Today’s Right Kind of Ministers
1. What right and what wrong conduct as a minister did Moses exemplify?
REQUIREMENTS for the true ministry may differ at given times. About thirty-five centuries ago Jehovah’s prophet Moses was schooled in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, being reared in the royal court. Later, as a mature man obeying Jehovah, Moses knew how to approach and deal with proud Pharaoh. Being mild-tempered and humble, Moses exercised also remarkable forbearance with the millions of Israelites who, having just been released from slavery in Egypt, were restless and not too easy to control. As slaves they had been provided with necessities by the Egyptian government, and therefore had had little or no experience in providing for themselves. So they frequently complained about the provisions Jehovah now made for them on the trek in the wilderness. Never did Moses become exasperated, except on one occasion. Then he lost his self-control; yes, he then forgot Jehovah. To the murmuring Israelites, millions of them, Moses then angrily exclaimed: “You rebels! Is it from this crag that we shall bring out water for you?” (Num. 20:9-13, NW; Ps. 106:32, 33) But, all in all, Moses was equipped for his work as Jehovah’s minister, performing it well, dying in Jehovah’s favor and being buried by Jehovah.—Deut. 34:5-7; Heb. 3:1-6, NW.
2. (a) How does Jesus’ exemplary conduct as the right kind of minister now aid us? (b) How Paul’s?
2 The Greater Moses, Christ Jesus, as a man on earth was a perfect example of one who possessed the necessary requirements for his God-given ministry. A diligent student of Jehovah’s Word, the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus as youth and adult followed its instructions implicitly. His ministry was his life’s work. He had no other interest on earth, but gave all his time and talent to his assigned task. His followers were well instructed for the work he assigned to them after his death and resurrection, and they performed it well. Like Jesus his faithful apostle Paul was wholly devoted to Jehovah’s service. “One thing” occupied his interest and attention: the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. (Phil. 3:13, NW; Acts 28:30, 31) Paul did not try to do many things. He likened himself to a soldier who kept from involving himself with worldly business in order that he might please his superior. No, Paul did not maintain a law office at Jerusalem or a tent factory in Tarsus. All his time and strength he devoted to his assigned ministry, reminding his brothers: ‘I do not make my life of any account as dear to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry which I received of the Lord Jesus, to bear thorough witness to the good news of the undeserved kindness of Jehovah.’—Acts 20:24, NW.
3. By whom is the New World society being built, and for what purpose?
3 Today an anciently foretold work by Jehovah is being done by him through his ministers in all lands of earth. (Isa. 51:15, 16; 61:1-3, AS; Matt. 24:14, 15, NW) There are special requirements for ministers who engage in that work. Jehovah has established and irresistibly continues to build a New World society, earth-wide, which will last forever. Members of that society, all ministers, constitute the visible nucleus of Jehovah’s “new earth” that will live through his battle at Armageddon. Today this society of ministers consists of the remnant of Jehovah’s anointed ones still on earth, along with their good-will companions now being gathered from “all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues,” each becoming equipped to serve as a right kind of minister under Christ Jesus. (Rev. 7:9, NW) For effectively helping many other willing ones to learn about Jehovah’s new world, these ministers must have the necessary requirements. Their ministry they must and they do take seriously, for its faithful performance means life; its failure, death. It is not an occupation to be undertaken for a while and then set aside for another. Jesus warned: “No man that has put his hand to a plow and looks at the things behind is well fitted for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62, NW) Yes, this work will last for the next thousand years, and after that Jehovah himself will give every faithful minister other assignments in his universal organization. (1 Cor. 15:24-28) What a delightful prospect!
4, 5. Today’s right kind of ministers meet what requirements, and with what results?
4 Aptness to teach others and desire to share in training them in many ways for serving Jehovah are among today’s requirements. Even as Jesus was, so today Jehovah’s ministers are required to be diligent students of his written Word, the Hebrew Scriptures, and now also of their complement, the Christian Greek Scriptures. Another required duty in building up the New World society is searching for the other sheep of the Lord Jesus who now are entitled to become of the growing great crowd of that society. (Rev. 7:9, 10, NW) In all earth’s lands these sheeplike persons walk today, isolated, oppressed and robbed by Christendom’s false shepherds; but now they are being found and gathered together into one fold under Jehovah’s Right Shepherd, to feed on rich food in good pastures. (Ezek. 34:1-15) “Other sheep,” said Jesus, meaning “sheep” aside from his heavenly joint heirs, the “little flock”—and all these he said he must bring into one flock. He did not mean that he personally would come down to earth from heaven and do this gathering work. Rather, he has sent and continues to send his remaining brothers on earth to do this. To Peter he said: ‘Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.’ And now, in this “time of the end,” that same command Jesus himself has extended to apply to every obedient hearer of Jehovah’s Word.—John 21:15-17; Dan. 12:8-12; Matt. 24:14, 15; Rev. 22:17.
