When the Savior of the world called the fishermen to leave the nets and follow Him, He saw their potential. He didn't choose them for their righteousness or their current commitment to living an extraordinary life. The Savior knew what they could become if they were obedient to His word. The creator of the world who organized the elements began to mold and shape these rough pieces of clay into powerful tools in His hands.
Like then, the Lord doesn't choose the greatest, most knowledgeable or least sinful to do His work in our day. He chooses those with willing hearts. Sometimes we receive a calling somewhat unwillingly but if we put our trust in Him, the experience will be for our benefit.
Too often, members of the Church look at callings as a benchmark of achievement. That is a philosophy of man however. We absolutely cannot look at the kingdom of God on the earth with an ordinary human mentality. In the business world, a person often starts at the bottom of the pecking order and rises to higher positions with years of effort and dedication. The church is far different. The Lord leads men and women from one experience to another to help them grow individually, not to achieve a grand calling.
It amuses me that some people consider the calling of Bishop and Stake President an elite calling. I know of no more difficult callings in the church than such leadership roles that requre so much time and mental, physical, and emotional effort. The Bishop gives hours of service each week, usually at the expense of his family to assist the members of his ward. He deals with persons in his ward who experience crises, who need money or food and those who complain. The Bishop is responsible for keeping order in the ward, ensuring that ordinances are performed properly, conducting meetings with other leaders in the ward as they watch over the flock, and being involved with the young men program. A stake President has the obligation to counsel and assist the many Bishops within the stake to perform their tasks appropriately. I get tired just thinking about all they are responsible for.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf remarked, "In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do not seek, nor do we decline, callings that come from God through inspired priesthood channels." 1
We do not seek them to gratify our vain ambition but to build up the kingdom of God and give honor and glory to His name.
Elder Holland spoke of the great sacrifices we are called to make in service to our Lord. He said, "I testify of the need to protect and preserve them [family relationships] while we find time and ways to serve faithfully in the Church. In what I hope are rare moments when these seem to be in conflict, when we find an hour or a day or a night of crisis when duty and spiritual prompting require our response, in those situations I pay tribute to every wife who has ever sat alone while dinner got cold, every husband who has made his own dinner, which with him as cook was bound to be cold anyway, and every child who has ever been disappointed in a postponed camping trip or a ball game a parent unexpectedly had to miss (and that better not be very often!). I pay tribute to every mission president and his wife, their children, and every senior couple called to serve with them, and all others who for a season miss births and baptisms, weddings and funerals, family and fun experiences in response to a “call to serve.” I thank all who, in challenging circumstances across the Church, do the best they can to build the kingdom of God on earth."2
May we ever serve with humility and a desire to honor our God with pure intent!