Who Can Be Secure Today?
FOOD, clothing and shelter are basic necessities of life. Without them our very grip on life cannot be secure.
If someone offered to give you all these essentials in ample measure, you would surely ask: “On what conditions?” Such a promise at too high a price would hardly be a gift at all. Yet on acceptable terms, what a blessing it would be!
A Valid Assessment
In his famed Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ was realistic in assessing the material requirements of life. His emphasis, however, was to the end that we should ‘never be anxious’ about securing them. Why? There are good reasons. Maybe you would like to check them for yourself in your Bible at Matthew 6:31-33, or in the parallel account at Luke 12:29-31.
We may note that Jesus there acknowledged that the great majority would never heed his advice. Instead, they would be in ‘anxious suspense,’ pursuing the gaining of material belongings. To such ones these assets then become an end in themselves. Yet, as we have seen, what security do they really afford?
In the same context, Jesus spoke of accumulated treasures “where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:19, 20) With all the excelling wealth available today, those who have it are enjoying no greater sense of security than people have possessed in the past. More importantly, to follow their example would be to ignore riches of a superior kind. Jesus warned of such a short-term view of life, saying: “A man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.”—Luke 12:15, The Jerusalem Bible.
Where, then, is real security to be found? Not just in acknowledging that our heavenly Father is fully aware of our needs, but in acknowledging that he has obligated himself to us to supply them all. On what terms? Simply that we ‘seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.’ (Matt. 6:33) Consider the following true-life experiences and assess how this can work out in practice.
A Choice of Priorities
World wide there are over two and a quarter million Christian witnesses of Jehovah who are seeking first God’s kingdom. Among these there are around 75,000 who volunteer to spend, on the average, 1,000 hours each year in preaching and teaching the “good news of the kingdom.” (Matt. 24:14) These men and women are called “pioneers,” as their assignments of territory can often find them in unusual and even remote areas.
If we were to equate their total number of hours (approximately 75 million) with money values, taking an hourly rate of £1.10 ($2.00, U.S.), then annually their time is worth £82,500,000 ($150,000,000, U.S.). Yet all this time is given freely and often by people who have vacated well-paid jobs, even professions, for the privilege.
One reporter on religion, having assessed the work of these pioneers, came to the conclusion: “Generally their lives are happily frugal . . . their (Jehovah’s Witnesses’) behaviour is governed by absolute faith and a deep sense of duty to which no financial strings, no material rewards are attached.”
Take the case of a well-respected doctor of gynaecology. By the standards of this world he ‘had it made,’ holding a good position in a large hospital in Japan. On studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, the doctor and his wife both dedicated their lives to serve their Creator, symbolizing this by water baptism.
After a short while, they decided that they would like to move to another town where only a few of Jehovah’s Witnesses lived, to share their faith with that community. To do so the doctor had to quit his secure hospital post and seek part-time employment, as both he and his wife wished to become pioneers. They now live in a modest rented house. The husband works two days a week in a local health clinic to support them both and also his mother who lives with them.
Colleagues with whom the doctor has worked say they cannot understand his thinking, and much less do they desire to make it their own. Yet this couple have the security of a peace of mind and contentment in aiding the local congregation with which they associate, as well as in conducting numerous Bible discussions in their new neighbourhood.
Securing Spiritual Privileges
London, England, is the world centre for many specialized fields of commerce. Twenty-five years ago, a young man working with a well-known international company started, along with his wife, to look into the Holy Scriptures. After a thorough check with all religious leaders in their hometown to determine the truthfulness of Bible doctrine, dedication and baptism of them as Jehovah’s Witnesses soon followed.
The person who had helped this couple was herself a pioneer and the fine example she set left a lasting impression on them both. In the local congregation they worked hard. During the ensuing years, this husband-and-wife team were privileged to help up to 100 men and women to a knowledge of the Bible. Fourteen of these were in the company where the husband was employed at that time as manager, caring for thousands of employees world wide.
Ten years ago, an offer of a directorship at four times his salary was made to the husband, with a promise of an early opportunity to become chairman of the board of directors. At that very time, however, the way had opened up for the couple to enter the pioneer work. For this privilege they were quite prepared to forgo the security of his employment and its prospects. As things turned out the company eventually made an offer of part-time work at half salary—and a directorship was given as a reward for faithful service!
Three years later, following company reorganization, the Witness was faced with the ultimatum of resuming full-time work or leaving. He left. Later he was appointed to serve as a traveling overseer of Jehovah’s Witnesses, visiting congregations along with his wife, a privilege that they still retain and greatly enjoy.
Asked how he now felt at having given up such a promising commercial career, he replied quoting Paul’s words: “I do indeed also consider all things to be loss on account of the excelling value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil. 3:8) He added: “To exchange material riches for spiritual ones has been completely rewarding and has given us both a sense of security for the future we have never had before.”
But, are these sacrifices made solely for future security? How real is this “security” in down-to-earth values today? Let us consider some of the advantages readily available now.
Secure in Christian Association
“A WORD OF CAUTION:—Beware of pickpockets.” This advice was given to the many thousands of delegates attending the “Victorious Faith” International Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses this year. You may wonder why such practical counsel was necessary. Well, the fact is that the moral integrity enjoyed by true Christians puts them at a distinct disadvantage. Thieves are known to capitalize on the disarming trust so clearly in evidence among Jehovah’s Witnesses; so the warning was timely. But what a joy it is for honest folk to feel secure among people they can trust!
“On earth the nations will not know where to turn, . . . while men will be fainting from fear, and for the thought of what is going to happen to the world.” Jesus contrasted this negative outlook of the majority of people, at the time of the passing of our old world order, with that of his true followers: “Lift up your heads, for your deliverance is near.”—Luke 21:25-28, The New Testament, A New Translation, by William Barclay.
Nobody would attempt to belittle the apprehension, mistrust and fear so evident today, fulfilling Jesus’ words. Only faith, based on a true understanding of the Scriptural prophecies, can give the security of peace of mind.
Despite today’s pressing problems, Christians can look to the future with complete confidence. The future is secure, just as God’s purpose concerning it is immutable. Under His Kingdom government, for which Jesus told his followers to pray, life will forever be a delight of endless Christian association.
With a world government ruling in the best and lasting interests of all earth’s inhabitants, a man’s labours will not be directed to the detriment of his fellowman. Human inventiveness will be positive and constructive as the blessings of work bring delight and the earth yields its bounty. Animals and other forms of earthly life will be in full accord. Pollution of earth, sea and atmosphere on account of human selfishness will be unheard of. Safeguarding health will no longer present problems. Human death, sickness and crippling disease will be things of the forgotten past.—Compare Isaiah 65:17-25.
To learn of our Creator’s love and purpose is to ‘reside in security, undisturbed from dread of calamity’ for all time. (Prov. 1:33) Lasting security is not elusive. It is a reality. It can be yours for the asking. Why not share its benefits now in association with Jehovah’s Witnesses world wide?