Posted by: 2thdocbob | 19 January 2020

Act in All Diligence

I spoke in Waterman Ward (my home ward) this morning and gave this message. As a second speaker in Rancho San Bernardino (Spanish) Ward, I gave a synopsis of this message.

I hope you sense the importance of magnifying your calling as you serve the Lord. When I excel in God’s work, I am doing it for His glory, and not for my own. I am grateful for the opportunities that I have to bring my offering of five loaves and two small fishes and to see Lord magnify them. It is a blessing to be about the Lord’s work.

I hope you find this message uplifting.

Dear brothers and sisters, I am grateful to stand before you today. I am grateful for the fellowship I have with you, and I am humbled as I consider the assigned topic today. As I speak about diligently magnifying our callings, please understand that I am preaching to myself first and to you second.

I bring you love and greetings from President Garvin and his counselors. They love you, and have expressed their appreciation for your countless acts of service.

I am here by assignment, and I pray that the Spirit will be with us as I speak so that you and I will understand those ideas that the Lord wants us to learn.

We opened our meeting with a favorite hymn.[1] It’s fun to sing, fun to play, and it has an important message for each of us.

Have you ever thought about what putting your shoulder to the wheel means? It means to give your full effort to the work you are doing. The phrase originated in the 1700’s in reference to pushing vehicles that were stuck. The pioneers certainly understood this metaphor. On my mission, I learned the Dutch translation of this phrase, which is to “stick your hand out of your sleeve.” That’s also an interesting image.

Here in the kingdom of God, we all have work to do. Every one of us has received a call from the Lord Jesus Christ to serve our brothers and sisters. Let no one shirk!

In October Conference, President Henry B. Eyring taught: “Your call began when you were placed into mortality, in a place and time chosen for you by a God who knows you perfectly and loves you … In the spirit world, He knew you and taught you and placed you where you would have the opportunity, rare in the history of the world, to be invited into a baptismal font.”[2]

Through baptism and confirmation, we became covenant sons and daughters of God. Our initial mortal covenant with God, made through baptism and confirmation, was to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ, to keep his commandments, and to serve him.

President Eyring stated: “For each one who makes these covenants, the service that the Lord calls him or her to do will be suited perfectly to that person. The covenant daughters and sons of God, however, all share one important and joyful call. It is to serve others for Him.”[3]

This means that even if you do not currently hold a position in the Church, you still have a calling to serve Heavenly Father’s children.

We are called to assist Heavenly Father in His glorious mission, which he described to Moses: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”[4]

Our calling is to assist the Father in exalting His children. That is a calling from which we cannot be released. After all, King Benjamin taught that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.”[5]

When we receive a calling, we may feel completely inadequate, or even overwhelmed. But I know with certainty that the Lord inspires his servants as they call us to serve in his kingdom. And he will inspire us as we strive to fulfill these responsibilities.

I know that if I serve faithfully in my calling, I will be able to touch the hearts of those that Heavenly Father has placed in my path. He will strengthen and inspire me to say and do what he would say or do if he were here. I have learned that if I do my part, I can rely on him to direct me. I am very grateful for that assurance.

Many of you know that the second High Council speaker (in the San Bernardino California Stake) is asked not to prepare a talk, but to speak by the Spirit. Many times as I sit on the stand as a second speaker, the meeting begins, and I have no idea what I should say. I feel somewhat like Nephi, who said “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.”[6] You might be inclined to panic a little in this situation. Through experience, I can sit calmly and wait on the Lord with confidence that the Spirit will direct me.

I mention this in all humility, because it is not due to any special ability I have; I recognize it as gift that has been given to help me to magnify my calling. The Lord is eager to assist us in doing his work.

We can learn from the example of Jacob, the brother of Nephi. In the first chapter of Jacob, he wrote:

“Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God. …
“Wherefore I, Jacob, gave unto them these words as I taught them in the temple, having first obtained mine errand from the Lord.
“For I, Jacob, and my brother Joseph had been consecrated priests and teachers of this people, by the hand of Nephi.
“And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.”[7]

There are three things we can learn from Jacob.

First, Jacob obtained his errand from the Lord. He was called, ordained, and assigned to speak to the people and to call them to repentance. He didn’t go of his own accord, but by assignment. And his assignment was neither easy nor pleasant.

Second, he labored diligently among the people. He gave it his full effort: he put his shoulder to the wheel.

Third, he magnified his office unto the Lord. He knew the cost of failing to magnify his calling, that it would affect his own salvation and well as the salvation of his people. He was willing to accept that serious responsibility to call the people to repentance.

It is significant to me that he magnified his calling “unto the Lord.” He didn’t serve for personal glory or desire for attention. He served for the Lord.

