Hey everybody! 🙂
This week has been cool. I went on exchanges with another elder who is currently serving in a Spanish-speaking area, so I got to teach a little bit in Spanish, which was cool! I realized that I know more Spanish than I thought I did… and that I still have a LOT to learn. 🙂
I am honestly a bit at a loss as to what happened this week… there were a couple crazy days in which we were all over the place and I was a bit distracted by everything that was going on. Seems like the closer I get to the end of my mission, the more is happening, and the less time I have to think (or take pictures… sorry Mom). 🙂 But the weeks are never bad; just crazier and crazier.
I had some thoughts yesterday about callings. For those of you who may not know this Church very well, we believe that at baptism, we make a promise to God that we will take the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, upon us; in other words, we will strive to be like Him. He always served, and so we strive to always serve. One of the ways that we do this is through responsibilities that we receive in our congregations. There are many different callings that are necessary to make the Church function the way it was established to; Relief Society presidents, librarians, stake presidents, bishops, Primary teachers, genealogy specialists, etc. All of these callings are from the Lord, and all of them are an opportunity to serve.
I have met so many people (myself included), in my life and on my mission, who choose not to magnify, or even sometimes give minimal effort in, their calling because a) they don’t feel adequate, b) they “don’t have time,” c) they don’t know how, or a thousand other reasons. What I realized yesterday was that, first off, callings are not really a suggestion from the Lord, to be taken if we feel we are capable. A calling is, in effect, the same thing as if the Savior Himself approached us and asked us to fulfill a particular task in His vineyard. How many of us would actually make excuses not to serve when our callings are seen in this light? Another thing I realized is that the Lord’s work is going to get done, whether I serve or not; but my choice not to serve does not come without consequences to myself and others.
In a sled dog team, if one dog chooses to stop pulling, regardless of whether he leads the team or pulls up the rear, the rest of the dogs now have to pull his weight in addition to that of the sled. Every position in the team is important, and if he chooses to stop, he is not only not a positive influence, but provides a negative influence on those around him. There are only two sides in this life; there is no neutral ground. If we are not pulling our weight, we can be very sure that someone, somewhere has to pull that weight, and we will be held accountable for that.
Now. This is not designed to be a scathing chastisement to all of us, seeing as pretty much every single one of us has had moments in our lives when we have not pulled all of our proverbial weight. But the invitation from the Savior to us in our callings, and in all other areas in taking His name upon us, is this:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I used to think that this scripture meant that when life gets rough, we just run to the Lord and throw everything at His feet and He’ll just fix it all and life will be just so very wonderfully empty of struggles. That would be great… except it would defeat the purpose of life. We are here to learn, to grow, and to become like the Savior. How could we think that our callings would be easy for us, when His was never easy for Him? The gospel is not just a salve for the wounded; it is a school, a lifestyle of growth and stretching to be learned and applied. The Savior will give us rest; but not by taking away all of the weight. Instead, He asks us to “take [His] yoke upon [us], and learn of [Him].” He gives us rest by carrying the weight with us, not for us.
So if we don’t have time… let’s make time. If we don’t know how, let’s learn how. If we don’t feel adequate, perfect! Because we aren’t, but He is, and He will build us through our service. The Lord does not only call those who are qualified; rather, He qualifies those He calls.
All of our callings are a sacred responsibility from the Lord. We must remember to treat them as such! As we do so, I know He will support us, and “He will consecrate [our] performance unto [us], that [our] performance may be for the welfare of [our] soul[s].” (2 Nephi 32:9)
Elder Bryan McOmber