Tuesday, June 4, 2019

President M. Russell Ballard on innovation in callings

President M. Russell Ballard (born October 8, 1928) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985. He became acting president of the Twelve in January 2018.
"Be innovative. As we work to magnify our callings, we should seek the inspiration of the Spirit to solve problems in ways that will best help the people we serve. We have handbooks of instruction, and their guidelines should be followed. But within that framework are substantial opportunities to think, to be creative, and to make use of individual talents. The instruction to magnify our callings is not a command to embellish and complicate them. To innovate does not necessarily mean to expand; very often it means to simplify.
"Because the eternal principle of agency gives us the freedom to choose and think for ourselves, we should become increasingly able to solve problems. We may make the occasional mistake, but as long as we are following gospel principles and guidelines, we can learn from those mistakes and become more understanding of others and more effective in serving them.
"Being innovative also means that we do not have to be told everything we should do. The Lord said, 'It is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant' (D&C 58:26). We trust you, brothers and sisters, to use inspiration. We trust that you will do so within the framework of Church policies and principles. We trust that you will be wise in counseling together to help build faith and testimony in the lives of those whom you serve."
- M. Russell Ballard, "O Be Wise," General Conference October 2006
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

Most of us don't think about being "innovative" when we consider our callings. We too often feel like we have a standard, pre-determined set of duties to fulfill. President Ballard encourages us to be aware of guidelines given in handbooks and elsewhere, but to consider those things as a "framework"—and to seek for inspiration on creative use of our talents in order to better serve and bless.

But perhaps the most profound statement of the excerpt is, "To innovate does not necessarily mean to expand; very often it means to simplify." We don't always have to complicate or embellish in order to serve most effectively.

Using our agency most effectively, we will invoke divine inspiration to serve most effectively.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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