Quotes on Callings
President John Taylor taught, “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.” — Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 20:23; Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1996, p. 43; Thomas S. Monson, “Peace, Be Still,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 55
Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence. All of us in the pursuit of our duty touch the lives of others. . . . “And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father” (D&C 81:6). — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, May 1995, p. 71
As shepherds of the flock, rather than mere managers of Church programs, see to it that the surpassing “why” of it all is not lost sight of. Be good administrators, yes! But let your flock know you and experience you in even more important ways. Then they can give to you that accolade given to deserving leaders anciently: “Our leaders were mighty men in the faith of the Lord” (Jarom 1:7).
In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one takes the place to which one is duly called, which place one neither seeks nor declines. I pledge to President [David O.] McKay and to President [Stephen L.] Richards the full loyal devoted service to the tasks that may come to me to the full measure of my strength and my abilities, and so far as they will enable me to perform them, however inadequate I may be. — President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., General Conference, April 1951
We will be given by the Lord that which we need to be effective and worthy servants in His vineyard and as we receive, we can give and as we give, we will receive more, as He has promised [in 3 Nephi 28:30]. — Stanley A. Peterson, BYU Book of Mormon Symposium, Church News, August 20, 1994, p. 5
Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. — Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365
He, who under the direction of the Father, had created the world and literally could do it all himself, involves others in his ministry. At the time of his crucifixion, he asked his beloved John to care for his mother, Mary, as if she were John’s own mother (see John 19:25-27). During our time, Jesus Christ himself, together with his Father, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and yet Moroni was given the privilege and honor to be his agent in bringing forth the Book of Mormon. This is the Savior’s church, and yet, he has called President Gordon B. Hinckley to preside over us during our day. I certify with gratitude, but also with some hopefully appropriate trepidation, that the Lord has called you and me to represent him in various important ways and duties whether they seem large or small to us. — Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, Jr., Ensign, May 1995, p. 31
It has been said that this church does not necessarily attract great people but more often makes ordinary people great. Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands. — Elder James E. Faust, Ensign, May 1994, p. 4
Do whatever you are asked to do, and do it with a glad heart. Do not worry about office or position in the Church. Simply do whatever your calling requires, and do it with joy and gladness. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, BYU Devotional Address, November 30, 1999; Brigham Young Magazine, Spring 2000, p. 7
No matter who we are — no matter our talents, abilities, financial resources, education or experience — we all can serve in the kingdom. He who calls us will qualify us for the work if we will serve with humility, prayer, diligence and faith. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, April 1996 General Conference
Think of it: “Ordinary men.” At times, we are astonished to realize that the Lord makes use of ordinary people to fulfil His purposes, that He reaches into the rank and file of humanity to call forth humble servants to perform noble works, that He touches the hearts of ordinary men, women and children who testify of Him and, thereby, lead others to Him and in so doing literally change the world. — Viewpoint, Church News, April 15, 2000
We serve as each other’s clinical material in the particular sample of humanity constituting “what is allotted unto [us].” The sample may shrink or swell, but most important is what we are and what we do within those varied allocations and in the particular “work to which [we] have been called” (Alma 29:6).
Thus “the holy present” contains the allotted acres for our discipleship. We need not be situated in prime time with prime visibility in order to work out our own salvation! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Content with the Things Allotted Unto Us,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 73
We can and “ought to be content with the things allotted to us,” being circumstantially content but without being self-satisfied and behaviorally content with ourselves (see 3 Ne. 12:48, 27:27; Matt. 5:48).
Such contentment is more than shoulder-shrugging passivity. It reflects our participative assent rather than uncaring resignation.
The Lord knows our circumstances and the intents of our hearts, and surely the talents and gifts He has given us. He is able to gauge perfectly how we have performed within what is allotted to us, including by lifting up some of the many surrounding hands that hang down. Thus, yearning for expanded opportunities while failing to use those at hand is bad form spiritually.
What we could and have done within our allotted acreage, therefore, is known perfectly by the Master of the vineyard. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Content with the Things Allotted Unto Us,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 74
Confidence depends on your seeing the call for what it is. Your call to serve is not from human beings. It is a trust from God. And the service is not simply to perform a task. Whatever name it has, every call is an opportunity and an obligation to watch over and strengthen the children of our Heavenly Father. The Savior’s work is to bring to pass their immortality and eternal life (see Moses 1:39). He called us to serve others so that we could strengthen our own faith as well as theirs. He knows that by serving Him we will come to know Him. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Watch Over and Strengthen,” Ensign, May 2000, p. 66
Any call to serve . . . is a call to serve Him. . . .
Whenever the invitation to serve comes, take it. It brings with it help to pass tests far beyond those of that call. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “We have trials,” Church News, April 10, 2004, p. 6
Whatever our calling, regardless of our fears or anxieties, let us pray and then go and do. — President Thomas S. Monson, “They Pray and They Go,” Ensign, May 2002, p. 49
You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands. . . . So, your calling is to bless lives. That will be true even in the most ordinary tasks you are assigned and in moments when you might be doing something not apparently connected to your call. Just the way you smile or the way you offer to help someone can build their faith. And should you forget who you are, just the way you speak and the way you behave can destroy faith. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Rise to Your Call,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 76
We should all remember the sound counsel I heard years ago from President Ezra Taft Benson. He mentioned that when it comes to callings in this Church, we should be aware of three things: First, we do not seek for a position. Second, we do not ask for a release. And, third, we are not sad when we are released. — Elder Joe J. Christensen, “The Principle of Presidency,” Ensign, March 2001, p. 20
The Lord can do remarkable miracles with a person of ordinary ability who is humble, faithful, and diligent in serving the Lord and who seeks to improve himself. — President James E. Faust, “On The Edge,” New Era, February 1997, p. 8
When we face seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the fulfillment of righteous responsibilities, we should remember that when we are involved in the work of the Lord, the obstacles before us are never as great as the power behind us. We should reach out and climb. Handholds will only be found by hands that are outstretched. Footholds are only for feet that are on the move. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Reach Out and Climb!” New Era, August 1985, p. 4
What does it mean to magnify a calling? It means to build it up in dignity and importance, to make it honorable and commendable in the eyes of all men, to enlarge and strengthen it, to let the light of heaven shine through it to the view of other men. And how does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it. . . . (Joseph Smith) — President Thomas S. Monson, Conference Report, British Area Conference 1971, p. 145; Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 183
Some members profess that they would commit themselves with enthusiasm if given some great calling, but they do not find home teaching or visiting teaching worthy of or sufficiently heroic for their sustained effort. — Elder Quentin L. Cook, “Looking Beyond the Mark,” Ensign, March 2003, p. 43
When we sacrifice our talents or our earthly or academic honors or our increasingly limited time on the altar to God, the act of sacrifice binds our hearts to Him, and we feel our love for Him increase.
When we render any service in the kingdom – be it teaching a . . . lesson or dry pack canning at Welfare Square – it will be of much less value to us if we only see it as a “To Do” item. . . . But if we visualize ourselves laying on the altar to God our talents or our time commitment, such as in attending an inconvenient church meeting, then our sacrifice becomes personal and devotional to Him.” (James S. Jardine, “Consecration and Learning,” On Becoming a Disciple-Scholar , 80.) — President James E. Faust, “Some Great Thing,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, p. 48
A story shared by our beloved associate, Elder Henry B. Eyring, illustrates this principle of commitment still further. This story is about his father, the great scientist Henry Eyring, who served on the Bonneville Stake high council. He was responsible for the welfare farm, which included a field of onions that needed to be weeded. At that time, he was nearly 80 and suffering from painful bone cancer. He assigned himself to do weeding even though the pain was so great that he pulled himself along on his stomach with his elbows. The pain was too great for him to kneel. Yet he smiled, laughed, and talked happily with the others who were there that day weeding that field of onions. I now quote what Elder Eyring said of this incident:
“After all the work was finished and the onions were all weeded, someone [said to] him, ‘Henry, good heavens! You didn’t pull those weeds, did you? Those weeds were sprayed two days ago, and they were going to die anyway.’
“Dad just roared. He thought that was the funniest thing. He thought it was a great joke on himself. He had worked through the day in the wrong weeds. They had been sprayed and would have died anyway.
“. . . I [asked] him, “Dad how could you make a joke out of that?’ . . .
“He said something to me that I will never forget. . . . He said, ‘Hal, I wasn’t there for the weeds.’” (Henry B. Eyring, “Waiting Upon the Lord,” 1990-91 BYU Speeches, p. 22) — President James E. Faust, “Some Great Thing,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, p. 48
All my callings have been beyond my grasp, so I’ve had to develop a longer reach. — Elder David B. Haight, Church News, September 7, 2002, p. 10
Though most Latter-day Saints may never be called to do anything as dramatic as calling on a whole city to repent or be destroyed [ like Jonah], we receive numerous calls of our own from the Lord. Sometimes, like Jonah, we seem to run away or at least to escape our responsibility. Consider the following:
- A person who refuses to accept a call in the Primary because she would not be able to attend Relief Society meetings in the consolidated schedule.
- A young man who turns down a mission call so he can accept a scholarship from a university.
- A family who does not hold regular family home evenings.
- A person who gets behind on his bills and does not pay his tithing.
- A young woman too shy to accept a call as a Young Adult Relief Society teacher.
We all receive calls, and sometimes we try to escape them. But we can repent, accept the call, and reap joy in our service. — Old Testament Student Manual, p. 100
Some are not committed and faithful. It has always been so. But this is not without consequence….
