Thursday, January 4, 2018

Whom the Lord Calls...

President Monson may not have coined the adage "whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies," but he certainly taught it enough that for me he will always be associated with it. That little bit of counsel has comforted me in every calling that has ever stretched me. Of course, comforting others was one thing that President Monson was especially good at.

President Thomas S. Monson passed away late Tuesday night. This doesn't come as any great surprise to members of the Church. His health had been failing for years to the point where he was unable to participate in General Conference this past October. And yet in another sense it is surprising to me.

You see, I always thought of President Monson as the young one.* As a youth, I always looked forward to President Monson's conference addresses. He was the one with all the cool stories and while all the other senior apostles had white hair, he still had dark hair. Perhaps for these reasons, President Monson resonated with the teenage me like no other Church leader.

As I grew older, so did President Monson, until one day a part of me realized that he was no longer the young one. Yet despite the ravages of age, President Monson continued to serve with is whole soul and I continued to view him as "the young one."

In the stake I lived in a dozen years ago, we were treated to a special appearance by President Monson. As President Hinckley's first counselor, he had a rare weekend off free from any assignments. Rather than spend the weekend relaxing at home, President Monson found a stake in the Salt Lake Valley holding stake conference and asked if he could participate. (I'm sure it took the stake president no time at all to say yes.) I remember in ward council the week before stake conference being asked by the bishopric to forward some potential names of families in the ward who could use a personal visit from President Monson. He had indicated to the stake that after conference, he was planning on making some home visits to members in need. I have no doubt that he did that sort of thing in every stake he visited in the fifty plus years he served as an apostle.

His service inspires all of us to be a little kinder. That is a fitting legacy to a great servant of the Lord.

*Of course, for much of his service, President Monson was the young one. Called to the Quorum of the Twelve at 36, President Monson was the youngest member of that body for over 20 years!