5 Today’s ‘right kind of ministers of Christ Jesus’ are dedicated to the Person, Jehovah, and diligently devote themselves to the work he assigns to them. (Prov. 22:29) They love his sheep and do all within their power to aid them to learn about the living God and his Christ and to become mature ministers. This they do by associating with fellow praisers of Jehovah in meetings arranged by his visible organization for the benefit of his servants. All congregational meetings should be attended, as well as circuit and district assemblies and national conventions. Why? Because at these gatherings we all learn how better to carry out our ministerial obligations and share there in building up one another as active members of his New World society. There we meet our fellow announcers of Jehovah’s kingdom from other territories and hear about their experiences in the ministry, thus accumulating much helpful information and also, by our very presence, helping others. In this way ministers keep in close contact with all servants and in companionship with them. To less mature and newer ones valuable aid is rendered. These very things Jesus did among his disciples because he knew the sheep are in great need of help and comfort. Now, as in Jesus’ day, the sheep have been oppressed and fleeced by false shepherds. Those oppressors’ victims are deeply conscious of their spiritual need; they need counsel, guidance, instruction, to help them in their ministry.
6. (a) In what ways can even physically weak ones share now in the ministry work? (b) By what illustrations did Jesus encourage every follower of him to be a diligent minister?
6 By continually trying to perform all these things we prove that we are the ‘right kind of ministers of Christ Jesus,’ joyfully sharing with Jehovah in building up his New World society, to his everlasting praise. Well do we realize that one cannot truly worship Jehovah today without taking part in the work he now assigns to be done for his purposes. Even blind and bedridden ones can, little by little, cultivate and strengthen the habit of tactfully preaching to visitors, or by an occasional letter to friends, telling clearly about the new world, its perfect government and the blessings in store for all who choose now to serve and love Jehovah, its Maker. (Isa. 9:6, 7) When little else can be done in the ministry because of physical lack or infirmities, then one can regularly pray to Jehovah and supplicate him on behalf of those able to work. This right practice Paul emphasized: “You also can help along by your supplication for us, in order that thanks may be given by many in our behalf for what is kindly given to us due to many upturned faces.” “Now I exhort you, brothers, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the spirit, that you exert yourselves with me in prayers to God for me.” (2 Cor. 1:11; Rom. 15:30, NW) Those of the New World society who lack physical strength, and hence are limited as to amount of service, should be encouraged. Why? Such rightly should take courage because in Jesus’ parables of the “pounds” (miʹnas) and the talents we find comfort. In his illustration of the “pounds” or “miʹnas” Jesus shows the workers to be of evident equal ability (for each received one mina), but to be different in zeal; and also the reward to each was different. In the other illustration, of the talents, the slaves were of different ability (as shown by their being given different numbers of talents) but were equal in zeal, and the reward was the same in this respect: “Enter into the joy of your master.” Note from these illustrations that it was not natural ability that determined the reward, but the slave’s diligence, his attentiveness to the master’s interests, the zeal manifested by him in his master’s service. The most zealous receive the greatest reward.—Matt. 25:15, 23; Luke 19:13, NW; Prov. 22:29.
7. What has resulted from the continuous announcing of Jehovah’s kingdom during the past forty years?
7 Both the Scriptures and physical facts show that Christ Jesus was enthroned in Jehovah’s kingdom in 1914. That marked year brought the end of the “times of the nations” Jesus foretold. (Luke 21:24, NW) Since that year he, as Lord of lords and King of kings, has been ruling in the midst of his enemies. (Ps. 2; 110:2; Rev. 17:14; 19:11-16) This fact has been and continues to be preached to all earth’s inhabitants in obedience to Jesus’ command. (Matt. 24:14) As a result thousands upon thousands have chosen to stand and speak for Jehovah and his King, and this activity will continue until all individuals of the great crowd of Revelation 7:9, 10 (NW) have been found, assembled, fed and trained for sharing in praising Jehovah. When the great gathering ends the outpouring of Jehovah’s wrath at Armageddon will follow. (Zeph. 2:1-3) This great crowd will augment the New World society of today as they forsake the troubles and sorrows of this old dying system of things, harassed with juvenile delinquency, teen-age mobsters, business crookedness, religious infidelity, governmental misrule and general corruptness. In the New World society all the gathered ones find the joy of Jehovah, the living God. This joy springs from his assurance that in the very near future His archfoe, Satan the Devil, will see all his earthly hordes destroyed while the Devil himself will be abyssed for one thousand years during which Jehovah’s Christ reigns. Then all the earth will overflow with the glory of Jehovah.
