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THE WORD: Called to serve

When Samuel was still a child, the voice of the Lord came to him at night, calling him by name three times. At first he did not understand the call. He turned to Eli, his mentor and teacher, who understood what was happening and instructed him to respond: “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:4-10).

In building the kingdom of God and ministering to His children, there are many opportunities to serve. We might be called upon to teach a children’s Sunday School class, or we might be asked to participate in or even lead a musical group. Perhaps less glamorously, but no less importantly, the call to serve might be as part of a moving crew or chapel cleaning detail.

Sometimes it might seem like the things we do to help our brothers and sisters are small or insignificant. Once I was asked to help with our congregation’s finances, though I had no accounting background. Just this past summer, I was asked to chaperone teenagers at a youth conference. Yet each of these experiences gave me great insights and built my faith.

Every member is important and has a role to play in building the kingdom of God. I remember Sunday School teachers who left a lasting impression on my life. Helping people pack belongings in preparation for a move can show true discipleship. As Paul taught, just like the eye and ear and foot have their places in the body of Christ, so too do we each have our responsibilities that only we with our gifts can provide (see 1 Corinthians 12:14-21).

Sometimes, like Eli helping young Samuel, others around us are better able to see how the Lord is calling us. Loving parents, friends, or ministers might perceive spiritual gifts within us that we don’t recognize ourselves.

Years ago, I knew an elderly sister with little musical experience who was asked to learn to play the piano. At first reluctant, this good sister not only learned to play the piano, but the organ as well, and served wonderfully sharing her musical gifts for many years.

A call to serve can be an intimidating experience. When called by the Lord out of the burning bush, Moses responded humbly: “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). The promise from God is sure: He will help us accomplish His purposes. He told Moses: “Certainly I will be with thee” (Exodus 3:12).

Thomas S. Monson taught: “When we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Remember that whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies.” When calls to serve come to us, may we each respond with faith and optimism as did Samuel: “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.”

BRENT ROBERTS is the Branch Presidency First Counselor in the Sandy River Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also Dean of Greenwood Library at Longwood University. He can be reached at brentsroberts@hotmail.com.