Monday, May 1
Consider closely the one who has endured.—Heb. 12:3.
To help us come to know his Son, Jehovah lovingly included the four Gospels in his Word. The Gospels contain a historical account of the life and ministry of Jesus. That account tells us what Jesus said, shows us what he did, and reveals to us how he felt. These four books help us to “consider closely” the example of Jesus. In effect, they contain the footsteps that Jesus left behind. So by examining the Gospels, we can come to know Jesus better and better. As a result, we can follow his steps closely. To benefit fully from the Gospels, we must do more than just read them. We need to take the time to study them carefully and meditate on them deeply. (Compare Joshua 1:8, footnote.) Bring the Gospel accounts to life. Use your imagination to see, hear, and feel what was happening. Do some research in the study aids provided by Jehovah’s organization. w21.04 4-5 ¶11-13
Tuesday, May 2
We preach Christ executed on the stake, to the Jews a cause for stumbling.—1 Cor. 1:23.
Centuries before Jesus came to earth, Jehovah revealed in his Word that the Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. (Zech. 11:12, 13) The betrayer would be one of Jesus’ close companions. (Ps. 41:9) The prophet Zechariah also wrote: “Strike the shepherd, and let the flock be scattered.” (Zech. 13:7) Instead of being stumbled by these events, honesthearted ones should have been strengthened by seeing these prophecies fulfilled in Jesus. Do we see the same problem today? Yes. In modern times, a few well-known Witnesses have left the truth, become apostate, and then tried to turn others away. They have spread negative reports, half-truths, and outright lies about Jehovah’s Witnesses through the news media and the Internet. But honesthearted ones are not stumbled. On the contrary, they realize that the Bible foretold that such things would happen.—Matt. 24:24; 2 Pet. 2:18-22. w21.05 11 ¶12; 12-13 ¶18-19
Wednesday, May 3
The path of the righteous is like the bright morning light that grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.—Prov. 4:18.
The Scriptures make it clear that accurate knowledge increases with time. (Col. 1:9, 10) Jehovah reveals the truth gradually, and we must be willing to wait patiently for the light of truth to get brighter. When those taking the lead realize that our understanding on a certain point of truth needs to be clarified, they do not hesitate to make the needed adjustments. While many denominations in Christendom make changes to please their congregations or to get closer to the world, the changes made by Jehovah’s organization are designed to draw us closer to God and to the pattern of worship established by Jesus. (Jas. 4:4) The adjustments we make are driven, not by modern trends or popular demands, but by a clearer understanding of the Scriptures. We love the truth!—1 Thess. 2:3, 4. w21.10 22 ¶12
Thursday, May 4
Throw all your anxiety on him.—1 Pet. 5:7.
What can you do if you feel alone? Focus on how Jehovah is sustaining you. (Ps. 55:22) This will help you to maintain a balanced view of your situation. Think, too, about how Jehovah is helping fellow believers who feel lonely. (1 Pet. 5:9, 10) Hiroshi, a brother who for many years has been the only Witness in his family, says: “Knowing that we are all doing our best to serve Jehovah can encourage those of us who are alone in the truth.” Also, maintain a good spiritual routine. This includes openly telling Jehovah how you feel. It is important to read God’s Word regularly, meditating on specific accounts that highlight Jehovah’s love for you. Some Christians memorize scriptures that are particularly comforting, such as Psalm 27:10 and Isaiah 41:10. Others find that listening to audio recordings of the study material helps them to feel less lonely when preparing for the meetings or doing their Bible reading. w21.06 9-10 ¶5-8
Friday, May 5
You will not fear any sudden terror.—Prov. 3:25.
Are you mourning the death of a loved one? Take time to strengthen your faith in the resurrection hope by reading Bible accounts of those who were raised from the dead. Are you grieving because a family member was disfellowshipped? Study in order to convince yourself that God’s way of administering discipline is always best. Whatever problem is confronting you, use it as an opportunity to build your faith. Pour your heart out to Jehovah. Do not isolate yourself, but instead remain close to your brothers and sisters. (Prov. 18:1) Share in activities that will help you to endure, even if you have to do so with tears. (Ps. 126:5, 6) Keep up with your routine of meetings, field service, and Bible reading. And stay focused on the wonderful blessings that Jehovah has in store for you. As you see how Jehovah helps you, your faith in him will grow ever stronger. w21.11 23 ¶11; 24 ¶17
Saturday, May 6
Likewise, it is not a desirable thing to my Father who is in heaven for even one of these little ones to perish.—Matt. 18:14.
