“The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.” (Julie Beck)
I thought this was a strong recommendation, and one that has great merit. Then, as I finished reading the message, I flipped through the scripture references noted at the bottom. That was when I got my hit over the head.
Behold, I command you that you need not suppose that you are called to preach until you are called. Wait a little longer, until you shall have my word, my rock, my church, and my gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine. And then, behold, according to your desires, yea, even according to your faith shall it be done until you. (Doctrine and Covenants 11:15-17)
You see, our church has a lay ministry, which means that there are no paid positions. The result of that is that you don't apply for teaching or leadership positions - our Bishop extends the call to serve as he feels guided by the spirit. This has been really hard for me over the years, because if I was in any other church I feel certain I would have studied religion and then gone into professional ministry. I have always wanted to spend my life teaching others the passion I have for the gospel. Instead, because of my talent in music, I have spent nearly all of the last 16 years serving in the church in music, rather than teaching.
I felt this none more acutely than over the past week, as our church had a big shake up in callings. It seemed as nearly everyone was shifted around except me. I am in a church that has 5 or 6 really talented musicians, and I watched as every one of them was called to teach in some form or another, which obviously meant that I had to retain my music calling again.
It was really hard at first. I even cried as I felt such a yearning to teach. I often hear of people called to teach who don't want to do it, or don't bother doing it, and I felt it so unfair when I am sitting here wanting nothing more than to teach. But then over the next week I sort of settled back into music, with some new ideas and a renewed love for a unique way of sharing the gospel.
Then I read that passage. You know, sometimes I read the scriptures and see it more as a historical record, or a general spiritual guide, than as personal revelation. Then one day I am guided to such an obvious answer to a prayer and it makes me laugh - there is no doubt that God has a sense of humour! (For another example, read this - it was also a hit me over the head moment!)
And so I am feeling at peace once again. I am sitting more at the piano, singing in worship. I am composing and arranging again. I have a Christmas program to write and rehearse. And I have much guidance and counsel from that section of scripture to prepare myself for the time when I will be called to teach.