Mormons get callings. They are voluntary. They are varied. I have taught 11-year-old Sunday School and been in charge of the ward newsletter. And a lot of stuff in between.
I wasn't really involved with church in my 20s. I ran wild, showed up often enough to keep my place at Brigham Young University. That's about it. After BYU, I more or less didn't show up at all. And then I decided things needed to change and I stuck a toe back in the water and by 30, I was up to my eyeballs in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and pretty happy about it.
When my husband Kenny and I got married and moved to our ward in Huntington Beach, I expected the bishop to call me in and put me right to work. I had just left a teaching career where I had also coordinated a major program that attracted national interest. So, I was good at my job. Lots of life experience. Lots of job skills. Lots of life skills.
When we met with our new bishop, I fully expected to be called to teach something. I mean, that's what I do, you know? Or lead something. Probably run the activities committee because the chairperson was leaving. That would be fun. I'd only need two months for our ward activities to become legendary.
The bishop sat us down. My husband got called as ward mission leader. I got called as ... the stake building scheduler. What? To say I felt underutilized would be an understatement of massive proportions. But I smiled and said, “Sure.” And then I did the job. I did it as well as I knew how and to be honest, it was so easy, it felt like cheating. And to be even more honest, I really wished I had something more to do. But I did it.
Months passed and my bishop, who was in charge of our stake building shared by three Mormon wards, called me in for something else. I don't remember what. And he asked me how the building scheduling was going and I smiled and said, “It's great.” And then something funny happened. A look of total relief washed over his face and he thanked me profusely for handling it. He couldn't believe there hadn't been any problems and he was amazed at how smoothly things were going. And I realized right then and there that the Lord had put my skills to use right where he needed them most: with me in a position to remove one major stress from my overburdened bishop's shoulders.
It was a humbling lesson and one that taught me that the most important thing I can do in any calling is to make sure that my piece of the puzzle is one that whoever I serve under never, ever has to worry about. Doesn't matter how large or small that piece is; it shouldn't ever have to cross their minds other than for them to think of it and dismiss it immediately as “taken care of.” Then they can throw their energy to other more important things. I don't think I'm meant to be a captain because I'm so effective as a lieutenant. And it feels really good to make someone's life a little easier that way.
Melanie Jacobson is a blogger and author of several novels including "The List," "Not My Type," "Twitterpated" and "Smart Move." She blogs at readandwritestuff.blogspot.com.