The latest Ensign mag (April, 2019) has an interesting article titled: “Instrument or Agents” by Lloyd Newell. It concerns walking the line between blind obedience and initiative taking. It starts by quoting 2 LDS scriptures:
I will make an instrument of thee in my hands unto the salvation of many souls. (Alma 17:11)
Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass must righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. (D&C 58:27-28)
He contrasts an instrument (something that doesn’t act for itself) with an agent (someone who is bold, assertive, and resourceful). Comparing the former with someone who is obsessive about obedience with the latter, someone who is creative and thinks outside the box.
Interestingly enough Lloyd proposes a continuum. With blind obedience at one end and extreme initiative taking at the other end. And he ends up proposing a middle ground. What one might call a gray area in between the two:
Gods wants proactive, initiative-taking agents as much as He wants submissive, obedient instruments.
That’s not the way I would phrase it, but I generally agree. We each have to decide where on the continuum we want to be. I would hope that many of us feel closer to the “proactive, initiative-taking” side.