We Did Magnify Our Office unto the Lord – Jacob 1:19

19 And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.
(Jacob 1:19)

What does it mean to “magnify” a calling or a responsibility?

The most common meaning of the word in modern usage is to look at something up close, to make it seem larger than it is for the purpose of inspecting it and understanding its details (Oxford English Dictionary). But the Middle English term magnifien meant “to speak or act for the glory or honor (of someone or something)” which was much closer to the original Latin word magnificus – “great, elevated, noble” (Online Etymology Dictionary).

President Harold B. Lee taught that magnifying a responsibility means recognizing its importance and acting accordingly:

When one becomes a holder of the priesthood, he becomes an agent of the Lord. He should think of his calling as though he were on the Lord’s errand. That is what it means to magnify the priesthood. Think of the Master asking each of you, as this young boy did of Joseph and Mary, Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? Whatever you do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord’s business (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, Chapter 10: “Loving, Faithful Priesthood Service”).

After sharing this quote, President Dallin H. Oaks asked the following question:

If the Lord Himself were to ask you to help one of His sons or daughters—which He has done through His servants—would you do it? And if you did, would you act as His agent, “on the Lord’s errand,” relying on His promised help? (“The Powers of the Priesthood,” General Conference, April 2018).

Today, I will recommit to magnify the responsibilities I have been given: to recognize their true importance and act accordingly. As I fulfill church callings, ministering assignments, and family responsibilities, I will remember that, when I am completing an assignment from the Lord, I am acting as His agent, and I should perform that task to the highest standard of excellence.

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