With the death of Nephi, Jacob (Nephi’s brother) takes over the responsibility of maintaining the history of the Nephite people. In the first chapter of Jacob’s writing, he describes this new responsibility and also mentions his calling into the priesthood, having been ordained by his brother Nephi. Regarding this calling, Jacob writes that he and his brother Joseph “magnified their office,” taking their responsibilities so seriously that they considered “the sins of the people [to be] upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence” (Jacob 1:19).
When I was a young man, one thing that my father taught me that has stuck with me is “If you accept a job, do the job.” Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Yet, how often do we find ourselves accepting a job (or title) in the church and then, for some reason, not doing the work associated with that job?
The church is organized with many jobs, ranging from ordained offices to positions that are elected or appointed. The sum total of the work associated with these jobs is what the church is able to accomplish at any point in time. Obviously, each job that is vacant detracts from the overall work of the church since the work of that job is not being done.
However, what hurts the church even more is when a job appears to be “filled” — a person is occupying the job — but the work is not being done. When that occurs, either there will be a false assumption that the work associated with the job is being done when it’s not, or, depending on the job, the work may not be able to be done at all until the person occupying the position vacates that position so someone else can be assigned to the job. In short, we don’t help the church by accepting a job and not doing it — the job is better left vacant.
In order to avoid putting ourselves in this position of occupying a job and not doing it, here are some things we should consider when a job is offered to us:
Understand the term length of the job
Ordained offices are for life (unless you’re ordained to a “higher” office). Elected offices are for one or two years. Appointed positions may not have a specific term length.
Understand all of the duties of the job
Make sure you’re willing and able to perform all of the duties for the entire term length of the position.
Understand what will happen if you don’t do the job
As mentioned earlier, Jacob recognized that the sins of the people would be on his head if he didn’t do his job of teaching the Word of God. Perhaps it would be sobering for us to consider that people could possibly miss out on salvation because we don’t do our job in the church today.
Consider what other job you may need to give up
If your plate is full regarding church work, it may make sense for you to give up an existing job in order to take on a new one. Consider the consequences of this and which job (existing or new) will allow you to add the most value to the work of the church.
Pray about it
If unsure about any of the above, bring it to the Lord, and He will direct you. He does want you to work for the church but allow Him to help you choose the best option(s) for you.
If, after following these steps, you decide to accept a job for the church, God bless you! However, if you accept the job, make sure you do the job — that’s the only way to truly help the church in its mission today.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.