Do I make a difference in my calling? I know I can’t be the only one who has ever asked this question. To answer that question, I need to go back a few years.
(Insert Cosmic Time travel Music)
It’s 2012. I’m 30 years old. There I find myself sitting in the Stake President’s office as he is calling me to be an Elders Quorum President. Several things came to mind.
“Are you sure you have the right Jeff Borders?”
“I’ve never been a President before.”
“I’m in way over my head.”
There were many words of encouragement and love from my Stake President. My wife and I were instructed to counsel together about who I could call as my counselors. Ultimately I left his office in a bit of a daze. I didn’t know at the time just how much this calling would change me.
It Wasn’t Easy
Little did I know the amount of time the calling would take or how much it would stretch my family. Even having served as a counselor in the Elders Quorum previously gave me little insight to just how busy an Elders Quorum President could be. Our ward had a lot of welfare needs. I spent countless hours working with families on various aspects of self-reliance. Even though I wasn’t a professional, I counseled to the best of my ability and I taught when I could.
I exhorted my quorum to not only do their home teaching, but to report it. And in all honesty that sometimes seemed like a fruitless endeavor. Though I suspect EQP’s have the same feeling with ministering, though reporting has changed dramatically. There were times that I felt like I was pushing a giant boulder up a hill and not getting anywhere. That’s not to say that there weren’t many spiritual experiences, there were many, it’s just that there were times when I wondered, what am I accomplishing? And there were times I felt completely frustrated and alone.
I know I wasn’t alone, but it felt like a very lonely calling at times. Most things I dealt with were sensitive in nature and I couldn’t tell my wife much of it. So a lot of it was bottled up in side.
With so much time working with a few families, I wondered how I would ever be able minister to the entire quorum. I came up with a few ideas, that weren’t new, but they played to my strengths. Every month I would send out a Presidency Message, where I would offer inspiration or teach a principle. I had immediate feedback on these from multiple people, saying it helped them.
In addition, I also felt inspired to teach regularly. Though little did I know what this one prompting would mean to me many years down the road.
The Lesson On Strongholds
Just one of the many lessons I gave in the three in a half years was about building strongholds of faith for our families. Starting the lesson I shared the following quote from President Eyring:
“As the forces around us increase in intensity, whatever spiritual strength was once sufficient will not be enough. And whatever growth in spiritual strength we once thought was possible, greater growth will be made available to us. Both the need for spiritual strength ad the opportunity to acquire it will increase at rates which we underestimate at our peril.”
After discussing the quote, we spent time studying Alma 50, in which Moroni fortifies the Nephite cities. We discussed what a stronghold is, where strongholds of God exist, and where we might find Satan’s strongholds. We then went on to discuss how Moroni prepared the cities, and what that can tell us about strengthening the fortifications in our own home.
It was a good, solid, doctrinal lesson. I gave the lesson, and then never thought anything about it afterward.
It’s All Coming Back To Me Now
(Insert Cosmic Time travel Music)
I’m back in 2019, sitting in my friend Rich’s house. I can’t even remember what we were talking about, but he starts talking about when I served as Elders Quorum President. To my astonishment, he said something to the effect that he still remembered the lesson on building strongholds, and the impact it had on him. In all honesty I’d completely forgot about it. Every emotion I had experienced during my service as an Elders Quorum President came rushing back to me. The question of “Did I make a difference in my calling?” was being answered right before me. Did my lesson change Rich’s life? Probably not. Rich is such a stalwart and devout guy. But he remembered it.
It made me think back to the inspiration I felt to teach the quorum regularly. I didn’t consider myself the best teacher, but I tried to lead by the Spirit. With Rich’s words, I realized that maybe I did make a difference, but maybe not to just the people I worked with.
Did my calling make a difference on me?
Yes. The answer is yes. My time spent as an Elders Quorum President changed me for the better. Where I wasn’t as patient before, I was starting to learn patience like I hadn’t known before. I grew to love those whom I was called to serve, with a love I couldn’t fathom. I became less judgmental (I’m still working on this) and more understanding and compassionate (this one too). Reliance on the Spirit was a must and I was able to develop such a close bond with the Savior. Those things didn’t come right away, but years later I can see the fruits of that labor.
As a side note, it wasn’t until years later that I realized that by ministering to the one, I was doing exactly what the savior would do. So much of time was spent worrying about my quorum as a whole. And while they were all important as a collective, and home teaching was important, the most important effort I could make was one on one ministry.
We all know that callings aren’t easy. I don’t think they were meant to be. They are meant to stretch us and make us grow. Many times we are left to wonder, did I make a difference? But let’s not forget to look back and ask, what difference did my calling make on me? And even if you don’t like writing, it’s important to write down these things, because hopefully you will be able look back on them someday and see the change in yourself.