Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sacrament Meeting Talk: Vermena Lee on Callings

This talk was give January 1, 2012 by Vermena Lee.

A fresh start, a fresh new year in which we can improve and change our lives. 

A calling is an official assignment in the church, extended by the Lord’s authorized leaders to serve, lead or teach in a particular way. We are called and sustained which is to receive support from the other members, and then set apart. It’s all about doing the Lord’s work.

For this talk I'll focus on 3 areas when it comes to serving in a calling. Magnifying your calling, recognizing the blessings of that calling, and doing our best until released.
First, magnify your calling
When we talk about serving in a calling, we talk of “magnifying it.”

President Monson said this:
Magnifying a calling 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.
Sister Kathleen Hughes, a former counselor of the general R.S. presidency said this:
But does the phrase “magnify your calling” ever make you nervous? It has worried me! Recently I read a talk in which President Thomas S. Monson said on the subject: “And how does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it” (Priesthood Power, Ensign, Nov. 1999). 
Sisters, we can do that! I hear women say that their callings are wearing them out or that they don’t have time to serve. But magnifying our callings does not mean staying up all night preparing handouts and elaborate table decorations. It does not mean that each time we do our visiting teaching we have to take something to our sisters. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Let’s simplify. The message of a good lesson comes through spiritual preparation. Let’s put our focus on the principles of the gospel.
Sister Dorothy Moore from Malad, Idaho said in an article in the Ensign that fasting and praying helped her and her counselors to serve more effectively rather than planning grandiose activities and making extravagant visual aids. Not only did they receive new ideas for dealing with problems, but the Spirit touched the children in greater measure and prepared them to learn what they taught.

Magnify means to enlarge, Elder Scott said “Remember, don’t magnify the work to be done, simplify it.”  When we do our callings, it is the Lord who enlarges our efforts. 

Second, callings bring blessings and inspiration
The second area of callings is the blessings that come with them and the right to receive inspiration for our callings. Being called to serve in whatever capacity brings blessings and greater meaning into our lives.  
As we magnify a calling, we learn to love those we serve, those who we work with and those who preside over us. (Bro. Bo Wennerlund, a sealer in the Stockholm Sweden temple)
A friend of mine was called to be the gospel doctrine teacher, teaching the OT. How overwhelming that was for her! We had the stake president, a temple sealer and a stake patriarch in the class and many more seasoned members who had by far more knowledge of the OT than she. She felt a bit intimidated. As she prepared and taught, she gained a love for the OT and it expanded her testimony and knowledge of the scriptures she never would’ve if she had not that calling.

When we are set apart for our callings, we are blessed with the right to receive revelation for that particular calling. I am to receive inspiration for my calling as others do for theirs.

A few months ago I substitute taught the CTR4 class. I admit I didn’t do a very good job, later I was talking to Sister Pope about my experience. She said she figured out what worked for her to teach those children. Of course she did—she was entitled to do so.

I was talking to my mother about this subject and she was recently released as a R.S. teacher.  She said she received blessings for that calling and now it is time for another sister to receive those blessings.  She said this new sister teaches the lessons differently than she does, but that’s okay because it’s the same gospel and the same doctrine.

We all do our best in a calling and then receive "callings of release" 
A certain calling might be more appropriate at one point in a member’s life than at another; as stated in Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

Our callings become a stimulating and joyful part of our life.  Bro. Wennerlund said,
No wonder we feel sad and perhaps even frustrated when our release comes! In my opinion, this is natural. In fact, I feel if we are not a little sad, we have not appreciated our calling enough! Personally, I have never actually felt happy to be released from a calling, simply because I have loved all the callings I have had.
I counted quickly how many “average” callings a sister could have in a ward, I counted 40.  Say we look at a lifespan of 20 to 80. That's less than 2 years per calling.

Brother Sang Han, Seoul Korea said this:
Often, those who do not have a firm foundation of experience in the Church see a release as a bureaucratic demotion or a loss of social status. But, except for a limited number of General Authorities, most members of the Church throughout the world are constantly receiving new callings and also “callings of release.” Yes, I feel that a release from a responsibility in the Church is actually another type of calling.
I love that—every Sunday thousands are being called, thousands are being released.

I served a mission for 18 months and when it was over, it was time for me to move on to the next part of my life. Others needed to receive the blessings associated with missionary work.

I’ve also seen some members unable to “move on” after being released. In one ward, a new Sunday school teacher was called and her lessons were being interrupted by the former teacher still trying to teach!

This other brother I knew went back to his mission and stopped by one of his apartments. It was a time of day that when he was a missionary, he was out contacting. Much to his surprised he found the current missionaries at home. He felt it was his right to reprimand them since he has served there. But it was not his stewardship to correct them. It was their mission president’s.

Sometimes we tend to compare our efforts to those who are serving in callings that we previously had and find fault with them.

Elder Oaks said, "Fault finding is the act of pointing out faults, it is related to backbiting and evil speaking.” They are all unchristian. In a small branch of the church, one brother started finding fault in others in their various callings, then continued to pick apart their testimonies, and then onto their characters.  Sadly, it led to the dissolvement of that branch.

We are aware that we are not to criticize the Lord’s anointed, which we assume means the prophet and other general authorities. Anointed can include the ‘elect’ ones, and that is everyone who has been baptized. When we criticize or find fault with others in their callings we are breaking the second commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

A friend of mine was recently called to serve as president in an auxiliary. She felt she was being compared to the last president and was expressing her frustration.

I remembered a MASH episode, in which the company clerk, Radar, went home and his position was replaced by Corporal Klinger.  Klinger wasn’t doing a good of a job as Radar had done and everyone was on his back about it.  Finally the company commander, Colonel Potter sat down with Klinger and said this:
Col. Sherman Potter: I guess we both realize you’re no Radar. 
Klinger: So they tell me, sir. 
Col.: But, by the same token, Radar is no Klinger. 
Klinger: I don’t follow you, sir. 
Col: Folks around here were pretty fond of Henry Blake when he ran this fort, weren’t they? 
Klinger: Well, sure the Colonel was a top notch kind of guy! 
Col.: I don’t mind telling you my first few days in his shadow were a mite uneasy. No one was jumping for joy over me. I was no Henry Blake. Never tried to be. That didn’t make me any better or worse, just different. The point is, the folks here gave me the time to get comfortable and make this job Sherman Potter’s. I guess I forgot that when  you took over for Radar. What I’m trying to say is, you need the time to make this job Max Klinger’s. So, just do it! And if you need any help, just knock on my door. Is that clear? 
Klinger: Crystal, sir. 
Col: From now on, Radar’s office is closed, Klinger’s office is open.
So as we begin this New Year with new resolutions, let us get a fresh new start on magnifying our callings, enjoy the blessings that come during the time that we have them, and be more supportive to others in their callings. 

Vermena Lee

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