As a boy I enjoyed working with my Uncle Lyman and Aunt Dorothy on their farm. Uncle Lyman usually led our projects, and Aunt Dorothy often assisted and drove the old Dodge truck. I remember the rush of adrenaline when we got bogged down in the mud or tried to climb a steep hill: Uncle Lyman would yell, “Put ’er in compound, Dorothy!” That’s when I started to pray. Somehow, with the Lord’s help and after some grinding of gears, Aunt Dorothy found compound. With all wheels locked in and churning, the truck lunged forward and our work continued.
“Putting it in compound” refers to shifting into a special gear in which a number of gears are arranged to work together to generate more torque. A compound gear, along with four-wheel drive, allows you to gear down, power up, and move.
I like to think of each of us as part of a compound gear as we serve together in the Church—in wards and branches, in quorums and auxiliaries. Just as gears combine to provide greater power in compound, we have greater power when we join together. As we unite to serve one another, we accomplish much more together than we could on our own. It is thrilling to be engaged and unified as we serve and assist in the Lord’s work.
Serving Is a Blessing
The opportunity to serve is one of the great blessings of membership in the Church. The Lord has said, “If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me,' and we serve Him by serving others.
As we serve, we draw closer to God. We come to know Him in ways that we otherwise might not. Our faith in Him increases. Our problems are put into perspective. Life becomes more satisfying. Our love for others increases, as well as our desire to serve. Through this blessed process, we become more like God, and we are better prepared to return to Him.
As President Marion G. Romney taught: “Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made.”
Serving in the Church, however, can be challenging if we are asked to do something that frightens us, if we grow weary of serving, or if we are called to do something that we do not initially find appealing.
Recently I received a new assignment. I had been serving in the Africa Southeast Area. It was thrilling to serve where the Church is relatively young and being established, and we loved the Saints. Then I was called to return to Church headquarters, and to be honest, I was less than enthusiastic. A change in assignment brought some unknowns.
I pondered the privilege that Joseph Skeen had in receiving his assignment that way. Suddenly I realized that I have the same privilege, as we all do. All Church callings come from God—through His appointed servants.
I felt a distinct spiritual confirmation that my new assignment was inspired. It is important that we make that connection—that our callings literally come to us from God through our priesthood leaders. After this experience, my attitude changed, and I was filled with a deep desire to serve. I am grateful for the blessing of repentance and for my changed heart. I love my new assignment.
Even if we think that our Church calling was simply our priesthood leader’s idea or that it came to us because no one else would accept it, we will be blessed as we serve. But when we recognize God’s hand in our calling and serve with all our hearts, additional power comes into our service, and we become true servants of Jesus Christ.