Chapter 38

What Will I Do With My Life?

“At first, I didn’t worry about the future. But as I got closer to graduating from school, I realized that I was going out into the real world, with real jobs. And real bills.”—Alex.

IMAGINE that you’re planning a journey that will take you many miles from home. Probably you’d first consult a map to determine the best route. It’s similar with planning your future. “You have a wide variety of options,” says Michael, a young man who now serves at one of the branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. How do you sort through the vast array of choices? “It’s all about goals,” Michael says.

Think of a goal as a target destination. You’re not likely to reach it by wandering about aimlessly. It’s far better to pull out a map and plot your course, so to speak. In this way you’ll be following the admonition of Proverbs 4:26: “Smooth out the course of your foot.” The Contemporary English Version renders that phrase: “Know where you are headed.”

In the coming years, you’ll make many important decisions regarding worship, employment, marriage, family, and other vital matters. Wise choices will be easier to make if you first know where you’re headed. And as you plot your course in life, there’s one factor that you really must not ignore.

“Remember Your Creator”

To be truly happy, you must take to heart the words of wise King Solomon: “Remember your Creator while you are still young.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1, Today’s English Version) In other words, the choices you make in life should be governed by your desire to please God.

Why is having this priority important? The Bible says at Revelation 4:11: “You are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.” All creatures in heaven and on earth owe a debt of gratitude to the Creator. Are you thankful that he has given you “life and breath and all things”? (Acts 17:25) Don’t you feel compelled to give something back to Jehovah God in appreciation for all that he has given you?

Keeping their Creator close in mind, many youths among Jehovah’s Witnesses have pursued the full-time ministry. Consider some of the thrilling avenues of service that may be open to you.

Pioneering. Regular pioneers spend an increased amount of time in the ministry. Through training and experience, they sharpen their skills as Bible teachers.

Serving where there is a greater need. Some move to an area where there are few Kingdom proclaimers. Others learn a new language and serve with a nearby foreign-language congregation or even move to a foreign land.*

Missionary service. Qualified pioneers who have health and stamina are trained for service in foreign lands. Missionaries lead exciting, fulfilling lives.

Bethel service. Bethel family members serve in branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In some lands this involves the production and shipping of Bible literature.

International service. International servants travel to other lands to aid in the construction of Kingdom Halls, Assembly Halls, and branch facilities.

Ministerial Training School. Qualified unmarried elders and ministerial servants are trained in organizational matters and in public speaking. Some graduates take on a foreign assignment.

Plotting Your Course

The full-time ministry is a noble goal, and it brings countless blessings. Forethought, though, will be needed. For example, ask yourself, ‘What abilities and skills do I have that I could use to support myself?’

Kelly had a clear goal of becoming a pioneer, so she plotted her course when it came to employment. “I had to choose something that would allow me to support myself in my ministry,” she says.

Kelly enrolled in a vocational program in high school. This helped her to achieve her primary goal. “The full-time ministry was what I wanted to do,” Kelly says. “Everything else was secondary.” Kelly is happy with her choice. “I feel my decision was the best one that I could have made,” she says.

Ask for Directions

If you were traveling in an unfamiliar area, at some point you would likely need to ask for directions. You can do the same when planning your future. Get the input of others. Proverbs 20:18 says: “By counsel plans themselves are firmly established.”

Your parents are one vital resource. But you can also seek the advice of other mature Christians whose life reflects godly wisdom. “Look at those who are good examples as adults in your congregation or nearby areas,” recommends Roberto, a Bethel family member in his 20’s.

More than anyone else, Jehovah God wants to help you make choices in life that will give you the greatest happiness. So ask him to help you ‘go on perceiving what his will is’ regarding your future. (Ephesians 5:17) In every aspect of your life, follow the admonition of Proverbs 3:5, 6: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.”

For more information, watch the DVD “Young People Ask—What Will I Do With My Life?” It is available in more than 30 languages

[Footnote]

KEY SCRIPTURE

“‘Test me out . . . ,’ Jehovah of armies has said, ‘whether I shall not open to you people the floodgates of the heavens and actually empty out upon you a blessing until there is no more want.’”—Malachi 3:10.

TIP

Talk to some who have been in the full-time ministry for many years. Find out why they chose such a career and how they feel they have been blessed.

DID YOU KNOW . . . ?

An electric current can make an appliance run. Similarly, God’s holy spirit can move you to accomplish much in his service.—Acts 1:8.

ACTION PLAN!

To help me get more joy in the ministry, I will talk to ․․․․․

What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

● What abilities and skills do you have?

● In what ways can you use your abilities to praise Jehovah?

● Which particular form of full-time service mentioned in this chapter appeals to you most?

[Blurb on page 313]

“I have great admiration for my parents. Their enduring zeal in the ministry, the way they have faced economic hardships, and the encouragement they gave me to share in the full-time ministry, all had a good effect on me.”—Jarrod

[Box on page 314]

Worksheet

My Goals

  Check off which goals you would like to set. Use the spaces provided to customize those goals or to create new ones.

Ministry Goals

□ Increase my time in the ministry to ․․․․․ hours per month

□ Place ․․․․․ pieces of literature each month

□ Use the Bible when talking about my faith

□ Make ․․․․․ return visits each month

□ Start a Bible study

Other goals: ․․․․․

Study Goals

□ Read ․․․․․ pages of the Bible each day

□ Prepare for the weekly meetings

□ Research the following Bible topics: ․․․․․

Congregation Goals

□ Offer at least one comment during each meeting

□ Strike up a conversation with an older person I’d like to get to know better

□ Visit an elderly or infirm member of the congregation

Other goals: ․․․․․

Today’s Date ․․․․․

Check back in six months, and see how you’ve done in reaching your goals. Adjust them or add to them as needed.

[Picture on page 312]

Having goals will prevent you from expending your energy and getting nowhere