If you are delinquent in commitment, please consider whom it is you are refusing or neglecting to serve when you decline a calling or when you accept and promise then fail to fulfill it. — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, General Conference, October 6, 2002
Your call carries grave responsibility. But you need not fear, because with your call come great promises. . . . The Lord will guide you by revelation just as he called you. . . . Just as God called you and will guide you, he will magnify you. There will be times when you will feel overwhelmed. . . . He will send the Holy Ghost to manifest (to others) that what you spoke is true. What you say and do will carry hope and give direction beyond your natural abilities and your own understanding. –– Elder Henry B. Eyring, General Conference, October 6, 2002
After over 16 years as an extraordinarily influential first counselor, the First Presidency was reorganized and J. Reuben Clark was called as second counselor. Offering an example of humility and willingness to serve that has influenced generations, he said to the Church: “In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one takes the place to which one is duly called, which place one neither seeks nor declines” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 154). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 68
“What does it mean to magnify a calling? It means to build it up in dignity and importance, to make it honorable and commendable in the eyes of all men, to enlarge and strengthen it, to let the light of heaven shine through it to the view of other men.
And how does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it. . . .
Remember that this work is not yours and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that the Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it. — President Thomas S. Monson, General Conference, Ensign, May 2005
One way you can measure your value in the kingdom of God is to ask, “How well am I doing in helping others reach their potential? Do I support others in the church, or do I criticize them?”
If you are criticizing others, you are weakening the church. If you are building others, you are building the kingdom of God. As Heavenly Father is kind, we also should be kind to others. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “The Virtue of Kindness, Ensign, May 2005, p. 28
A fascinating thing about joy and love is that when we enlarge our capacity to love, other people become real individuals, not merely functions. Gospel duties cease to be mere routine and become, instead, doors to delight. Every doctrine of the gospel is a door to delight that, when opened, exposes us to a vista of things we have not yet fully comprehended. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Brim with Joy,” BYU Devotional, January 23, 1996
The same jealous spirit is sometimes manifest among the saints when positions and callings are coveted. But John teaches us how to respond to this situation. When another has been called before us, we should act as the friend of the bridegroom, rejoicing greatly in the success of our neighbor.
“Each week in the wards and branches, stakes and districts throughout the world, someone is released from a Church calling and another is sustained to that position. With very few exceptions, that transfer of responsibility occurs without creating a ripple of any kind in the work of the kingdom. . . . President Gordon B. Hinckley said: ‘There is a principle followed in the Church of rotating responsibilities. Inherent in a call to serve is a release, to be expected and welcomed after service well performed.’ None of us should ever think we ‘own’ a Church calling. We are the stewards of that calling for a time, and, then we will be released from it.” — “Mantle of Responsibility,” LDS Church News, May 3, 1997
Some have difficulty when particular tasks enter their sunset phase. John the Baptist is a model, however, saying of Jesus’ growing flock, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Mistakenly regarding our present assignments as the only indicator of how much God loves us only adds to our reluctance to let go. Brothers and sisters, our individual worth is already divinely established as “great”; it does not fluctuate like the stock market. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 2002, p. 36
No calling is beneath us. Every calling provides an opportunity to serve and to grow. The Lord organized the Church in a way that offers each member an opportunity for service, which, in turn, leads to personal spiritual growth. Whatever your calling, I urge you to see it as an opportunity not only to strengthen and bless others but also to become what Heavenly Father wants you to become. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Lift Where You Stand,” Ensign, November 2008, p. 56
Any call for greater consecration is, of course, really a call to all of us. But these remarks are not primarily for those who are steadily striving and who genuinely seek to keep God’s commandments and yet sometimes fall short. (See D&C 46:9.) Nor is this primarily for those few in deliberate noncompliance, including some who cast off on intellectual and behavioral bungee cords in search of new sensations, only to be jerked about by the old heresies and the old sins.
Instead, these comments are for the essentially “honorable” members who are skimming over the surface instead of deepening their discipleship and who are casually engaged rather than “anxiously engaged.” (D&C 76:75; D&C 58:27) Though nominal in their participation, their reservations and hesitations inevitably show through. They may even pass through our holy temples, but, alas, they do not let the holy temples pass through them.
Such members accept callings but not all of the accompanying responsibilities; hence, their Church chores must often be done by those already “anxiously engaged.” Some regard themselves as merely “resting” in between Church callings. But we are never in between as to this soaring call from Jesus: “What manner of men [and women] ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” (3 Ne. 27:27; see Matt. 5:48; 3 Ne. 12:48.) It is never safe to rest regarding that calling! In fact, being “valiant” in one’s testimony of Jesus includes striving to become more like Him in mind, heart, and attributes. (D&C 76:79) Becoming this manner of men and women is the ultimate expression of orthodoxy!
