Now when I get asked to have a calling I tell the person asking all the reasons that I think would make a difference in my taking the calling (time, skill, temperament) and let the person making the calling see if that is what they are willing to work with. If he still wants to extend the calling, I ask that when they set me apart that they put the blessing in to cover all my concerns.
I was asked to be the nursery leader many years ago and told the bishop that I really did not like small children and I had a hard time with my own when they were that age. He did not extend the call. Now I think if I was called to nursery I would do great. I have mellowed over the years.
When the calling came for teaching seminary I told the stake person that I work full-time and travel a lot. He said, “Okay. Do your best.” So when he set me apart he added the help that since I had previously taught seminary that I would remember the lessons from the past, be able to feel the spirit and that the prep time would not be an issue with all of my other duties as a busy executive. And you know that blessing has been a “blessing” as I have been able to teach and have a great class.
Thanks for sharing your experiences, HL. As we can see, every case is different – even when it’s callings issued to the same individual.
I have been in the position that Pam talks about. In one case I do not think I really got the calling "right" and I was not there very long. In another I was finally able to turn my heart to the calling and learn what I needed to know. Although I think I could have done a better job at it, I also think I learned things I never would have otherwise.
Elder Maxwell said, “Whom the Lord calls. He qualifies.” I believe that the Lord knows more about us than we know ourselves, and that He knows whether or not we are capable of whatever it is He is asking us to do. If we do not have the appropriate skills needed at the time, He will enable us to learn what it is we need to know.
Thanks for reminding us of Elder Maxwell’s quote, Becoming. That’s something I lean on all the time. What a wonderful promise!
This is my mother's lesson in declining a calling.
My mother had the same question given to her. She was asked to fulfill a job in the Church for the summer months. She declined, saying she was too busy with young children.
Shortly after declining she was taken sick with rheumatoid arthritis. It left her bedridden for the whole summer months. My father had to lift her to and from bed to table, toilet and car to see the doctor. After the summer months were over she got better.
She told the Lord that she would never decline another calling in the Church again, and she kept that promise. She said that she did not do what she was going to do for the summer any way. She could have been serving the Lord, she said.
Now that’s a powerful lesson, Darrel! Thanks for sharing it.
We have often heard the phrase, "Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies."
I have noticed lately that some of the women called to be the chorister in my ward Relief Society have absolutely no idea how to lead music, so I keep my eyes on the hymn book and don't watch the chorister.
One woman who was recently called admitted to me that she knows nothing at all about music or how to lead. I told her I would be willing to help her to learn, but so far she has not contacted me. But the last time she led the singing, I noticed she was getting better. So perhaps the phrase is true.
After all, if we believe the bishop is inspired in his callings, then we should believe the Lord wants us to have the callings we are given. Perhaps if people don't feel comfortable accepting a calling, they should pray about it before accepting or declining. Or maybe they could ask the bishop if he felt inspired to give this call or was he just going from a list of people that didn't have callings yet.
Sometimes bishops don't use the power of inspiration that is given them. I believe my bishop is an inspired man, but I was recently called to be the ward choir accompanist. I believe I was called because I had been doing it already for a couple of months as there was no one else who would do it. But we need to remember that we are often given callings that may be out of our comfort zone or area of expertise because they Lord wants us to learn something new and to expand our horizons.
That said, I'd have to think twice and pray really hard before I would accept a calling in Primary!
Salt Lake City
I’d be scared out of my mind to accept a calling in the Primary, Sharee. Of course, I used to say the same thing about Young Women, and I love it there. Once we get out of our comfort zones, we can sometimes find ourselves getting comfortable anyway.
Several years ago, my bishop told me, “The Lord wants you to serve in Primary and be a spiritual influence." He then called me to be the pianist. When I asked how I could meet the Lord's expectations from a piano bench, he acknowledged that he didn't know. He just knew that is where the Lord wanted me to be. Since he phrased the call as he did, I accepted, with great reservations.
It took five minutes in our Primary to see that the children were not being taught reverence and weren't expected to behave in a reverent manner. There was little I could do, except intervene when the behavior became too outrageous, and the teacher was oblivious. After a year and a half, I asked to be released. I was disappointed he didn't call me to a position where I could have made a difference.