Magnifying One's Calling
In the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) there is no professional clergy. Instead, members of the Church are "called" to temporary positions through revelation and inspiration to leaders who have stewardship over them. Only the calls to the prophet/president, apostles, and certain members of the Quorums of Seventy have callings that last for a lifetime. A member might be called to a position of great responsibility, such as the calling of bishop and then to help manage the ward nursery for a time. In whatever calling a member has, the Lord has counseled him/her to "magnify" that calling.
All members of the Church have callings here upon the earth — some of limited time span and some of eternal scope (such as our family roles). The question that will be asked of each of each member is this: "Did you magnify your callings?" Each calling or role honorably fulfilled ultimately blesses someone's life; therefore, when a Latter-day Saint magnifies a calling, he/she builds up, enlarges, and strengthens the people he serves through his calling. Blessing and serving his fellowmen is helping to build up the Kingdom of God (see JST Matthew 6:38), in that he invites all to come unto Christ and strengthens those who have made covenants (see D&C 108:7). Magnifying his callings in this way is serving his God (see Mosiah 2:17) and assisting in His work (see Moses 1:39). Each role and calling is important within the stewardship and framework in which one serves. Everyone is needed. Everyone is important in his or her callings—for we all have need of each other (see 1 Corinthians 12:14-27).
President Gordon B. Hinckley has stated, “We magnify our calling, we enlarge the potential of our priesthood when we reach out to those in distress and give strength to those who falter” ("Magnify Your Calling," Ensign, May 1989, pp. 47-49; Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 478).
THE SCRIPTURES TEACH
2 Timothy 1:6-7—6 — "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
- In order for one to magnify his callings, he is to be worthy of inspiration by the Holy Ghost and then follow the spiritual promptings that come. The Lord has made us equal to the task by making accessible to the faithful and valiant all of His power and gifts. He will support us (see D&C 84:85-88), and if we are prepared, we shall not fear (see D&C 38:30).
Jacob 1:19 — "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."
- When one magnifies a calling, he/she labors with all his might, mind, and strength so that he can stand blameless before the Lord (see D&C 4:2). Let us never forget that we have duties here upon the earth that no one else can perform. Our duty, calling, or stewardship is for us to do—regardless of the situation (see Moroni 9:6).
Alma 17:2-3—2 — "Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God."
- To magnify callings one pays the price of preparation. The Sons of Mosiah were perfect examples of this. They searched the scriptures and fasted and prayed, and they were consequently endowed with the power of God to teach by the Spirit. We are to obtain His Word (see D&C 11:21) and seek His counsel in all things (see Alma 37:37) as we diligently magnify our callings. This formula of searching the scriptures and fasting and prayer should be part of our personal preparation to magnify our callings.
Doctrine and Covenants 81:5 — "Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees."
- In every office and calling let a person never forget that it is people that count. They are why we serve. You are needed in your role; every person is important in his or her calling in the Lord’s Kingdom here upon the earth (see D&C 84:109-110). Seek to bless and strengthen others in all things (see D&C 108:7).
MODERN PROPHETS SPEAK
- "God bless us all that we may have strength and endure to the end, to run the race and run it well. Be loyal and faithful and sustain one another in our work in the Church. Magnify our calling. Be humble before the Lord and in our humility God will magnify us as he always does beyond our own experience, our own age, and our own natural ability to do things."
- (Matthew Cowley, Matthew Cowley Speaks [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 429.)
- "God blesses those who magnify callings. He is ready to bless every man in His Church who will magnify His office and calling."
- (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, selected, arranged, and edited by Jerreld L. Newquist [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 183.)
- "How well do we obey his bidding? How do we magnify our calling from the Lord? The Prophet Joseph was often asked, 'Brother Joseph, what do you mean by magnifying a calling?' Joseph replied: '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. An elder magnifies the ordained calling of an elder by learning what his duties as an elder are and then by doing them.'"
- (Thomas S. Monson, Pathways to Perfection [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 146.)
- "Now, while we live and labor let us magnify our calling. Let no man be found recreant to his opportunities. Let us not turn our backs upon the blessings of the Lord, but day by day go faithfully on blessing our father's children."
- (George Albert Smith, The Teachings of George Albert Smith, edited by Robert McIntosh and Susan McIntosh [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 95.)
ILLUSTRATIONS FOR OUR TIMES
“Quickening the Pace”
Some callings, like that of father and mother or husband and wife, are eternal. Others are shorter callings that are really sub-sets of a greater and never-ending mission to help build the Kingdom of God. In one ward the bishopric used an unusual strategy that seemed to help the members focus with an uncommon degree of devotion on the callings they received. Each December all of the callings in the ward were changed; that is, each member received a new calling—of precisely one’s year duration. The entire ward family was therefore reorganized once each year. This had several consequences (apart from adding considerably to the leadership responsibilities of the bishopric): (1) the interest around roles and duties was heightened, (2) people tended to accelerate the pace of learning their new duties—since they had a shorter time in which to have a positive impact, (3) the energy level seemed to be higher, and (4) there was a lot of networking and discussion behind the scenes about correlation and cooperation.
What if we were to regard each calling as if it lasted only one day—today—and thus made this and every day of our involvement a shining example of our most noble and valiant contribution toward magnifying our calling and building the Kingdom? Amulek (as recorded in the Book of Mormon) put it bluntly to all of us: “And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness herein there can be no labor performed” (Alma 34:33). It is interesting that the word “day” is put in the singular; thus implying that we can improve our lot faithfully one day at a time. (Richard J. Allen)
President Howard W. Hunter taught this hope-filled truth: “The Lord never calls a man to any office in his Church but what he will by revelation help that man to magnify his calling, . . .” (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 215). As members of the Church magnify their callings, they are doing the will of God. They are instruments in His hands for good.
- This article has been adapted from What We Need to Know and Do," by Ed J. Pinegar and Richard J. Allen.