What does it mean to magnify one’s calling? To magnify is to enlarge, to make clearer, or to strengthen. I believe that there are expectations attached to each of our callings and assignments, and by magnifying these callings, we are living up to the Lord’s expectations.

When we magnify our calling, we do not worry about praise, thanks or recognition. We serve to honor our Heavenly Father, and to bless His children.

On those rare occasions when we do receive praise or recognition for our service, we humbly acknowledge the kind words, and remember with gratitude the giver of our talents, our Eternal Father, who enables us to magnify our callings as part of the covenants we have made with him.

President Eyring taught us: “The Lord, out of love, does not leave us the choice of the timing, duration, or sequence of our assignments. Yet you know from scripture and living prophets that all of these assignments will come, either in this life or in the next, to every [son and] daughter of God. And all of them are preparation for eternal life in loving families— “the greatest of all the gifts of God”. (D&C 14:7)”[8]

Most of our callings are for a limited time. Our callings to minister to our brothers and sisters may entail changes in assignments, but we will never be released from our calls to minister to one another. Other callings, such as father and mother, son and daughter, also do not afford us the opportunity of a release. They extend into the eternities.

How do we magnify our callings?

First, we must understand the expectations for that calling or assignment. The leader who extends the calling should explain basic duties and help us to find resources to assist us in learning and fulfilling our responsibility. That leader should help us to understand the line of authority involved in the calling. Knowing who to report to is crucial in our service.

Our file leaders bear part of the responsibility to train us, but we cannot neglect our personal obligation to prayerfully study and ponder our duties.

Know your duty.

Second, we must be obedient if we want to obtain the Lord’s blessings in our callings. My mission president frequently reminded us that Enoch’s blessings came as a result of personal righteousness. We will see miracles if we are worthy.

Keep the commandments.

Third, along with training and personal study, we have access to the guidance of the Holy Ghost as we serve. It doesn’t get better than that. If we seek the Spirit’s guidance, we can have our own personal tutor on call to help us in our covenant responsibilities.

Seek the Spirit.

Fourth, we must take action. Acting in faith is the key to success in the Lord’s kingdom. My father in law used to say, “Do something, even if it’s wrong.” If we do our best to honor our covenants by acting in faith, we can seldom go wrong.

Go and do.

Fifth, every calling involves working with people. And not just any old people, but Heavenly Father’s children! Think of that, He trusts you and me to help His own children return to Him!

It may not be obvious to many of you, but I am a shy, quiet person. I feel awkward in many social situations. It often takes great effort for me to reach out and greet others, and to know what to say.

Let me share two important things I have learned as I have served in various callings over the years. The first is that I love each of you. I hope you have felt that. Love makes all the difference.

When we lived in another ward, I was often called on to help pass the sacrament. As I passed the tray with the bread to one row, I felt a strong sense of the Savior’s love for each of them, and I felt that love myself, too. I have since felt the same thing in other wards.

The other thing I have learned is that when I have the Spirit with me, I feel eager to reach out to others. That was an important insight to me.

Love those whom you serve.

Sixth is to endure patiently. Even when you have the Spirit with you and love those whom you serve, there will be challenges. There are things the Lord expects us to learn by overcoming challenges, just as He did. Working through these challenges with the Lord’s help will teach us things that we cannot learn in other ways.

With few exceptions, one day, a release will come, and new calling will be extended. If you have served with diligence, this will be a time of sadness mixed with gratitude for having served.

Endure to the end.

To summarize, magnifying our callings requires:

First, know your duty;
Second, keep the commandments;
Third, seek the Spirit;
Fourth, go and do;
Fifth, love those whom you serve;
And sixth, endure to the end.

We have heard repeatedly from President Nelson that the Lord is hastening his work. If we desire to keep pace with the Lord’s work, we need to be committed to magnifying our callings.

At the end of Section 107 are a pair of verses that have been on my mind for nearly 50 years:

“Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence.
“He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand. Even so. Amen.”[9]

I pray that we will all be counted worthy to stand in the Lord’s kingdom when he returns to the earth.

I testify that this is his work. This is the true Church of Jesus Christ, and he directs his Church through a living prophet, President Russell M. Nelson.

I testify that as we serve, we are preparing ourselves and those around us for life with our Heavenly Father.

I pray that we may enjoy these blessings together, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel. Hymns, 1985, 252.

[2] Covenant Women in Partnership with God. Eyring, HB. Ensign, Nov. 2019: 70-73.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Pearl of Great Price. Moses 1:39.

[5] The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Christ. Mosiah 2:17.

[6] Ibid. 1 Nephi 4:6.

[7] Ibid. Jacob 1:8, 17-19.

[8] Eyring. Op cit. (Additions are mine.)

[9] Doctrine and Covenants 107:99-100


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: