Establishing the Church Without the Gospel

My goal as a blogger is to write about those things that will help each of us draw nearer to the lord. The Lord said, “draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” With that image in mind I would like to discuss the following counsel given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in Oct 2010 General conference.

“Our Heavenly Father has given His children two lines of communication with Him—what we may call the personal line and the priesthood line.”

“We must use both the personal line and the priesthood line in proper balance to achieve the growth that is the purpose of mortal life. If personal religious practice relies too much on the personal line, individualism erases the importance of divine authority. If personal religious practice relies too much on the priesthood line, individual growth suffers.”

In my opinion, the challenge to keep proper balance with the personal and priesthood lines is  found more often out of balance favoring the priesthood line, thus individual growth suffers.

This can occur when members attend church more out of habit than hungering and thirsting after righteousness. This may be what President Uchtdorf had in mind when he said:

“The Church, with all its organizational structure and programs, offers many important activities for its members aimed at helping families and individuals to serve God and each other. Sometimes, however, it can appear that these programs and activities are closer to the center of our heart and soul than the core doctrines and principles of the gospel.” Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Christlike Attributes the Wind beneath Our Wings,” Ensign, Nov. 2005, 100

Those who attend church out of habit, having the programs and activities closer to the center of their hearts and soul than the doctrine of Christ, will miss out on the greater manifestations of the Holy Ghost that comes to those who are balanced in their religious practices. Those who are balanced in the priesthood and personal lines, hunger and thirst after righteousness, and as the Savior promised they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 12:6).

Church Callings-the High and Low Ones

One cultural manifestation of being unbalanced in the priesthood line is seen in our attitude towards church callings. The callings we receive in the church allow us to serve others. And we know that when we’re in the service of others we are also serving God (Mosiah 2:17). Those who love the Lord desire to serve him with all their hearts in whatever position they are called to.

We are taught to be in the world but not of the world—however when it comes to church callings we have a tendency to mimic the world.  This can be observed whenever a “higher” calling is extended in the ward or stake. The next time someone receives a “higher” calling in your Stake or Ward, note the outpouring of heart felt congratulations, even high-fives they receive. Now compare this with a “lesser” calling, for example, a clerk. Big difference!

Obviously, higher callings have greater responsibility and influence than lesser callings. But does that mean those who receive a higher calling are some how more acceptable to the Lord? If this is true, then we need to ask an important question: what calling(s) in the church makes us “acceptable” to the Lord, which ones do not?

It’s Not Where We Serve, but How We Serve

How we serve the Lord is more important than where we serve Him.  The Lord knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts and delights to honor those who serve him in righteousness and truth (D&C 76:5). We can serve the Lord in righteousness and truth no matter what calling we receive.

Those who understand the two forms of communication provided by Heavenly Father will strife for balance, as Elder Oak’s taught.

I hope each of us can have a better appreciation for the various callings found in the church, and will understand and believe that every calling can be the means of serving God, who has told us repeatedly, He is no respecter of persons. The clerk and the Stake President can come before the Lord and be on equal footing, the calling doesn’t make a difference. It is what is in our hearts that makes a difference (D&C 33:1).

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