olds, but they often have more paperwork than we realize to make sure their scouts can enjoy participating in camps and activities.
- Financial clerks sacrifice hours after church to make sure your tithing is properly deposited and recorded and secretaries are key in helping their presidencies stay organized and informed.
- Nursery leaders not only babysit the youngest members of the ward for free, but they also attempt to teach them about the gospel in terms they’ll understand.
Some of our readers also pointed out the hard work of employment and welfare specialists and YSA representatives who aid members with physical needs. Likewise the organists, pianists, and choristers who put in a lot of time practicing or learning songs from the hymn book and Primary Children's Songbook.
All of these often-unrecognized callings have a similar function and importance to the small, hidden cog wheels in the back of a clock that allow all the pieces to function and move the visibile hands of the clock face to move forward. Don’t underestimate the reach and power of your calling—no matter what it is, give it your best effort. The Lord depends on us to complete the smaller tasks so they can work together for a bigger one. And He appreciates any effort you make, even if you feel it goes unnoticed in your ward.
So here’s a great big shout-out of thanks to all those members who quietly, and faithfully, move the cause of the Church forward as they serve in those callings we often take for granted.
Since not every ward has the same callings, we want to hear from you! What are some callings in your ward that deserve an extra shout-out of thanks? Tell us in the comments below.