The Hardest Calling In My Church


One of my church’s hardest and most thankless callings is the call to “support and sustain” a spouse in his/her church responsibilities. When I have received a calling I have also received the blessings and joy that come with that service. Associations are had, friendships are made and, on occasion, compliments come one’s way. There seems to be, to some extent at least, a small earthly reward in addition to the promises of the Lord. On the other hand, it seems that the supporting of a spouse goes mostly unnoticed and unappreciated. Over the years I have come to appreciate this great service called “supporting” as it requires true Christ-likeness. There is a tremendous amount of “supporting” going on in my church, most of which goes unnoticed.

Many years ago I was serving as the Young Men’s President in our congregation and had been for quite some time. I spent many hours serving the youth while my wife battled with our five small children at home. A father of one of the young men in our program stopped me in the church hallway to thank me for spending the time in service to his son. I thanked him kindly and then jokingly told him that the one who really deserved the “thanks” was my wife, as she was willing to give of my time while I was in service to the boys. On the way home from church services that day, my wife told me that same brother had sought her out to thank her for supporting me in my calling. She paused for a moment, and then said, “You know, I was beginning to tire of supporting you in this call, but I think I can go on a little bit longer.” I was thankful to this brother for taking the time to recognize her service. Small words of appreciation can go a long way. I have observed over the years some who have strong testimonies, and serve well when called upon, but lack the understanding that being a great “supporter” of their spouse is indeed a “high calling” which requires, at times, even greater devotion from them than from their spouse who has been called to an “official” position in the church.

I once had an interview with a Bishop’s wife. At the end of the interview, I complimented her on supporting her husband, who had faithfully been serving for many years. She answered my compliment with a line I have never forgotten. She humbly replied, “When I promised the Lord I would give everything I had to Him, I figured that included my husband!” What faith, I thought!

“Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.” (D&C 97:8)

I have a strong testimony for married couples that although only “one” is called, both are serving. Often, the one “called” to a church position does the least when giving service to God. May we all remember that a call to “support” is oftentimes a more holy call than any other and that every sacrifice, including giving support, which the Lord commands, are accepted of him.

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