GOD’S WORD IN OUR MOUTH FOR THE MINISTRY
8. What hope and assurance serve to sustain and cheer today’s right kind of ministers? Why?
8 Daily the New World society is growing in numbers, in strength. Many, many thousands of perplexed ones are finding in its provisions what they never before have known. Here is a solid hope on which true faith can be anchored. The purpose and the limitless power of the true God, Jehovah, form the basis of that sure hope. Therefore his true worshipers now boldly speak, not of any human project, but words that define and describe Jehovah’s perfect and permanent project, his endless new world. (Eph. 3:20, 21) To his willing praisers today Jehovah’s ancient assurance in reality applies: ‘I have put my words in your mouth, and have covered you in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, “You are my people.’” (Isa. 51:15, 16) After ascending from earth to heaven and there paying the ransom price to Jehovah for releasing obedient humans from the curse of death to become his right ministers, then Christ Jesus became the foundation of Jehovah’s new world. Centuries later, after his enthronement as Jehovah’s King in heavenly Zion (A.D. 1914), the visible nucleus or earthly “frame” of the New World society began to appear. Accordingly, global proclamation of the “good news” of the Kingdom’s establishment in heaven then began and continues, by Jehovah’s ministers. These spokesmen of his he protects, keeping them under his hand’s shadow or irresistible power, as they faithfully move among many in all lands on their glorious mission.—Ezek. 9:2-4; 40:2, AS.
9, 10. How and for what purpose are willing ones now being taught out of Jehovah’s Word?
9 It is Jehovah who plants the new heavens and lays the foundation of the new earth. But Jehovah’s witnesses have his words put in their mouths, and so preach that the kingdom of Almighty God is the only hope for humans desiring to survive in these darkening days of shaking of everything that can be shaken. Everywhere willing hearers are urged by them to dedicate themselves to Jehovah and then faithfully serve under leadership of his enthroned King of the new world. In the minds of men, women and children Jehovah’s witnesses instill the written truths regarding the new heavens and the new earth. Out of his written Word they also proclaim Jehovah’s definite arrangements for his new world that will exclusively and solely control all earth’s affairs when his war at Armageddon permanently removes the present wicked system of things belonging to his archfoe, Satan. In all earth’s lands now willing learners are being taught Jehovah’s recorded principles, rules and regulations of the new world, being counseled to live now in harmony with them.
10 For example, often you have heard the saying, “There’s no place like home.” Among the foundations upon which imperfect men in all ages have built nations is the home. Homes are created by marriage. Satan’s system of things has made a farce of marriage. To the world of humans of today marriage has largely become a matter of convenience. Out of his written Word the witnesses of Jehovah truly teach that marriage is a divine institution and must be kept clean and pure in order to be a success. In the new world it will be properly administered. So the principles Jehovah has fixed for the new world are already being established in the minds of faithful, upright ones who hope to share in the looming happy prospects.
11, 12. How do “princes” mentioned in Isaiah 32:1 share now in the ministry, and with what results?
11 Pre-Armageddon work Jehovah further describes by the hand of his faithful writer, Isaiah: “Behold! a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice; and each of them will be like a hiding-place from the wind, and a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a wearisome land.” (Isa. 32:1, 2, AT) Christ Jesus as Jehovah’s enthroned King of the new world we already have identified. He indeed now is reigning in righteousness, ‘in the midst of his enemies.’ (Ps. 110:1; 2:1-12; Rev. 19:11-16) But who are these ‘princes ruling with justice’? Surely not any great ones of this evil world or of the towering systems of false religion, even though some among them style themselves “princes of the church.” Nor are these ‘princes ruling with justice’ the sons of any of the few remaining earthly monarchs.