In what way are Jesus’ disciples like “little ones”? Well, whom does the world consider important? The rich, the famous, and the powerful. In contrast, Jesus’ disciples seem to be unimportant, insignificant “little ones.” (1 Cor. 1:26-29) But Jehovah does not view them that way. What prompted Jesus to talk about “these little ones”? His disciples had asked him a question: “Who really is greatest in the Kingdom of the heavens?” (Matt. 18:1) Many Jews at that time viewed position and rank as very important. One scholar says: “Men lived and died in quest of honor, reputation, fame, approval, and respect.” Jesus knew that his disciples would have to work hard to root out from their heart the spirit of competition that was entrenched in Jewish culture. w21.06 20 ¶2; 21 ¶6, 8; 22 ¶9
Sunday, May 7
Oil and incense make the heart rejoice; so does sweet friendship springing from sincere counsel.—Prov. 27:9.
The apostle Paul set a good example as an elder. For instance, when the brothers in Thessalonica needed counsel, Paul did not hesitate to give it. However, in his letters to them, Paul first took note of their faithful work, their loving labor, and their endurance. He also considered their circumstances, kindly acknowledging that their life was not easy and that they were bearing up under persecution. (1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:4) He even told those brothers that they were an example to other Christians. (1 Thess. 1:8, 9) How happy they must have been to receive Paul’s warm commendation! There could be no doubt that Paul loved his brothers very much. That is why he was able to give effective counsel in both of his letters to the Thessalonians.—1 Thess. 4:1, 3-5, 11; 2 Thess. 3:11, 12. w22.02 15 ¶6
Monday, May 8
He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more.—Rev. 21:4.
Satan uses leaders of false religion to say that Jehovah is cruel and is responsible for man’s suffering. Some even say that when children die, it was God who took them because he needed more angels in heaven. How blasphemous! We know better. When we are stricken with a serious illness or when someone we love dies, we never blame our God. On the contrary, we have faith that one day he will make things right. We can tell everyone who will listen what a loving God Jehovah is. That gives him a good reply to make to the one taunting him. (Prov. 27:11) Jehovah is a compassionate God. He hates to hear us cry out because of the suffering that we are enduring—be it persecution, illness, or our imperfections. (Ps. 22:23, 24) Jehovah feels our pain; he wants to stop it, and he will stop it.—Compare Exodus 3:7, 8; Isaiah 63:9. w21.07 9-10 ¶9-10
Tuesday, May 9
You crowned him with glory and splendor.—Ps. 8:5.
Soon obedient humans will enjoy the greatest honor of all—the privilege of loving and worshipping Jehovah forever! Jesus will undo the conditions that resulted when Adam and Eve decided to leave God’s family. Jehovah will resurrect millions and give them the opportunity for everlasting life in perfect health on an earth transformed into a paradise. (Luke 23:42, 43) As the earthly part of Jehovah’s family of worshippers grows to perfection, each one will reflect the “glory and splendor” that David wrote about. If you belong to the “great crowd,” you have a wonderful prospect. (Rev. 7:9) God loves you; he wants you to be a member of his family. So do all you can to please him. Live each day with God’s promises in your mind and heart. Appreciate your privilege of worshipping our dear heavenly Father, and cherish the prospect of praising him forever! w21.08 7 ¶18-19
Wednesday, May 10
We will reap if we do not tire out.—Gal. 6:9.
The prophet Jeremiah preached for decades in the face of apathy and opposition. He became so discouraged by the “insults and jeering” of opposers that he thought of giving up his assignment. (Jer. 20:8, 9) But Jeremiah did not give up! What enabled him to overcome his negative thoughts and find joy in his ministry? He focused on two important facts. First, God’s message that Jeremiah took to the people involved “a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11) Second, Jehovah had placed his name on Jeremiah. (Jer. 15:16) We too bring a message of hope in a bleak world, and we bear Jehovah’s name as his Witnesses. When we focus our attention on these facts, we can find joy regardless of the response of the people. So do not get discouraged or give up if the progress of your Bible student is taking longer than you expected. Making disciples requires patience.—Jas. 5:7, 8. w21.10 27 ¶12-13
Thursday, May 11
Let us also throw off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us.—Heb. 12:1.
