As I write today I am filled with a profound hope for the future. We live in an amazing time of difficulties and challenges. Everywhere we go we are asked to do more, to be more, and to become more.
As a Mormon we receive callings, or invitations to serve in a capacity of responsibility within our church. All positions within our church are filled by volunteers. They are called in to be interviewed by those who have already been chosen as leaders in the church and are then asked if they would be willing to volunteer their time, talents, and abilities to serve in the offered position.
There is also an expression within our faith that speaks of doing our best: Magnifying our callings. To magnify is to make something larger and bring it into clearer focus. In this context it means to do our best in applying our time, talents, and abilities towards the completion of whatever task lies before us in the performance of our responsibilities.
Almost a month ago now I was extended such an opportunity to serve, a ‘calling’ if you will. All callings operate under the direction of the priesthood keys held by the Bishop of the church, or ward. If you would like a better understanding of the difference between the priesthood and priesthood keys are, as well as what it means to operate under them please review this talk by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
Last night, as I studied, reading the words of a prophet Joseph Fielding Smith (not to be confused with Joseph Smith) I was struck by an excerpt from a sermon he gave. “If we have a clear understanding of the covenant we make when we receive the priesthood, and of the promise the Lord gives if we magnify our callings, then we shall have a greater incentive to do all the things we must do to gain eternal life. May I say further that everything connected with this higher priesthood is designed and intended to prepare us to gain eternal life in the kingdom of God.”
He continued quoting from D&C 88:33-44 and tells us that “whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. They become… the elect of God… Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved.”
In that scripture we are promised that if we magnify our callings our bodies will be renewed and that we will become the elect of God. The quality of our lives will reflect our commitment to the Lord. Receiving the Priesthood is a covenant between ourselves and our God. Because it is a covenant between us and the Lord it is immovable and unchangeable. The blessings promised are assured us if we fulfill our part of the bargain. It is promised. And the Lord cannot, and will not, break His promises.
President Smith continues, “Priesthood offices or callings are ministerial assignments to perform specially assigned service in the priesthood. And the way to magnify these callings is to do the work designed to be performed by those who hold the particular office involved. It does not matter what office we hold as long as we are true and faithful to our obligations…”
One priesthood office or calling is not greater than another in terms of priesthood power. The priesthood does not change. It is the same for each and every man in the church. The only difference is found in the keys one holds and the responsibilities over which one has authority to function as one holding power in the priesthood. In our personal lives and in our homes our priesthood power is fully operational, according to the dictates of the spirit and our righteous desires. Otherwise it is only restrained, or limited, by the limits of our respective callings. We have the authority to use our priesthood for each and every stewardship over which we have responsibility.
In the next section President Smith talks about Christ exercising His priesthood and how “Christ is the great prototype where priesthood is concerned, as He is with with reference to baptism and all other things. And so, even as the Father swears with an oath that his Son shall inherit all things through the priesthood, so he swears with an oath that all of us who magnify our callings in that same priesthood shall receive all that the Father hath.”
“This is the promise of exaltation offered to every many who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood, but it is a conditional promise, a promise conditioned upon our magnifying our callings in the priesthood and living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God…”
“There is nothing in all the world as important to each of us as putting first in our lives the things of God’s kingdom, as keeping the commandments, as magnifying our callings in the priesthood, as going to the house of the Lord and being offered the fullness of the blessings of our Father’s kingdom.”
What about you? Is there anything in your life more important than the things of God? More important than His work of salvation on our behalf? What is so important that you would be willing to risk eternity to experience in the space of this life?
Will you fill your callings, dedicate yourself to make a difference, and serve others to the best of your ability today?