Through prayer and discernment, a Bishop or Branch President (leaders of a local Latter-day Saint congregation) may extend a calling to a member of the congregation, not necessarily because he feels that the person is spiritually mature to do all that is required of the calling, but because he believes the Lord wants that person to grow and mature spiritually, and the calling that has been extended will aid in that process.
Once a calling has been accepted by the member, it then becomes that person’s responsibility to do all that they possibly can to magnify that calling. To magnify our calling does not mean that we are expected to work alone, but by the same token, it does not mean that we can neglect our responsibilities, or delegate all the work that needs to be done to others to do. If we truly wish to magnify our calling, we must learn to accept the full responsibility for those things that we are asked to do, and not expect others to do all the work, but rather, we learn how to work with others in getting things done.
It is not for other members of the congregation to sit in judgment as to whether a person is magnifying their calling or not, or to consider them as being spiritually immature because they don’t seem to be doing what some may think they should be doing. Each member, however, is to be concerned about their own spiritual progression and make sure that they are doing the things that they should do. We must realize that the level of spiritual maturity will differ for each person – some will mature faster than others – but each person progresses one step at a time – line upon line, precept upon precept.
Yes, there will be those who accept callings and then find reasons why they cannot fulfill their callings simply because they do not have the heart desire to do the things that they have been called to do. That is unfortunate. However, there are times when people do have legitimate reasons about why they may not be able to fulfill a calling. Whatever the reasons, it is the responsibility of their spiritual leader (Bishop or Branch President) to counsel with the person, and through prayer and discernment, it may be decided that the person should be released from his calling.
Members of the congregation must realize that there may be more to the story than they know about why a person is unable to fulfill his calling. Members must also realize and understand that they raise their hand to sustain a person in a particular calling, signifying that they are willing to support a person in his calling, not judge him in his calling. By raising their hand to sustain a person, they agree to do all that they can to help that person to magnify his calling.
** The concept for this post was derived from original thoughts by Karlyn Stebbins.
Karylin Stebbins’ Biography:
Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.