He walked into a little classroom in the Philippines to be interviewed in preparation for receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood. I didn’t know how old he was, but even the older members of the branch called him Tatay (father).
When I asked whether he would be able to understand my English, he smiled warmly and replied with careful diction, “Yes, I will.”
After our interview I asked him if there was any reason he should not be ordained to the priesthood. After a moment he said, “Perhaps I should not receive the priesthood.”
Puzzled, I asked, “What do you mean?”
“I have only one tooth,” he replied. “I know I don’t look very good to receive the priesthood. It is all right if you tell me I cannot have the priesthood.”
We sat for a moment while I pondered his comment, tears welling up in my eyes. Then I put my hand on his hand and told him that I had seen many wonderful priesthood holders who had lost their hair, but he had beautiful, thick black hair. I also told him of priesthood holders who had only one ear or one eye, but he had both of his eyes and ears.
I then told him of a friend of mine who had lost his arm to cancer. When that brother had prayed in our home and had asked Heavenly Father to bless my wife and children, I knew he was a great servant of the Lord. I told Tatay how this friend had placed his only hand on the head of a little girl to bless her because she was dying and that I had felt the power of the priesthood that day.
This elderly Filipino smiled and said, “I hope my service to God will also be acceptable.”
We are all flawed in some significant way, and we all know the feelings of inadequacy that come with a new calling. But God accepts the humblest offering of the humblest Saint, and each of us can make a difference. We need not be embarrassed or ashamed; we need only give our best effort to the Lord. In turn He will bless us and magnify us and, in a marvelous way, make us whole.
Magnifying Your Calling
We can be assured that our service is acceptable to God as we magnify our callings in the Church. President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988), a counselor in the First Presidency, said magnifying our callings requires that we:
Have a motivating desire to magnify our callings.
Search and ponder the words of eternal life.
Pray about our callings.
Live the gospel.
Diligently perform the service we are called to render.
From Marion G. Romney, “Magnifying One’s Calling in the Priesthood,” Ensign, July 1973, 89, 90.
On the Lord’s Errand
“Some of you may be shy by nature or consider yourselves inadequate to respond affirmatively to a calling. Remember that this work is not yours and mine alone. It is the Lord’s work, and when we are on the Lord’s errand, we are entitled to the Lord’s help.”
President Thomas S. Monson, “Duty Calls,” Ensign, May 1996, 44.