No matter how long we have been serving Jehovah, we must continue to build and maintain our faith in him. Why? Because if we are not careful, our faith can weaken. Remember, faith involves evidence of unseen realities. What we cannot see, we may easily forget. Thus, Paul called lack of faith “the sin that easily entangles us.” How, then, can we avoid that trap? (2 Thess. 1:3) First, beg Jehovah for his holy spirit, and do so often. Why? Because faith is an aspect of the fruitage of the spirit. (Gal. 5:22, 23) We cannot build and maintain faith in our Creator without the help of his holy spirit. If we keep asking Jehovah for his spirit, he will give it to us. (Luke 11:13) In particular, we can pray: “Give us more faith.” (Luke 17:5) Additionally, be consistent in your personal study of God’s Word.—Ps. 1:2, 3. w21.08 18-19 ¶16-18
Friday, May 12
Gray hair is a crown of beauty.—Prov. 16:31.
Older ones have much to offer. Although they may not have the strength they once had, they do have a wealth of experience that they have acquired over the years. Jehovah can continue to use them in various ways. For example, the Bible tells of faithful ones who actively served Jehovah into their old age. Moses, for instance, was about 80 years old when he began serving as Jehovah’s prophet and representative to the nation of Israel. Jehovah was still using Daniel as His spokesman when the prophet was probably in his 90’s. And the apostle John was likely also in his 90’s when he was inspired to write the book of Revelation. The “righteous and devout” man Simeon is mentioned just briefly in the Bible, but Jehovah knew who he was and granted him the privilege of seeing the infant Jesus and of prophesying about the child and his mother.—Luke 2:22, 25-35. w21.09 3-4 ¶5-7
Saturday, May 13
O Jehovah, my heart is not haughty, . . . nor do I aspire to things too great.—Ps. 131:1.
Parents should be careful not to compare one child with another or to ask more of a child than he or she can give. Unfavorable comparisons and unreasonable demands can exasperate a child. (Eph. 6:4) A sister named Sachiko says: “My mother wanted me to get 100 percent on my exams, which I found impossible. Although I left school years ago, at times I still wonder if my best is good enough for Jehovah.” King David said that he did not “aspire to things too great” or to things that were beyond him. His humility and modesty “calmed and quieted” him. (Ps. 131:2) What can parents learn from David’s words? Parents can be humble and modest not only in what they expect of themselves but also in what they expect of their child. Parents can reassure their child by acknowledging his strengths and weaknesses when helping him to set appropriate goals. w21.07 21-22 ¶5-6
Sunday, May 14
Each one will carry his own load.—Gal. 6:5.
Jehovah has given each of us the gift of free will. This means that we can choose whether we will obey him or not. Some young ones whose upbringing was far from ideal choose to serve Jehovah, and they make a success of their service. Others whose parents did their very best to bring them up in harmony with Scriptural principles turn their back on the truth once they get older. In the final analysis, we must personally decide whether we will serve Jehovah. (Josh. 24:15) So, grieving parents, fight the tendency to think that this tragedy must be your fault! At times, a parent abandons the truth and even the family. (Ps. 27:10) This can be devastating for children who had looked up to the parent as a role model. Young ones, if one of your parents has been disfellowshipped, be assured that Jehovah is also keenly aware of your pain. He loves you and appreciates your loyalty. Remember, too, that you are not responsible for your parent’s decisions. w21.09 27 ¶5-7
Monday, May 15
Those whom Jehovah loves he disciplines.—Heb. 12:6.
When a Christian is disfellowshipped, we might think of him as a contagious sheep that might infect the flock. He is sick in a spiritual sense. (Jas. 5:14) Spiritual sickness, like some forms of physical illness, can be quite contagious. So it is necessary in some cases to isolate a spiritually sick individual from the congregation. This discipline is an expression of Jehovah’s love for faithful members of His flock, and it may reach the wrongdoer’s heart and lead him to repentance. While disfellowshipped, the individual may be able to attend meetings, where he can be fed and built up spiritually. He is also free to receive literature for his personal use and to watch JW Broadcasting®. And as the elders observe his progress, they may from time to time offer personal counsel and direction to help him regain his spiritual health so that he can be reinstated as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. w21.10 10 ¶9, 11
Tuesday, May 16
Not everyone saying to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens.—Matt. 7:21.
