The Most Important Job in the Church?


Suppose the bishop called you into his office after sacrament meeting and said, “I have a very important calling for you in the ward. I would like you to be songbook coordinator for the ward choir.” What would you do? You might think to yourself, “But bishop, that’s such a little job. Couldn’t you give me something important to do, something I can sink my teeth into, like Young Men’s president or Relief Society president—a position where I can really be of service?” But, having been taught never to turn down a calling, you smile and say, “Why, yes, I would love to be songbook coordinator.”

On your first day as songbook coordinator for the ward choir, you arrive half an hour early and carefully place the songbooks; after the practice you hurry to collect and return them to the proper closet. No one, you observe, puts an arm around you and tells you what a fine job you did. The next week you arrive a bit later and rush through your responsibilities. Again, no one notices your efforts.

The third week comes along, and you don’t even show up. After all, it’s such a little job.

It may be true that songbook coordinator is not necessarily the most difficult job in the Church. The most difficult job in the Church is the one that begins with the word “just”—I’m “just” a home teacher; I’m “just” a visiting teacher; I’m “just” an usher; I’m “just” a deacon. The most important job in the Church, on the other hand, is the one in which service is willingly, faithfully rendered.

I’ve determined that there are three types of people holding positions in the Church. One is the worker who says, “Yes, I’ll do the job,” but then doesn’t fulfill his responsibility. Another is the person who does the job, but does no more than the minimum expected (and he really doesn’t enjoy it). The third type of individual is one who not only does the job, but finds joy in going the extra mile.

You might ask, “But how can a ward choir songbook coordinator go the extra mile?” Let’s think about that. He might notice that several books have broken bindings, and he takes the time to repair them. Perhaps some of the books have missing pages; so he xeroxes those pages from other books and inserts them into the books where they are needed. He might even build a container to carry the books so that he will not drop them as he is distributing or collecting them. There are many ways to enhance one’s service.

Let me tell you about some church workers I have known who went the extra mile. President A. Harold Goodman, of the Provo Temple presidency, once lived in Tucson, Arizona. While there, he was called to be home teacher to a man that no one had been able to visit. After attempting several times without success to find him at home, he went to the neighbors and found out that the man was working two jobs and left home every morning at 5:30 A.M. So the next morning at 5 A.M., Brother Goodman was sitting on the front porch; when the lights went on in that house, he jumped to his feet and knocked on the door. The man answered the door, and Brother Goodman said, “Good morning, I’m your home teacher.” The man was surprised to see someone so interested in him, and a warm relationship developed.

I have an aunt living in Ogden, Utah, who says that as a young girl she had a memorable Sunday School teacher. When he was called, he said, “A Sunday School teacher is the most important calling in the Church,” and he was the best Sunday School teacher she ever had. His name was David O. McKay.

I believe that the most important job in the Church is the one we hold right now. Maybe you don’t even hold a specific position. I remember being in a ward where there were just not enough ward positions to go around, so the bishop called certain people into his office and asked them to be celestial members—to set a good example for others; to fellowship those in need; and to be one-hundred-percent participators. That was an important calling—as is any calling we now or in the future will hold in the kingdom of God. For it is through righteously serving others that we bless our own lives, enrich the lives of our neighbors, and further the work of the Lord.

Roger L. Rice, a systems consultant in data processing, is a father of six and a high councilor in the Walnut Creek California Stake.