Youths—What Will You Do With Your Life?
“I WANT the very best out of life.” So says one teenage girl. No doubt you too want the same. But just how do you get the “best” out of life? The media and your peers, perhaps even your teachers, may say that it comes by earning a lot of money and enjoying some prestigious career—being a success!
The Bible, however, warns young people that pursuing material success is nothing more than “a striving after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:4) For one thing, few young ones go on to attain riches and fame. Those who do often find themselves bitterly disillusioned. “It’s like an empty box,” says a British youth who pursued a prestigious academic career. “Once you look inside, there’s nothing there.” True, a job can sometimes bring wealth and recognition. But it cannot satisfy your “spiritual need.” (Matthew 5:3) Besides, 1 John 2:17 warns that “the world is passing away.” Even if you were to attain success in this world, it would be short-lived.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 thus urges young ones: “Remember your Creator while you are still young.” (Today’s English Version) Yes, the best possible way to use your life is in the service of Jehovah God. But first, you must qualify to be in God’s service. How can you do so? And what does a life of service to God involve?
Qualifying to Be a Witness of Jehovah
To start with, you must cultivate a desire to serve God—and that desire does not come automatically, even if your parents are Christians. You must come to have your own relationship with Jehovah. “Praying helps you to have your own relationship with Jehovah,” says a teenage girl.—Psalm 62:8; James 4:8.
Romans 12:2 highlights another step you must take. It says: “Prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Have you ever found yourself doubting some of the things you have been taught? Then follow the Bible’s exhortation, and ‘prove to yourself’ that these things are true! Do your own research. Read the Bible and Bible-based publications. Learning about God is not simply an intellectual process, though. Take the time to meditate on what you read so that it sinks down into your figurative heart. This will cause your love for God to grow.—Psalm 1:2, 3.
Next, try informally sharing what you are learning, perhaps with your schoolmates. Preaching from door to door is the next step. You may occasionally meet a schoolmate as you preach, and this may unnerve you at first. But the Bible urges us not to be “ashamed of the good news.” (Romans 1:16) You are bringing a message of life and hope! Why be ashamed of it?
Now, if your parents are Christians, you may already accompany them in this work. But are you able to do more than stand at the door in silence or simply place magazines and tracts? Are you able to speak at the door yourself, using the Bible to instruct the householder? If not, then get some help from your parents or a mature member of the congregation. Make it your goal to qualify as an unbaptized publisher of the good news!
In time, you will be moved to make a dedication—vowing to God that you will serve him henceforth. (Romans 12:1) However, dedication is not simply a private affair. God requires all to make “public declaration for salvation.” (Romans 10:10) At the time of baptism, you first make verbal declaration of your faith. Baptism in water follows. (Matthew 28:19, 20) Admittedly, baptism is a serious step. But do not hold back because you feel that you might fail somehow. If you depend on God for strength, he will give you “the power beyond what is normal” to help you stand firm.—2 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Peter 5:10.
At the time of baptism, you become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Isaiah 43:10) This should have a dramatic impact on how you will use your life. Dedication involves ‘disowning yourself.’ (Matthew 16:24) You may forsake some personal goals and ambitions and ‘seek first the kingdom of God.’ (Matthew 6:33) Dedication and baptism thus open up many opportunities to do so. Let’s consider some of them.
Opportunities to Serve God Full-Time
● Pioneering is one such opportunity. A pioneer publisher is an exemplary baptized Christian who has arranged to spend a minimum of 70 hours each month preaching the good news. Spending an increased amount of time in the field will help you to develop your preaching and teaching skills. Many pioneers have experienced the joy of helping their Bible students become baptized Witnesses. What secular job could possibly be as exciting and satisfying?
To cover their living expenses, most pioneers have part-time secular jobs. Many plan ahead for this responsibility by learning a trade in school or from their parents. If you and your parents feel that it would be advantageous for you to obtain some supplemental training after secondary school, make sure your motive is, not to make a lot of money, but to support your ministry and perhaps serve as a full-time minister.
However, the focus of a pioneer’s life is, not his secular job, but his ministry—helping others to gain life! Why not set pioneering as a personal goal? Pioneering often leads to other privileges. For example, some pioneers move to areas where there is a greater need for Kingdom publishers. Others learn a foreign language and serve either with a local foreign-language congregation or even in a foreign land. Yes, pioneering is a rewarding way of life!
● Bible School for Christian Couples is another door of opportunity. This school gives married couples specialized training so that they can be used more fully by Jehovah and his organization. Many graduates are assigned to serve where there is a greater need in their home country. Others may receive an assignment in foreign lands if their circumstances permit. Graduates may serve as temporary special pioneers to open up and expand the work in remote and isolated areas.
● Bible School for Single Brothers was established to train qualified single elders and ministerial servants. The intensive eight-week course covers such subjects as the responsibilities of elders and ministerial servants, organization, and public speaking. Some are assigned to serve within their own countries. Others are asked to take foreign service assignments.
● Bethel service involves serving as a volunteer at one of the branch facilities of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some Bethel family members serve directly in the production of Bible literature. Others are given support assignments, such as the maintenance of buildings and equipment or the physical care of the Bethel family. All assignments are sacred privileges of service to Jehovah. In addition, those at Bethel have the joy of knowing that whatever they do, it benefits large numbers of their brothers around the world.
Sometimes brothers with special skills are invited to serve at Bethel. Most, however, receive their training after they arrive. Those at Bethel do not serve for material gain but are satisfied with the provisions made for food, lodging, and a modest reimbursement for personal expenses. One young Bethel family member describes his service in this way: “It’s fantastic! The routine is challenging, but I’ve received a lot of blessings serving here.”
● International service allows one to share in the construction of branch facilities and Kingdom Halls. International servants, as they are called, travel to foreign lands to aid in such construction work. This is a form of sacred service, similar to the work of those who constructed Solomon’s temple. (1 Kings 8:13-18) The arrangements for the care of international servants are similar to those for the Bethel family. What a privilege these brothers and sisters have serving in this sphere of activity to Jehovah’s praise!
Serve Jehovah Whole-Souled
Serving Jehovah is the very best way to use your life. Why not consider setting a personal goal of serving God full-time? Discuss full-time service with your parents, your local elders, and your circuit overseer. If you are interested in Bethel, the Bible School for Single Brothers, or the Bible School for Christian Couples, attend the meetings for potential applicants that are held at circuit assemblies and district conventions.
Granted, not all may qualify or be able to serve full-time. Sometimes health problems, financial situations, and family obligations limit how much one can do. Even so, all dedicated Christians must heed the Bible’s command: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” (Matthew 22:37) Jehovah requires that you do the very best that your circumstances allow you to do. So whatever your situation, make serving Jehovah the focus of your life. Set realistic theocratic goals. Yes, “remember your Creator while you are still young”—and you will be blessed eternally for having done so!
Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible quotations are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.