Naaman was used to commanding respect. As the leader of the Syrian army, he was surrounded by people who would do his bidding. So when the prophet Elisha sent a messenger with instructions on how to be healed, and when those instructions seemed ridiculous, he was angry. “Behold,” he complained, “I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper” (2 Kings 5:11).
Fortunately, Naaman had sensible servants who were willing to give him corrective feedback: “If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:13).
It’s human nature to want to do something big, something respected and noteworthy. But most of the time, for most of us, the right thing to do is unexceptional and inconspicuous. Are we as willing to do “some small thing” as we would be do to “some great thing?”
Sometimes, our motives are good. We want to do the right thing, but perhaps we want to do it in the wrong way. After experiencing disappointment as a missionary, Alma wished that he had the voice of an angel, so that his listeners would pay more attention. “But behold, I am a man, and do sin in my wish;” he conceded, “for I ought to be content with the things which the Lord hath allotted unto me” (Alma 29:1-3).
Nearly fourteen years ago, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, who was at the time a counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave a talk entitled “Lift Where You Stand.” He encouraged us to serve in the calling we’ve been given, rather than wishing we could serve in some other way. He said, “Whatever your calling, I urge you to see it as an opportunity not only to strengthen and bless others but also to become what Heavenly Father wants you to become.”
About nine years later, Elder Uchtdorf was released from his calling in the First Presidency and returned to his position as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Several days later, he made the following statement in a Facebook post:
In the last couple of days, I have seen countless comments on social media and have heard many questions regarding how I feel now that I am no longer a counselor in the First Presidency. I appreciate your concern for my welfare, but I assure you, I’m just fine….
My friends, let us work together on the task at hand — to help all of God’s children know that He has a plan for them and to let them know they can find true joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I know that God is in charge. HE is at the helm. HE wants us to serve wherever we are in this beautiful worldwide Church. No matter where we are on this planet and to whichever calling we are assigned, let us do our best to serve God and our fellowman.“Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf responds to questions, comments: ‘I’m just fine,’ he writes,” Deseret News, 17 January 2018
Today, I will “lift where [I] stand.” I will be grateful for the opportunities God has given me to serve here and now.