Week 19 Ashton Stake Presidency Lock-down message
These lines from a Peter Pan song came to mind this morning…
John, you be the leader, “I shall try to be worthy of my post!”Following the leader, the leader, the leader, We’re following the leaderWherever he may go”Tee dum, tee dee, a teedle ee do tee dayTee dum, tee dee, it’s part of the game we playTee dum, tee dee, the words are easy to say
In the song John didn’t choose to be the leader, and all he could offer was to try to live up to the call. I can relate!
In a church setting we often talk about those who serve as being “volunteers” but they are not. Service in the church is by call. Hebrews 5:4 teaches “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” Whilst this scripture talks specifically of priesthood, President Oaks has taught us, that all church calls come with priesthood authority.
When called as a Stake Presidency under the direction of Elder Sabin, little did we know that we would preside over a stake that could not meet for over 4 months. These are unprecedented times for the church. By very definition unprecedented says there is no manual or training that prepares anyone to lead in these times. There is only one way forward, and that is to pray and put faith in our priesthood leaders.
Likewise your Bishops are sailing in uncharted waters, we ask that you will have faith in them, as they in turn follow President Harrott’s priesthood keys. Please pray for them daily.
I was once taught that you can only ever be as good a leader, as you are a follower. NO ONE in the church is without a leader. If I choose not to follow President Harrott in action and word, the example that I set to those who follow me, is that following is unimportant. So it is with you, in your calls to serve. Its hard to lead people if you have just taught them following is unimportant!
Along with “Volunteer” another misnomer I often hear is “Blind Faith” Often a derogatory term levelled at those that follow faithfully. You do not have to understand everything for your faith to be unblinded.
Remember when Adam prayed, and the angel asked him why. Adams reply “I know not save the Lord commanded” Was this blind faith? Of course not. He knew God, he walked and talked with him in the garden, he was expecting instructions. His Faith in God was complete not blind. And there lies the key. Faith is in God, not in the principal, instruction or policy. Adam was happy to accept anything God told him, becuase he knew and loved HIm. Not blindly but with pure faith. If you accept President Nelson as a Prophet , following his council is easy, whatever that council may be.”Doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith”
It is no coincidence that the first questions in a temple recommend relate to our testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, closely followed by our testimony of Priesthood leadership. If we can have faith in those who lead, like the lost boys we should be able to sing “following the leader” with confidence.
As a Presidency we don’t always agree on things initially. I was taught a powerful lesson by Elder Tunnicliffe last year. When going to meetings don’t go with the intention of getting your way, go with the intention of finding the Lords way. I know that President Harrott will always seek our council on matters of importance because he seeks the Lords way., Likewise he knows we will always speak our mind, offer construct opinions and respect inspired decisions. By doing this we find unity and harmony as presidency. It makes following President Harrott easy. I hope you have that experience in the presidencies, bishoprics and councils you serve in.
I have a burning testimony that President Harrott is called of God. I know he would be quite happy if it was anyone else other than him, he does not aspire to leadership but rather serves out of faith, duty and love. He always speaks of individuals not programs and has a strong desire to be a follower of the Area Presidency. We can follow him with safety.
“Following the leader, the leader, the leader, We’re following the leader – Wherever he may go”
All the presidency messages can be viewed HERE