Today, we follow the pattern of worship set by the first-century Christian congregation. For instance, our organizational structure—which includes traveling overseers, elders, and ministerial servants—mirrors the arrangement established by the apostles in the first century. (Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:5) Our view of sex and marriage, our respect for the sacredness of blood, and our desire to protect the congregation from unrepentant wrongdoers are all based on the pattern set in the first century. (Acts 15:28, 29; 1 Cor. 5:11-13; 6:9, 10; Heb. 13:4) The Bible plainly tells us that there is “one faith” that has God’s approval. (Eph. 4:4-6) What a privilege we have to be one of Jehovah’s people and to know the truth about Jehovah and his purposes! May we continue to hold fast to the truth with strong conviction. w21.10 22-23 ¶15-17
Wednesday, May 17
Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf.—2 Chron. 20:17.
King Jehoshaphat was confronted with a serious challenge. A large army of Ammonites, Moabites, and men of the mountainous region of Seir threatened him, his family, and his people. (2 Chron. 20:1, 2) What did Jehoshaphat do? He looked to Jehovah for help and strength. Jehoshaphat’s humble prayer, recorded at 2 Chronicles 20:5-12, reveals just how much he trusted in his loving heavenly Father. Jehovah spoke to Jehoshaphat by means of a Levite named Jahaziel, saying the words of today’s text. With full trust in his God, Jehoshaphat did as he was told. When he and the people went out to meet the enemy, he placed at the front of his troops, not the most skilled soldiers, but the unarmed singers. Jehovah did not let Jehoshaphat down; He defeated the enemy army.—2 Chron. 20:18-23. w21.11 15-16 ¶6-7
Thursday, May 18
It is because of Jehovah’s loyal love that we have not come to our finish, for his mercies never end.—Lam. 3:22.
When facing a trial, we can be sure that Jehovah will act in our behalf by giving us the support we need to keep our integrity. (2 Cor. 4:7-9) We can have confidence that Jehovah’s loyal love will indeed rest on us because, as the psalmist assured us, “the eye of Jehovah watches over those fearing him, those waiting for his loyal love.” (Ps. 33:18-22) Before we began serving Jehovah, we received the love that God shows to mankind in general. As his worshippers, however, we also benefit from his loyal love. Moved by that love, Jehovah embraces us with his protective arms. He will always keep us close to him and will fulfill his purpose regarding us. He wants us to succeed! (Ps. 46:1, 2, 7) Therefore, no matter what trial we may face, Jehovah will give us the strength we need in order to keep our integrity. w21.11 7 ¶17-18
Friday, May 19
Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely.—Col. 3:13.
Most of us know of cases in which a person has held a grudge against a coworker, a schoolmate, a relative, or a family member—even for years! Recall that Joseph’s ten half brothers harbored a grudge against him, which finally led them to commit a hateful act. (Gen. 37:2-8, 25-28) How differently Joseph acted toward them! When he was in a position of authority and could get even with his half brothers, he showed them mercy. Joseph did not hold a grudge. Rather, he acted in harmony with the counsel recorded later at Leviticus 19:18. (Gen. 50:19-21) Joseph’s course of forgiving instead of nursing a grudge or taking vengeance sets a pattern for Christians who want to please God. Jesus urged us to forgive those who sin against us. (Matt. 6:9, 12) Likewise, the apostle Paul advised fellow Christians: “Do not avenge yourselves, beloved.”—Rom. 12:19. w21.12 11 ¶13-14
Saturday, May 20
He satisfies the desire of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help, and he rescues them.—Ps. 145:19.
Late in the evening on Nisan 14, 33 C.E., Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane. There he poured out his heart to Jehovah. (Luke 22:39-44) It was during those difficult hours that Jesus “offered up supplications . . . with strong outcries and tears.” (Heb. 5:7) What did Jesus pray for during that final night before his death? He prayed for strength to remain loyal to Jehovah and to do His will. Jehovah heard the anguish in his Son’s prayer and sent an angel to strengthen him. Jesus was aware of the tremendous responsibility he bore—that of vindicating his Father’s name. Jehovah listened to Jesus’ earnest requests. Why? Because Jesus’ main concern was to stay loyal to his Father and to vindicate His name. If our main concern is to do the same, Jehovah will answer our prayers for help.—Ps. 145:18. w22.01 18 ¶15-17
Sunday, May 21
Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them . . . , teaching them.—Matt. 28:19, 20.