All are free to choose, of course, and we would not have it otherwise. Unfortunately, however, when some choose slackness, they are choosing not only for themselves, but for the next generation and the next. Small equivocations in parents can produce large deviations in their children! Earlier generations in a family may have reflected dedication, while some in the current generation evidence equivocation. Sadly, in the next, some may choose dissension as erosion takes its toll.
While casual members are not unrighteous, they often avoid appearing to be too righteous by seeming less committed than they really are – an ironic form of hypocrisy.
Some of these otherwise honorable members mistakenly regard the Church as an institution, but not as a kingdom. They know the doctrines of the kingdom, but more as a matter of recitation than of real comprehension.
Casual members are usually very busy with the cares and the things of the world. . . .
One common characteristic of the honorable but slack is their disdain for the seemingly unexciting duties of discipleship, such as daily prayer, regular reading of the scriptures, attendance at sacrament meeting, paying a full tithe, and participating in the holy temples. Such disdain is especially dangerous in today’s world of raging relativism and of belching sensualism, a world in which, if many utter the name of Deity at all, it is only as verbal punctuation or as an expression of exclamation, not adoration!
In contrast, those sincerely striving for greater consecration neither cast off their commitments nor the holy garment. They avoid obscenity, keep the law of chastity, pay their tithes, and love and serve their spouses and children. As good neighbors, they “bear one another’s burdens,” “mourn with those that mourn,” “comfort those . . . in need of comfort,” and valiantly “stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” (Mosiah 18:8-9.) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Settle This in Your Hearts,” Ensign, November 1992
It is glorious to be a member. It is glorious to have any office or calling in the Church, no matter how relatively humble the title may sound. I am impressed constantly with the fact that, regardless of our calling, we are all encouraged, we are all dedicated, and we are all working in the service of the Master. — Elder Henry D. Moyle, Conference Report, October 1961, p. 43
No one should seek to be appointed to any particular office in the Church. Such an aspiration is not a righteous desire; it is a self-serving ambition. We should have a motivating desire to magnify our callings in the priesthood, whatever they may be. We should demonstrate that desire by living the gospel and diligently performing whatever service we are called upon to render. Holding a particular office in the Church will never save a person. One’s salvation depends upon how well he discharges the duties of the service to which he is called. — President Marion G. Romney, “Magnifying One’s Calling in the Priesthood,” Ensign, July 1973, p. 89
Now, some of you may be shy by nature, perhaps feeling yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this work is not yours and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, brethren, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that the Lord will shape the back to bear the burden placed upon it. — President Thomas S. Monson, “The Sacred Call of Service,” Ensign, May 2005, p. 56
May we ever remember that the mantle of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cloak of comfort but rather a robe of responsibility. Our duty, in addition to saving ourselves, is to guide others to the celestial kingdom of God. . . .
I pause when I think of the words of President John Taylor (1808–87): “If you do not magnify your callings, God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you done your duty.” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 164.) — President Thomas S. Monson, “The Savior’s Call to Serve,” Ensign, August 2012, p. 4[The Lord] will not permit us to fail if we do our part. He will magnify us even beyond our own talents and abilities. . . . It is one of the sweetest experiences that can come to a human being” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Teaching, No Greater Call , 20). Consider sharing an experience when you or someone you know has felt the Lord magnify his or her talents and abilities. Invite the family to share some of their own positive experiences as they have responded to “the Savior’s call to serve.” — President Thomas S. Monson, “The Savior’s Call to Serve,” Ensign, August 2012, p. 5
It should be clear to us with regard to various callings and assignments that just as soon as we are sustained and set apart the clock begins running toward the moment of our release. How vital it is to manage our time and talents wisely from the moment a task begins! Later, when we have devotedly invested much of ourselves in a particular calling or assignment (and especially when it has been satisfying and we have made a real difference), we may feel the release when it comes, but that, too, is part of our schooling as disciples. Being released gives us experience in patience and humility, as well as a fresh reminder of our non-essentiality. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, July 1975
The call to serve has ever characterized the work of the Lord. It rarely comes at a convenient time. It brings humility, it provokes prayer, it inspires commitment. The call came – to Kirtland. Revelations followed. The call came – to Missouri. Persecution prevailed. The call came – to Nauvoo. Prophets died. The call came – to the basin of the Great Salt Lake. Hardship beckoned.
That long journey, made under such difficult circumstances, was a trial of faith. But faith forged in the furnace of trials and tears is marked by trust and testimony. Only God can count the sacrifice; only God can measure the sorrow; only God can know the hearts of those who serve Him – then and now. — President Thomas S. Monson, “Tears, Trials, Trust, Testimony,” Ensign, May 1987