As I have read and studied President Eyring’s talk, Continuing Revelation from the October 2014 General Conference, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there has been one idea that keeps playing in my mind. What is the difference between being called of God and being called by God. So no one gets lost let me explain quickly how on got on this thought train as I this particular talk.
Since the talk is about revelation a lot of references came up about the 5th article of faith:
5.We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. (Articles of Faith) (Emphasis added)
I know that this sound like some trivial thing to ponder over for an extended period, but hopefully you will stick with me on this one for a minute. 🙂 Of course nothing happens in a vacuum and as I was working on preparation for writing about this talk I was reading though some other blogs and came across a comment about how that not all calling in the Church are from God. That especially when talking about the local Bishop, or the Primary Chorister, or just all those everyday callings that we all do at one time or another, that the Bishop or the Relief Society President or whoever is in that position at the time, is doing exactly just that. Filling a empty spot. They know Brother so-and-so plays the piano, so we can ask him to play for Primary, and you know what Sister Really Happy Smile, got her degree in communication so we will call her to be the ward (or even Stake) public affairs chair. Now the commenter did say that she believed that the Bishop or whoever would seek confirmation from the Lord and the Lord would give it or not depending on the situation. But her basic feeling was that most calling come from Inspiration rather than revelation. *
I am not going to say that I completely disagree with her. But here is the thing, why do we draw a line between the two? I know that the Holy Spirit can and does speak to my heart and mind in many ways. In a BYU Devotional, Brother Gordon Limb, Director of BYU School of Social Work said, “when Heavenly Father speaks to us through the Spirit in its most familiar form, it most often comes to us through our thoughts and feelings.” (BYU Speeches emphasis added) The Holy Spirit is no more limited in how he can speak to us, than Christ was, in what kind of Miracles he was capable of performing.
Boyd K Packer speaking in General Conference in October of 2009 and 9 stated, “That sweet, quiet voice of inspiration comes more as a feeling than it does as a sound. Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind. The Holy Ghost communicates with our spirits through the mind more than through the physical senses. This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings through promptings and impressions. We may feel the words of spiritual communication more than hear them and see with spiritual rather than with mortal eyes. “
And even beyond the fact that I am sure there are times that a calling needs a warm, preferably breathing body, and the person whose job it is to extend that calling knows someone who has the skills and time and whatever to do it, whether it is playing the organ, infinite patience with 3-year-old sunbeams, a really large house that can actually fit a joint Mutual activity or whatever the need is, are you comfortable with simply saying, “Well wasn’t that lucky that person was in our ward.” Was it luck? Or was it a loving, kind Heavenly Father who, even when, “five sparrows (are) sold for two farthings… not one of them is forgotten before God?” And yet we will still tell ourselves that those “small” callings that are given by a servant of The Lord, are something less than revelation.
And every person who receives a calling, NOT MATTER WHAT THAT CALLING IS called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, from the building maintenance person to the Nursery leader, our visiting and home teachers, to the 3rd Sunday Relief Society Teacher, all the way to the Stake President, Seventies, and the Prophet himself. And once that calling has been given and the person set apart they are then entitled to receive every last piece of revelation required to care for those in their stewardship, and to fulfill that calling in the way the Lord needs it done. One of the most amazing parts of the restored gospel is that:
“Revelation continues in the Church: the prophet receiving it for the Church;the president for his stake, his mission, or his quorum;the bishop for his ward; the father for his family; the individual for himself.” (President Eyring)
So back to the original thought, that brought me down this path. What is the difference between being called of God and being called by God. My first thought was that “by” implied that the Lord himself did it. When Joseph Smith prayed to know which church was correct, God himself call that young man to the work, face to face as with every Prophet I can think of from scripture. But even when the calling is not a face to face communication with The Father, it carries no less weight when it comes from one of His ordained servants. In the April, 1970 Conference Report President Spencer W. Kimball said, “A prophet needs to be more than a priest or a minister or an elder. His voice becomes the voice of God,” and while the Prophet is the only man who may receive revelation for the Church, if you receive a calling as the Young Women’s President, you have no less authority over those people you have been called to be lead than does the President of the Church over who he has been called to preside. They both have Stewardship over a specific group of people.
Under the topics section of lds.org, stewardship is defined as the, “Responsibility to administer or attend to the assignments one receives in a Church calling, or to take care of those things with which we are blessed from God, including families, neighbors, and even temporal blessings. “(lds.org topics) This includes receiving revelation as the caretaker of those people.
So tomorrow in part II I will talk about my original preconception about the word “of” as well as what I discovered upon studying just a bit more, as well as how revelation not being received by the leadership of the Church about their callings benefits all members of the Church. (You may want to read 1st Nephi 3 to get an idea of what I might mean) Have a blessed day.
In the name is Jesus Christ, Amen