12 Sar·imʹ, the Hebrew word in this text translated “princes,” means leaders or captains who take part in the service of the King. In just this way it is also used in many other parts of the Hebrew Scriptures. The “princes” are men on earth that are dedicated to the King. They are equipped with the necessary requirements for the work they are doing under the direction of the King. They shepherd the King’s other sheep, of whom there is already a great crowd to be regularly assembled, fed and prepared for a place in the New World society. Satan tries now to confuse the sheep by his winds of false doctrine and propaganda, and he could cause much damage among them were it not for Jehovah’s provision of “princes” or captains with the requirements for the ministry of aiding the disturbed sheep. Now the “tempest” referred to is the assaults that Satan is today making upon the society of true religion, trying to bring about our destruction. (Isa. 32:2) The King’s sheep are protected by the ministry of the “princes” who bring refreshing streams of truth to guide and strengthen those humble ones, and thus they come under the shade of the great Rock, Jehovah, the living God.
13. Why is the ministerial work now successful in many lands?
13 These “princes” or captains have been well instructed in the New World society by such agencies as the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, or one of the many theocratic ministry schools provided by Jehovah’s witnesses world-wide in their congregations. This work is now being carried on with great success in many lands. As a result there are thousands upon thousands, young and old, seeking safety and security from earth’s woes. There is no hope offered in the system of false religion, but in the New World society is found a people rejoicing in the knowledge of the good purposes of Jehovah, with the assurance that his kingdom, long prayed for and hoped for, is now established in the heavens and soon will rid the earth of Satan and his system of things which has so long oppressed mankind and reproached the name of Jehovah, our righteous God.
14. What Scriptural counsel impresses the importance of proper preparation for the ministry?
14 At any time since Abel’s day it has been a grand privilege to be a witness for Jehovah. But now, particularly, it is because we see the fulfillment of so many Bible prophecies. As an example, read Isaiah 60:1-3, 8 (AS): “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Jehovah will arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” From Jehovah comes this command, and it means that the New World society has much work to do before his wrath breaks forth at Armageddon. This should gladden their hearts. Just think! “kings” and “nations” will come seeking comfort and light from Jehovah’s ministers whom he has appointed to serve. For this service it is necessary that his witnesses possess certain requirements. Now is the time to prepare for this work, for in all lands many ministers are needed. Are you interested in this lifesaving work? If so, prepare for it. Jesus said a “slave that understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes.” (Luke 12:47, NW) All who wish to prepare for this great ministry will find that every possible help has been provided by Jehovah through his organization. Avoid the need of ‘being beaten with many strokes.’ You will not enjoy them nearly so much as preparing for the ministry. Now there is no time to lose. Prompt, thorough action is essential!
UNIQUE WORK NOW IN PROGRESS
15, 16. What unique work are the right kind of ministers now doing? Why?
15 The work to be done by the servants of Jehovah in these days is unique. It consists of going to the homes of the people and conducting home Bible studies with all who are interested. This method appeals to honest-hearted persons, for they can study their Bibles in the quiet of their homes and there learn much about God’s new world and the blessings in store for all who obey Jehovah’s Word. Bible questions are answered in a manner that can be understood and remembered, and all of this without spending much time “getting ready to go to church.” Newly interested persons are instructed in the importance of telling others what they learn, and these are assisted by servants who are mature ministers and who possess the necessary requirements for their ministry. Thus in a short time other persons become “apt to teach” still others, rapidly learning what is required of them in their ministerial standing.
16 Now the good news of Jehovah’s established kingdom is being proclaimed in well over a hundred and forty different lands, and the proclamation is ever increasing. In countries where the Bible has not been taught people are hungering for the Kingdom truths. In some places are those who cannot read, but when the message is read to them they recognize the ring of truth, remember it and promptly get busy telling it to others near them. What a privilege it is to help these people learn about Jehovah and his kingdom! Soon, however, this part of the work Jehovah has assigned to his people will be finished, and there will be no further opportunity to suffer for Christ and the truth’s sake, something his apostles delighted to do. Remember his reminder: “Already the reaper is receiving a reward and gathering fruit for everlasting life.” (John 4:35, 36, NW) To fulfill the Master’s command to preach the good news of the Kingdom to all nations many missionaries and “princes” are needed who have the necessary requirements for this ministry. These must be well organized in all lands. “The harvest, indeed, is great, but the workers are few,” said the Master in his day; and today it is even so, for the whole world is the field. Isaiah evidently was referring to the preaching work to be done in these days when he wrote about witnesses for Jehovah being gathered from all nations and instructed how to work. “But now thus saith Jehovah that created thee, . . . Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made.”—Luke 10:2, NW; Isa. 43:1, 5-7, AS.
17, 18. What features of the 1953 world assembly illustrate the foretold unifying of those now sharing in the ministry?
