As a new convert, you probably won’t receive, just yet, the so-called “important callings.” Most new converts, except in areas where the church is new, aren’t chosen to lead organizations or do the jobs that garner attention and praise. One of the wonderful things about the church, though, is that regardless of how certain individuals might perceive a calling, there is no such thing as an unimportant calling. We don’t invent work. Every job that is assigned is necessary and important. J. Reuben Clark pointed out,“In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve but how.”
In fact, the most important work is really done by the people with less conspicuous callings. Visit the nursery one day. In this room, tucked away in some corner of the building, are women (and sometimes men) quietly caring for the toddlers while their mothers and fathers attend their meetings or carry out their callings. They don’t just babysit. There is a schedule outlined by the church, with real lessons prepared and taught. It’s an educational time for the children. Hardly anyone will be able to tell you who is serving in that room, other than the children and parents, but they are there, teaching frightened little ones to feel safe in church and introducing them to gospel principles. Most parents would find church an impossible task without those dedicated nursery workers, who serve without fanfare, but who are the church to their students.
When you attend a ward activity, take note of the fact that when you arrived, the room was prepared and decorated, and plans had been made. The head of the activities committee is likely to be the one who stands in front of everyone and welcomes the crowds, but there were many unseen people who came in early to prepare this wonderful event for you. Afterwards, many people will stay late, often without an assignment, just to help clean up so the building is in good shape for the Sabbath.
When you find a clean bathroom, hymn books neatly in place in the chapel, a meal prepared, or a meeting running smoothly, there are people behind these things, working quietly and without attention or praise.
As a new member, it is likely you will be one of the people who make this happen. It may be that few people know what you did, but the Lord knows and you know. Your quiet, private contributions to the well-being of the church are part of the bigger picture. I have on my desk a quote from President Hinckley that I like to read as I start my work each day. It says, in part, “Though my work may be menial, though my contribution may be small, I can perform it with dignity and offer it with unselfishness.” Later he adds, “The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts. (Gordon B. Hinckley, “I Believe,” Ensign, Aug 1992, 2)
The church is filled with people working quietly and without attention. If they disappeared, the church could no longer function. Don’t worry if you’re not yet the person out front. The Book of Mormon is filled with people who were not the stars of the story, and yet who changed the world with their quieter contributions. Howard W. Hunter, a former president of the church, once devoted an entire talk to some of these people. He said,
“Not all of us are going to be like Moroni, catching the acclaim of our colleagues all day every day. Most of us will be quiet, relatively unknown folks who come and go and do our work without fanfare. To those of you who may find that lonely or frightening or just unspectacular, I say, you are “no less serviceable” than the most spectacular of your associates. You, too, are part of God’s army.
Consider, for example, the profound service a mother or father gives in the quiet anonymity of a worthy Latter-day Saint home. Think of the Gospel Doctrine teachers and Primary choristers and Scoutmasters and Relief Society visiting teachers who serve and bless millions but whose names will never be publicly applauded or featured in the nation’s media.
Tens of thousands of unseen people make possible our opportunities and happiness every day. As the scriptures state, they are “no less serviceable” than those whose lives are on the front pages of newspapers.”
To read the rest of the talk and to learn who some of the “no less serviceable people in the scriptures and church history are, visit, “Howard W. Hunter, “‘No Less Serviceable’,” Ensign, Apr 1992, 64
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.