Many today are stumbled because of our neutral stand with regard to politics. They expect us to vote in elections. However, we realize that from Jehovah’s standpoint, if we choose a human leader to rule over us, we are rejecting Him. (1 Sam. 8:4-7) People may also feel that we should build schools and hospitals as well as perform other charitable works. They are stumbled because we focus our efforts on the preaching work, not on solving the world’s immediate problems. How can we avoid being stumbled? (Matt. 7:21-23) Our main focus should be on doing the work that Jesus commanded us to do. Never should we become distracted by the political and social issues of this world. We love people and care about their problems, but we know that the best way to assist our neighbors is by teaching them about God’s Kingdom and by helping them to develop a friendship with Jehovah. w21.05 7 ¶19-20
Monday, May 22
In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.—2 Tim. 3:1.
Even though many of the rulers of nations today claim to serve God, they do not want to give up their own power and authority. So just as the rulers did in Jesus’ day, rulers today oppose Jehovah’s Anointed One by attacking his loyal followers. (Acts 4:25-28) How does Jehovah respond? Psalm 2:10-12 answers: “So now, you kings, show insight; accept correction, you judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Honor the son, or God will become indignant and you will perish from the way, for His anger flares up quickly. Happy are all those taking refuge in Him.” Jehovah kindly grants these opposers a window of opportunity. They can still change their minds and accept Jehovah’s Kingdom. However, time is running out. (Isa. 61:2) It has never been more urgent for people to get the facts and make the right choice. w21.09 15-16 ¶8-9
Tuesday, May 23
Having food and clothing, we will be content with these things.—1 Tim. 6:8.
Paul is saying that we should be content with whatever we have materially. (Phil. 4:12) Our most precious possession is our relationship with our God, not any material thing that we own. (Hab. 3:17, 18) Consider what Moses told the Israelites after they had spent 40 years in the wilderness: “Jehovah your God has blessed you in all that you have done. . . . These 40 years Jehovah your God has been with you, and you have lacked nothing.” (Deut. 2:7) During those 40 years, Jehovah provided the Israelites with manna to eat. Their clothes—the very clothes with which they had left Egypt—never wore out. (Deut. 8:3, 4) Jehovah will be pleased if we can learn to be content—to appreciate even the simple provisions he makes available, viewing them as a blessing and giving thanks for them. w22.01 5 ¶10-11
Wednesday, May 24
Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding.—Prov. 3:5.
Husbands, you are responsible for the welfare of your family, so you work hard to protect and support your family. When you face challenges, you may feel that you have the resources to handle the problem on your own. However, resist the inclination to rely on your own strength. Instead, pray privately for Jehovah’s help. In addition, pray fervently with your wife. Seek direction from Jehovah by studying the Bible and publications provided by God’s organization, and apply the counsel you find. Others might not agree with the Bible-based decisions you make. They might say that money and the things it can buy will provide the best protection for your family. But remember the example of King Jehoshaphat. (2 Chron. 20:1-30) He trusted in Jehovah and proved it by his actions. Jehovah did not abandon that loyal man, and he will not abandon you.—Ps. 37:28; Heb. 13:5. w21.11 15 ¶6; 16 ¶8
Thursday, May 25
God . . . is never unjust.—Deut. 32:4.
God made us in his image, so we yearn to see people treated fairly. (Gen. 1:26) But because we are imperfect, we can misjudge matters, even when we think we have all the facts. Recall, for example, how displeased Jonah was with Jehovah’s decision to extend mercy to the people of Nineveh. (Jonah 3:10–4:1) Yet, consider the results. The lives of well over 120,000 repentant Ninevites were saved! In the end, it was Jonah—not Jehovah—who needed to be corrected. Jehovah does not owe humans an explanation for his decisions. True, Jehovah did allow his servants in the past to express their concerns about decisions he had made or was about to make. (Gen. 18:25; Jonah 4:2, 3) And occasionally, he explained his decision. (Jonah 4:10, 11) Nevertheless, Jehovah does not need our approval, either before or after he acts.—Isa. 40:13, 14; 55:9. w22.02 3-4 ¶5-6
Friday, May 26
Let the one who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the one taking the lead as the one ministering.—Luke 22:26.
We conduct ourselves as “the youngest” when we “consider others superior” to us. (Phil. 2:3) The more we cultivate that attitude, the less likely we are to stumble others. All our brothers and sisters are superior to us in one way or another. It is not hard to see this when we focus on their positive qualities. We should take to heart the counsel that the apostle Paul gave to the Corinthians: “Who makes you different from another? Indeed, what do you have that you did not receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not receive it?” (1 Cor. 4:7) We should beware of any temptation to draw attention to ourselves or to think of ourselves as superior to others. If a brother gives stimulating talks or a sister is gifted at starting Bible studies, he or she should be quick to give the credit to Jehovah. w21.06 22 ¶9-10
Saturday, May 27
Sow your seed . . . and do not let your hand rest.—Eccl. 11:6.
