Monday, December 11, 2017

Matthew 21:28-32 - Asking for a release

What do you do when you feel like it is time for you to be released from your church calling?  What do you do?  Can you (should you) ask your bishop for a release?

Referencing Handbook 2 - Chapter 19 under “Releasing Members from Church Callings"

"Releases from Church callings should come by inspiration, except when a person’s change of residence necessitates a release or when a calling is for a specific time period, such as full-time missionary service.
Releases from Church callings are made by the same level of authority that extended the callings."

I can not find anywhere in the handbook where it gives instructions to the members on asking for
releases.  So, what are you to do?  If feelings of frustration, bitterness, or even anger are coming because of you church calling then this is not in harmony with the purpose of the calling.  This can lead to dissension and disputations.  None of this is helpful in building God’s kingdom.

As I pondered this my mind first went to the story of the two sons from Matthew Chapter 21

28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

I thought of this verse because it reminded me that it is worse to say that you will do a calling and then not do it.  Likewise, if you have been doing your calling, have decided you are “done” and then quit doing your calling or do it halfheartedly, you are in the same situation.   After reading this verse, this quote by Sterling W. Sill came to mind:

     "You have been “set apart’ to do a particular part of the work of the Church.  His position is now yours.  It doesn’t belong to anyone else.  No one has a right to it while you have it.  If you do not do the job, the job will not be done.  This responsibility is not something to be taken lightly.  The Church is injured most by those who say, as did the vine dresser’s son, “I go,’ but went not.  Had he said “I go not” someone else would have done the job and no harm would have resulted.  (Matt 21:28-32)
     "It is hoped that for YOU to be “set apart” will mean that everyone will be better off because His work was given into your hands.  It is a great thing to be “set apart” in the work of the Lord.  We should not only pray for Him to help us do our work, but we should pray also that we may be able to help Him to His work."

With this in mind, I would suggest the following course of action if you feel like it is time for you to be released.
  1. Keep doing your calling.  Do you best.  Seek to magnify it.  
  2. Seek inspiration on what you should do.  As you honestly go to your Heavenly Father in prayer, with a willingness to do his will, you will be guided in what you should do.  
  3. Talk to the President or auxiliary leader over you.  For example, if you are in the nursery, go talk to the primary president.  Counsel with her.  She is entitled to inspiration for her calling.  As part of her stewardship, she can be inspired in what course of action would be appropriate.  Perhaps is is simply a change of class assignment, or a different teaching partner.  
  4. Talk to a member of the Bishopric.  Revelation come from many sources.  Sometimes the bishopric is not aware that your circumstances have changed.  As you counsel together, the inspiration will flow.  
  5. Finally, wait patiently on the Lord.  All things will work together for your good. (D&C 91:1-3)  You may find as you look back on this time that by continuing in your calling until the inspiration came to release you, that you had more to learn and additional growth.
Remember this passage from D&C 98:1-3
1.  Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;
2.  Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
3. Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord.