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Dear Gramps,

I just received a new calling and I’m terrified.  I told the Bishop yes, but I can’t help but think there are so many others who could do this calling so much better than I can.

Why me?  Why doesn’t the Lord pick someone more qualified?

Overwhelmed

 

Answer

 

Dear Overwhelmed,

I think we have all been in your shoes at some time or another.  I know I have.  Reflecting on this, I couldn’t help but think of our heroes and heroines from the scriptures who surely must have asked the same question.

One of the best examples of this is Joseph Smith.  Elder Marcus B. Nash gave a wonderful talk about this very thing. Out of Weakness He Shall be Made Strong

I will share some highlights, but I highly recommend you read the entire article.   Elder Nash said:

“Though strong of body and character, Joseph Smith was weak by just about any other earthly measure. Nonetheless, through him—an obscure plough-boy living in frontier America— the Lord restored the fullness of His gospel for the blessing of all mankind.”

Consider that for a moment.  Joseph Smith had at best a third grade education, and yet look at all that he was able to accomplish.  Because his limited education helped him to be humble and rely upon the Lord.  To illustrate this concept Elder Nash explains:

“At first blush, it seems counter intuitive that the Lord would call upon the weak things of the earth to accomplish a mighty work. To appreciate why the Lord calls the weak, remember that the Lord says his work must be accomplished in His own way and by the power of His Spirit: His ways, in other words, not our ways. Those who perceive themselves to be “strong” do not turn wholeheartedly to the Lord for guidance. Instead, they rely on their own wisdom and their own understanding, “the arm of the flesh.” As a consequence, they are left to their own strength; and they will find in the end—to their dismay—that their strength is insufficient.

You will recall from your own study of the Book of Mormon that when the Nephites went into battle “in the strength of the Lord,” they prevailed. When they boasted in their own strength, they failed—and failed miserably.”

Perhaps, then, the Lord calls on us “weak ones” to give us the blessing of seeing His power in our lives.  But as you grow in the calling and become comfortable,  I also want to caution you: without humility our strengths can become our weaknesses.  Elder Oaks spoke of this, warning us:

“But weakness is not our only vulnerability. Satan can also attack us where we think we are strong—in the very areas where we are proud of our strengths. He will approach us through the greatest talents and spiritual gifts we possess. If we are not wary, Satan can cause our spiritual downfall by corrupting us through our strengths as well as by exploiting our weaknesses.” Our Strengths Can Become our Downfall

Once again the answer to the problem is humility.  Elder Oaks explains it this way:

“Those who engage in self-congratulation over a supposed strength have lost the protection of humility and are vulnerable to Satan’s using that strength to produce their downfall. In contrast, if we are humble and teachable, hearkening to the commandments of God, the counsel of his leaders, and the promptings of his Spirit, we can be guided in how to use our spiritual gifts, our accomplishments, and all of our other strengths for righteousness. And we can be guided in how to avoid Satan’s efforts to use our strengths to cause our downfall.

 

In all of this, we should remember and rely on the Lord’s direction and promise: “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (D&C 112:10).”

It seems that whether we feel weak and inadequate, or strong and capable, the answer is always the same: turn to the Lord.

Good luck with your new calling!

 

Gramps

 

 

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