Many Witnesses find it increasingly difficult to contact people in their homes. Some publishers live in areas where there are many high-security apartment buildings or gated communities. There may be a security guard who denies entry to anyone who does not have an invitation from a specific householder. Other publishers find few people at home or have territories where few people live. The publishers may cover great distances just to try to contact one householder—who may not even be at home! If we face these types of challenges, we must not give up. Try reaching people at a different time. We will contact more people if we preach when they are likely to be at home. After all, everyone returns home sometime! Many brothers and sisters find it practical to preach in the afternoon or in the evening because they find more people. In addition, householders may be more relaxed and ready to talk during those times. w21.05 15 ¶5, 7
Sunday, May 28
It is in vain that they keep worshipping me, for they teach commands of men as doctrines.—Mark 7:7.
Do we see the same problem today? Yes. Many become upset when Jehovah’s Witnesses do not join them in celebrating unscriptural traditions, such as birthdays and Christmas. Others become angry when Jehovah’s Witnesses do not join nationalistic celebrations or do not follow funeral customs that are out of harmony with God’s Word. Those who are stumbled in this way may sincerely believe that they are worshipping God acceptably. But they cannot please him if they prefer the world’s traditions to the clear teachings found in the Bible. (Mark 7:8, 9) How can we avoid being stumbled? We need to develop a strong love for Jehovah’s laws and principles. (Ps. 119:97, 113, 163-165) When we love Jehovah, we will reject any traditions that displease him. We will not allow anything to interfere with our love for Jehovah. w21.05 6 ¶15-16
Monday, May 29
Keep your senses in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelizer.—2 Tim. 4:5.
How can we apply the advice of the apostle Paul? We need to keep our faith strong by studying regularly, by praying continually, and by keeping busy in the work that Jehovah has given us to do. (2 Tim. 4:4) If we exercise faith, we will not panic when we hear negative reports. (Isa. 28:16) Our love for Jehovah, his Word, and our brothers will help us to avoid being stumbled by those who have left the truth. In the first century, many were stumbled, and they rejected Jesus. Yet, many others accepted him. These included at least one member of the Jewish Sanhedrin and even “a large crowd of priests.” (Acts 6:7; Matt. 27:57-60; Mark 15:43) Likewise today, millions have not been stumbled. Why not? Because they know and love the truths found in the Scriptures. God’s Word says: “Abundant peace belongs to those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”—Ps. 119:165. w21.05 13 ¶20-21
Tuesday, May 30
My power is being made perfect in weakness.—2 Cor. 12:9.
The apostle Paul realized that everything he did in Jehovah’s service was with God’s strength, not his own. By means of His holy spirit, Jehovah gave Paul the power to accomplish his ministry fully—despite the persecution, imprisonment, and other challenges he faced. Timothy, Paul’s younger companion, also had to rely on God’s power to carry out his ministry. Timothy accompanied Paul on long missionary journeys. Moreover, Paul sent him on additional trips to visit and encourage congregations. (1 Cor. 4:17) Timothy may have felt inadequate. Perhaps that is why Paul admonished him: “Never let anyone look down on your youth.” (1 Tim. 4:12) Furthermore, during this time, Timothy had his own thorn in the flesh—“frequent cases of sickness.” (1 Tim. 5:23) But Timothy knew that Jehovah’s powerful holy spirit would give him the strength he needed to preach the good news and serve his brothers.—2 Tim. 1:7. w21.05 21 ¶6-7
Wednesday, May 31
Take good care of your sheep.—Prov. 27:23.
The principle recorded at James 1:19 certainly applies to those who give counsel. James wrote: “Everyone must be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” An elder may assume that he has all the facts, but does he really? Proverbs 18:13 reminds us: “When anyone replies to a matter before he hears the facts, it is foolish and humiliating.” It is best to get the facts directly from the person himself. That involves listening before speaking. The elder might ask: “What has been happening in your life?” “How can I help?” If elders take the time to get the facts, they are more likely to help and encourage their brothers and sisters. Giving effective counsel involves more than simply reading a few scriptures or offering a suggestion or two. Our brothers and sisters need to sense that we care for them, that we understand them, and that we want to help them. w22.02 17 ¶14-15