If I had my heart’s desire I would redefine the word “invite” as it especially applies to the Church. In my humble estimation, the little six letter word “invite” is misused and misunderstood in a few instances.
There are members of the Church who rely on the fact that they have not received a personal engraved invitation to do something, and so they have become comfortable and quite complacent in sitting on their blessed assurances with their arms folded and legs crossed, doing absolutely nothing. I would sincerely hope and pray that members of the Church would value their membership more than having to always be invited to help do the work of the ministry. As members of the Church we should be willing to put our shoulders to the wheel and help push the work along without the need of always having to be invited to do so. This applies not only to the work of the ministry in the Church, but in our family lives as well.
There are, however, some instances when the use of the word “invite” or the extending of an invitation is proper. Examples of these would include, but are not limited to, the following. We teach and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite men, women, and children to come unto Christ. We invite family members, loved ones, friends, and other acquaintances to come to Church with us on Sunday. We invite those who are Temple worthy and have not attended the Temple for some time to join us at the Temple. We invite those who are interested in learning more about the Church, what we believe, and more importantly, why we believe what we do, to our homes for a meal and for discussions of gospel principles. When the time is right, we invite these investigators to meet with the full-time missionaries for further instruction in the gospel, oftentimes setting up those meetings in our homes and inviting the missionaries to join us. We invite family, friends, and loved ones to special events such as Firesides, Ward and Branch parties, youth activities, Relief Society functions, weddings, receptions, etc. In each of these instances the proper use of inviting is clearly demonstrated.
I am reminded of Nephi of old (in the Book of Mormon; see 1 Nephi 3:7) when he said that he would Go and Do those things which the Lord commanded of him. Please note that he willingly said that he would Go and Do, not that he would await a personal engraved invitation before doing so. As members of the Church, our lives would be greatly enhanced and richly blessed if we would make Nephi’s attitude a part of our own lives. Instead of always waiting to be asked to do something, let us press forward Saints and Go and Do those things which the Lord has commanded us to do.
I humbly believe that there are some members of the Church who conveniently use the fact that they have not been personally invited to do something as oxen in the mire and easy escape mechanisms to keep from doing those things which they know they should be doing. As a result, in many instances, what has commonly been called “Faithful Ten” clubs are formed, meaning that it is always the same faithful members that end up doing all the work, all the time, while others just sit back and watch. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “this ought not to be so.” Every member of the Church has a job to do. No one has been called to be a sideline cheerleader. The Lord does not need sideline cheerleaders. He needs people who are willing to go to work in His vineyard and help move the work of the ministry along. The Host of Heaven cheers from the grandstands as we Go and Do those things which are required of us.
What is it that motivates us to Go and Do? I humbly believe that it is the desires and intents of our hearts. If we do not have a heart’s desire to want to do something then more than likely, we are not going to do it even if we are personally invited to do so. The invitation extended in and of itself is only asking us to come and partake. The real going and partaking is left to us. We all have our free agency and as such we can either accept the invitation or reject it. In either case, the end result rests upon our shoulders and not the shoulders of the one who extended the invitation.
With that being said, if we have the heart’s desire to do something then we should Go and Do it. For example, if we have a heart’s desire to go to the Temple then we should go to the Temple. If we have a heart’s desire to go to the Family History Center to do our family history research then we should go and do our family history research. If we have a heart’s desire to be in Church each Sunday and attend all of our Priesthood meetings (Sacrament, Sunday school, and Priesthood/Relief Society) regularly, and magnify our Church callings, then that is exactly what we should be doing. If we have a heart’s desire to do our Home Teaching and Visiting Teaching, then that is what we should do. We do not need to be invited or have a special engraved invitation in our possession to do these things. We just need to Go and Do!
That we all take the time to re-evaluate what it means to extend an invitation and what it means to Go and Do without the need of a special invitation is my humble prayer this day.