Do you remember the euphoria you felt when you were extended the call to serve in a leadership position? You finally get to pick the counselors you want and you can finally apply your ideas. You feel like you are going to make a real difference as you serve with extra vigor. Whatever problem the quorum has, you will fix it.
After a few months, mediocrity resurfaces, and your plan of a cultural overhaul isn’t happening. Those called to help you serve disappoint, home teaching goals become stale, and you are just as discouraged as your predecessor. Your unique leadership didn’t do a thing and problems still exist. Not only are balls being dropped, but those imperfections are causing people to fall through the cracks, salvations are being lost, inactivity continues and it is happening on your watch. You’ve got to fix it!
You will then recommit to be that above par leader. You need to try a little harder, motivate a little more, and then this will all work out. You reassess your lineup, you release a counselor and call a new all-star, you plan the “lesson of all lessons” that will whip the group into shape.
After much effort and a few more months, you wake up in exactly the same place as before. In frustration, you scream towards the heavens: “DON’T YOU WANT ME TO SUCCEED AS A LEADER!?” In that moment, the Eternal Genius in heaven will remind you once again: “I never called you to fix it.”
He Called Christ to Fix It
Just like in real life, when we sin, fail at our job, become sick, or get discouraged, we try to fix it ourselves. We commit to reading our scriptures a little longer, pray with more sincerity, attending the temple one more time, hoping that our efforts will “bind” God to bless us with what we think we need (D&C 82:10). We quickly forget it wasn’t our job to overcome all things. It is through “the righteousness of [the] Redeemer” that these shortcomings will be justified (2 Ne. 2:3).
Even in times when it feels like you fixed it, it wasn’t you–it was Him that gave us the “power to do these things”. (Jacob 4:7)
Bishop Monson Couldn’t Fix It Either
I cherish the stories of President Monson’s time as bishop. He is inspiring as always, and in my efforts as bishop, the spirit often whispers to me: “do what Bishop Monson would do.” These promptings usually end up with me serving the individual and reaching out to those that feel forgotten.
However, I am willing to bet there were days Bishop Monson didn’t live up to his reputation. Not because he didn’t want to, but because he is human. There is never reason to share those stories in the Ensign or in General Conference.
My brother (who is also a bishop) and I were talking one Sunday evening about how many times we simply fail to be a good bishop. I don’t mean little mistakes; I mean huge oversights which cause others to feel forgotten. These instances may be a ward member diagnosed with cancer, a single sister needing support, or a good brother losing his faith that seeks answers, and we, as the leader, didn’t even think twice about it. We had every intention to be their support, but life got in the way, and suddenly it’s Sunday again.
Will these victims of our ineptness be lost? Are we the reason they might lose faith and feel forgotten? No. Because His grace is sufficient to cover the pain caused by weak leadership.
So Why Were You Called?
His grace leaves plenty of room for sanctification. His justification allows us to practice our sanctification. We have opportunity to become more like our Father by practicing discipleship like that of Bishop Monson. Those moments when the Lord puts you in the place you need to be to serve and love others–they are priceless.
So step back a moment, and put down the monthly home teaching report, and remind yourself that it isn’t your job to fix it. You were called to love, to testify from your heart, to learn someone’s name, to shake their hand, to encourage, to be their friend. He’s got the rest covered.