17 Now this surely does not mean that Jehovah will gather all his witnesses to one place upon earth and there only have them preach. Rather it seems to indicate that he will gather them into close unity in order to instruct them. His statement, “whom I have formed,” would mean those pressed together as a unit or organization to show forth Jehovah’s glory. See how this was done in a limited way at Yankee Stadium, New York city, July 19-26, 1953. On Wednesday of that eight-day world assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses the Watch Tower Society’s president addressed the assembled circuit, district and branch servants on the subject “Principal Work of All Servants.” The huge stadium was filled to capacity and all followed with deep interest the outline of preaching work to be forwarded in all lands, the purpose being to gather the King’s other sheep into the New World society. The speaker pointed out the necessity for all to work in the same way under direction of the organization Jehovah has established upon earth for proclaiming his message of hope to all the nations, just as Jesus commanded: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.”—Matt. 24:14, NW.
18 In that great audience at Yankee Stadium the majority of the nations of earth were represented, and they were told how important it is to finish this work as soon as possible. The activities of the whole organization were outlined in much detail and the necessity for all to work as one great body, to complete the work of witnessing to the nations, was strongly emphasized. The nature of the work these servants must perform is also stated in Jehovah’s saying: “All the nations are gathered together, and the peoples are assembled; yet who among them could foretell this, could announce it to us beforehand? Let them bring their witnesses to prove them in the right, to hear their plea, and say, ‘It is true.’”—Isa. 43:9, AT.
19. (a) What futile efforts of world leaders of today were foretold by Jehovah? (b) What responsibility does he entrust to his witnesses?
19 The nations of the world are in extreme fear of the future, and well they might be as they discover newer and more lethal weapons powerful enough to destroy humanity. Also, they seem to have the disposition to use such weapons. Their witnesses, the clergymen of false religion and the rulers of the various nations, have no comforting message to offer the people. Oh, yes, they warn them about the dangers that lie ahead and ask them to contribute liberally for armaments to meet the serious situation confronting the world. But they cannot tell what is in store for the nations. Jehovah invites them to relate their plan for the protection and salvation of humanity, but they have none. So they are advised to keep quiet about world peace and prosperity through their vain efforts and to listen to Jehovah God who, through his witnesses now on earth, has a comforting message from the Bible for all mankind. And to his ministers Jehovah says: ‘You are my witnesses, and my servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am Jehovah; and besides me there is no savior.’—Isa. 43:10, 11, AS.
20. Why may all people now be urged to listen to Jehovah’s witnesses?
20 By careful examination we find that Jehovah’s faithful prophet Isaiah locates the time for fulfillment of this prophecy. It is the time when the nations of earth are gathered together to try to find a way to bring and preserve peace for the world. But under the foretold shaking by Jehovah conditions will grow worse and worse. Now this prophet, Isaiah, under inspiration admonishes these gathered nations to give ear to the witnesses of Jehovah, for these know his purposes and have been chosen to give the nations the needed information to be guided in these critical times. Jehovah is the only one that can save his people, and all are urged to look to his Word for comfort and hope. To this Jesus also referred when he said: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.”—Matt. 24:45, 46, NW.
21. What duties of the symbolic faithful and discreet slave illustrate present responsibilities of the right kind of minister?
21 Jehovah’s “faithful and discreet slave,” the united remaining anointed brothers of Christ Jesus, for now over thirty years has been serving God’s people with the truth from his Word as understanding of it has been becoming clearer and clearer. Now that slave is called upon to give a message of truth and comfort to nations in distress ‘because of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.’ Yes, they see total annihilation unless something is done soon to deliver the people from their own fiendish devices. Notice that Jesus said he would “appoint” his faithful and discreet slave over all his belongings. Here “belongings” partly refers to truths now to be announced to the nations, and the slave’s being appointed over such belongings indicates he bears responsibility as a distributor. All who have dedicated themselves to Jehovah God and his ministerial service are required by him now to participate in this great distribution work. To that end all should do their utmost to develop the requirements necessary for this world-wide ministry to the nations. When this work is completed, then the battle of Armageddon will come. It will completely overthrow Satan’s wicked organization, invisible and visible; it will throw that Serpent into the abyss and clear the way for the permanent rule of Jehovah God by his Christ. Unopposed, that righteous government will then bring peace and happiness to all believing survivors, to Jehovah’s own honor and glory. So then study your Bible, meet the necessary requirements for the ministry, join in activities of the New World society of ministers, and live forever in Jehovah’s new world now near!