Of Callings and Consecration
By Becky W
“May I meet with you and your husband tonight around 7:30?”
I read the text and my heart dropped. It meant my life was about to change.
One thing that sets The Church of Latter-day Saints apart from other houses of worship is our laymen organization. We are asked to serve on a voluntary basis – from bishop all the way down to a nursery leader. I had been serving as a cub scout den leader – a calling I loved – and this message from my bishopric member could only mean one thing. I was getting a new assignment.
When we are baptized, we make a covenant with the Lord that we will serve in His kingdom wherever he wants us. We promise that we “are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9.) Sometimes, that “place” is in Young Women, our teenage girl organization. Sometimes as the pianist. Sometimes as the ward bulletin specialist. And sometimes as president of the Relief Society, our adult women’s coalition. We call these assignments “callings” – because we truly believe we are “called” of the Lord to serve in each capacity. As such, they are each valued and important positions.
After baptism, the progressive covenant we enter into is made in the temple – the law of consecration. One of our general authorities, Elder Stephen B. Oveson, explained:
In the 1820s, consecrate was defined as “to make or declare to be sacred, by certain ceremonies or rites; to appropriate to sacred uses; to set apart, dedicate, or devote, to the service and worship of God.” Members of the Church today, in living the law of consecration, are expected “to appropriate [themselves] to sacred uses.” Doing so requires them to dedicate their time, talents, and possessions to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its purposes. Perhaps we may never be asked to give all, but our willingness to put everything on the altar is a sign between us and God that we submit to His will in all things. (Emphasis added. Stephen B. Oveson, “Personal Consecration,” Ensign, September 2005.)
Of course, we still have our agency, or ability to choose. When our ecclesiastical leader extends a calling to us, we are allowed to say no! But keeping in mind the covenants we made, that rarely happens.
Over the course of my years in the church, I have had the privilege of serving in many different organizations. I have loved some; others I had a harder time loving! But each time I am amazed at my own personal growth. These callings are meant to stretch us, to push us outside our comfort zones and help us grow. We truly feel that wherever we serve, we are standing in the Lord’s place, and should serve as He would, were he there. As our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, promised, “When we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.” (Thomas S. Monson, “Duty Calls,” Ensign, May 1996.)
Almost every time I receive a new calling, I am filled with trepidation and doubt. Feelings of inadequacy inevitably follow. Yet over time, I grow to love my new responsibility and love the people I serve. And I will be overcome with sadness, yet again, when I get that text … “can I meet with you tonight?”
Rise to Your Call