Teaching at Home and Church

The Value of Every Calling

By Jan U. Pinborough

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Teachers, organists, advisers, clerks—wherever we serve we become teachers to all through our example.

“Therefore, let every man … labor in his own calling; and let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet; for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand?” (D&C 84:109).

It was an extremely difficult time for our ward—three Church members had died in one week, two of them tragically. I was the ward organist, and the sister who led the music in sacrament meeting called to give me the list of hymns for the following Sunday. Among them was a rather cheerful, upbeat intermediate hymn. I suggested we might want to replace it. Flipping through our hymnbook, we turned at almost the same time to “How Firm a Foundation.” It was just right, we agreed. And we would sing all seven verses.

On Sunday, the feeling of grief in the chapel was almost tangible. But as the congregation sang, “Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid,” a reassuring conviction began to rise in my heart. Then they continued on through the less-familiar fourth verse: “When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow, for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress” (“How Firm a Foundation,” Hymns, no. 85).

On and on they sang—of the Lord’s all-sufficient grace, of His eternally unchangeable love, and finally of His promise that, through the fieriest of trials, He would “never, no never, no never forsake” us. With each verse, my faith grew stronger. I still felt grieved but also at peace.

That Sunday, when the need for healing was so great and when music helped supply that need, I saw my calling in a new light. True, I could not help our ward cope with its losses in the same ways as our bishop and Relief Society president could. Still, in a small way—through my calling—I could help.

“You have as great an opportunity for satisfaction in the performance of your duty as I do in mine,” President Gordon B. Hinckley told Church members in April 1995 general conference. “The progress of this work will be determined by our joint efforts. Whatever your calling, it is as fraught with the same kind of opportunity to accomplish good as is mine” (“This Is the Work of the Master,” Ensign, May 1995, 71).

The contribution of every person in every calling is vitally important, especially because so much of the work that needs to be done in the Church is behind the scenes. Those who do this work—like the “feet” in the well-known metaphor of the body of Christ—move the Lord’s work forward in ways as indispensable as they are often unnoticed.

Using the body to represent the Church as a whole, the Apostle Paul points out how necessary the contribution of every person in the Church truly is: “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? … Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary” (1 Cor. 12:14–15, 22).

Who are these often little-noticed but absolutely essential “feet” in our wards and branches? They are the people who set up the chairs and control the temperature for our meetings. They play the prelude music and accompany our singing. They tend our toddlers so we can enjoy Sunday School class. They teach our children the gospel; they help them earn Scouting badges and Personal Progress awards. They show us how to submit records so temple work can be done for our ancestors. They deposit our tithing in the Church bank accounts. They greet us at the door of the chapel and make us feel welcome.

Some time ago, the Ensign invited readers to submit accounts about their service in behind-the-scenes callings and how their lives have been blessed by people who serve in those callings. The following stories illustrate the blessings that can be found serving in any Church calling.

Jan U. Pinborough

Illustrated by Keith Larson

Photography by Jed Clark

Show References

  • Jan U. Pinborough serves as Primary president in the East Mill Creek Fourth Ward, Salt Lake East Millcreek Stake.