The same problems seem to exist in every ward and branch, at least from time to time. There are members who are working themselves to the bone trying to pull others to the Celestial Kingdom kicking and screaming. There are members who complain no matter what you do. There are members who are only there for the refreshments. There are members who are quietly working away, making the world a little brighter as they go.
One day I saw a woman walking along the sidewalk. She stopped and picked something up. As I watched she moved around picking at random spots along the side. I realized she was pulling weeds. After a moment she straightened up, surveyed the area and walked away.
It was a strange sight. She didn't do this at every point. Surely there were weeds all along the path. Why did she clean up that spot?
I have no answer except that it needed to be done and she did it.
That is the way it is with our callings. Sometimes we just do what needs to be done without fanfare and recognition. Whether we fulfilled our calling or not is only between us and the Lord. We are serving him by serving his children.
I often take my callings very personally. I grew up in a small ward that was fairly close. Members often attended meetings and activities because their friend or relative was involved somehow. There was a deep sense of love and support. (That's how I saw it anyway!) As an adult I feel personally slighted when people I count as friends don't attend an activity I planned.
I have especially struggled with my current calling of ward choir director. For a few months I only had one person show up for choir practice. A different person each time but only one! Sometimes there were 2. It was a big deal when we had 4 people consistently. (It was basically the individuals that had been showing up one at a time but now they were all managing to come on the same day!!!!)
It was hard. I mean HARD!!! I felt so rejected. I mean, I know there are some people who just can't sing. I know there are some who have callings that interfere with choir practice. I also know there are people who are very gifted but just don't come. That is what really got to me. I felt like those people who could sing and didn't were sending me a message; WE DON'T LIKE YOU!!!!
I felt so discouraged. I tried to focus on those sweet but few devotees who were so encouraging and so supportive. That might have been enough except a few people came for one practice or a few practices and then stopped. That really felt like rejection!
One day I was folding laundry and feeling really sorry for myself. I was trying so hard to throw one of those pity parties I mentioned a few weeks ago. As I choked back tears thinking how unloved I was in this stupid ward a powerful thought came to my mind. "They have not rejected you, they have rejected me."
What? That's silly. This is just choir. It's not like it's important. It's not like people are becoming apostate or something.
The words came again, this time stronger and accompanied by a peaceful reassurance. "They have not rejected you, they have rejected me."
Okay then. It's not personal. Shake it off and move on. "Forget yourself and go to work." Got it.
Things didn't turn around over night but my attitude changed. I realized that it didn't matter if we had 4 people or 40. What mattered was that we tried. For Christmas we had 15 people sing in the choir and they did a beautiful job!
The point of this is that things don't always go the way we plan. Sometimes we take things too personally. Sometimes we want something the Lord doesn't intend. Sometimes we need to rely more on the Lord and less on Sugardoodle. :)
To those of you who are frustrated by your callings, just do your best. Don't focus on the ones who don't come, focus on the ones who do. Why are they there? Do they have something to give? Do they have a need? Did you serve them as the Lord intended?
I'm not saying forget the others just cut them some slack. And don't be hurt or offended. It likely has nothing to do with you. We all grow at different rates and in different ways. I have learned through expereince that we need to judge less and love more. I am sure that applies to every person in your life.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind;
Charity envieth not;
Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly,
Seeketh not her own,
Is not easily provoked,
Thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things,
Believeth all things,
Hopeth all things,
Endureth all things.
Wherefore... if ye have not charity, ye are nothing,
For charity never faileth.
Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all,
for all things must fail—
But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever;
And whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.