Enlarging Your Privileges of Service
1. (a) What did Jesus forcefully illustrate in the parable of the minas, and how? (b) Who is the one that has received kindly power, and what interests has he entrusted to his servants?
THE need for us to be productive in the service of our Master was forcefully illustrated by Jesus in a parable. He told of a certain man of noble birth who was about to travel abroad to secure kingly power and who called his servants to him and, entrusting each one with a mina, he told them to do business with it. “Eventually when he arrived home after having secured the kingly power, he commanded to be called to him these slaves to whom he had given the silver money, in order to ascertain what they had gained by business activity. Then the first one presented himself, saying: ‘Lord, your mina, by trading, went up to ten minas.’ So he said to him: ‘Well done, good slave! Because in a very small matter you have proved yourself faithful, accept authority over ten cities.’ Now the second came, saying: ‘Your mina, Lord, made five minas.’ He said to this one also: ‘You, too, be in charge of five cities.’” Another slave, although he had not lost his mina, showed no increase, and for this he was judged unfaithful and what he had was taken from him. (Luke 19:12-26) Christ Jesus is the One to whom Jehovah has given kingly power and he has entrusted the privilege of participating in the ministry as Kingdom witnesses to all his followers, saying: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matt. 28:19, 20.
2. Why is it important for each one to show an increase?
2 By this parable he shows that approval is obtained, not by merely retaining what has been entrusted to us, but by working with it in such a way that we show an increase. Why so? Because this indicates a right and good heart condition. As Jesus explained in his parable of the sower: “As for the one sown upon the right kind of soil, this is the one hearing the word and getting the sense of it, who really does bear fruit and produces, this one a hundredfold, that one sixty, the other thirty.” (Matt. 13:23) One whose heart proves to be the right kind of soil is receptive to God’s Word and responsive to the direction of his organization, and, as a result, God blesses the work of his hands with increase.
3. What is necessary on our part if we are going to show an increase?
3 To show an increase we must apply ourselves, seeking to acquire more knowledge and increased skills; we should be progressive and willing to take on more responsibility in the service of God. Each one needs to continue to grow in a knowledge of the Bible truth, be productive of the fruitage of Christian qualities in his life, and disseminate the good news by making public declaration of his faith. (1 Tim. 2:3, 4; John 15:8; Rom. 10:10) At no point should we become complacent, settling down with an attitude of having done all that is necessary. Rather, we need to exert ourselves. “Stay awake, stand firm in the faith, carry on as men, grow mighty. Let all your affairs take place with love.” “Exert yourselves vigorously to get in through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to get in but will not be strong enough.”—1 Cor. 16:13, 14; Luke 13:24.
ADVANCEMENT IN FIELD MINISTRY
4. What privilege is open to those who have gained some knowledge of God’s Word and accepted it, and how should they view this opportunity?
4 Perhaps you are one who has been studying the Bible for a period of some months now with the assistance of one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Your efforts have no doubt been richly rewarded; you have found satisfying Bible answers to questions that perplexed you for many years and the solution to many personal problems; you have found a dependable hope in God’s new world that has filled you with joy. Having compared the events of our generation with Jesus’ great prophecy on the time of the end of the old world, you now know that we are living in that time and have been since 1914. You also learned from that prophecy that there is service in which you can have a share, for Jesus said: “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) Having in mind that God’s Word encourages each one to progress to Christian maturity, now is the time to make definite arrangements to enlarge your service to God by participating in that grand work. (Heb. 5:12–6:1) There are millions of persons who do not yet know the things that you have learned. As Jesus said: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.” (Matt. 9:37) Will you have a share in the joyous harvest work along with the one who has orally instructed you? Will you enlarge your privileges of service, showing that the truth that God has given you has entered the ‘right soil’ of a good heart, that you got the sense of it and are productive in his service?—Gal. 6:6.
5. (a) As regards the ministry, what should everyone associated with the New World society have in mind? (b) What are some of the activities into which everyone can branch out so as to show increase?
5 Everyone associated with the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses, whether newly interested or an experienced minister, ought to have in mind enlarging his privileges of service. Each one, being progressive, should have a goal in the ministry toward which he is working—a goal that can be attained in a reasonable length of time and that will serve as a steppingstone to further advancement. There are many features of service in which we can engage, and we should progressively endeavor to include all of them in our regular program of activity. In congregations everywhere there is much room for improvement along these lines, and that means that there is need for personal improvement. Are you having a regular share in the house-to-house ministry, as did Jesus and his apostles? (Acts 20:20; 1 Cor. 11:1) Have you done so this week? This being the time for the news of God’s established kingdom to be proclaimed, are you having a regular share in distributing the magazine that is dedicated to proclaiming that kingdom, The Watchtower, along with the Awake!, its companion? Much good can be done by regular distribution of these journals, and it is the privilege of every publisher to have a share. Is that a privilege that you appreciate? Then there are the very important back-call and Bible study activities. No doubt it was through such service that you were enabled to come to a knowledge of the truth, and this should help you to appreciate the importance of having a regular, weekly share in these features of service to aid others onto the way to life. Enlarge your ministry to include all these activities. If you are already regularly participating in them, consider how you can improve your effectiveness so as to accomplish more in the time you do devote to the field ministry. As you enlarge your service find someone else in the congregation that needs help to do the same, and lovingly offer that help and encouragement. As you show increase in your own ministry, and assist others to do the same, the rewarding joy that goes with such a productive course will be yours.—Matt. 25:23.
6. (a) How does the theocratic ministry school aid one to make advancement? (b) How is the diligence of each student to advance a source of blessing to all who attend the school?
6 The counsel concerning the ministry that Paul gave to Timothy is appropriate for all of us today. He said: “Ponder over these things, be absorbed in them, that your advancement may be manifest to all persons. Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching.” (1 Tim. 4:15, 16) The theocratic ministry school in all congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses affords excellent opportunities to do just that, and all associated with the congregation do well to avail themselves of this provision. Prove yourself to be like Timothy and ‘let your advancement be manifest to all persons.’ Keep in mind the counsel you are given in the school and put forth earnest effort, not only at the time of your next assignment, but daily in your conversation and regularly in your field ministry to make advancement. Let each assignment be a marker of progress in your ministry, as you master the material you present and develop good qualities of speaking and teaching. The audience too will benefit as you make advancement. It is true that most of them have a general knowledge of the material you are presenting, but extra effort on your part to express the ideas with clarity enables them to get a firmer grasp on the points. Your presenting the material as you really would to a person of good will in the field ministry makes it possible for them to learn from your example how to reason on it and make it understandable to one who knows very little of the Bible truth. The warmth and enthusiasm in your delivery deepens heart appreciation for the truth on the part of all who hear you. Why, your well-prepared, earnest presentation may be the very thing that stimulates the appreciation of a newcomer sufficiently that he will return to future meetings and continue to drink of the life-giving waters of truth. Thus your advancement is a source of blessing both to yourself and to all who observe you.
REACHING OUT FOR GREATER PRIVILEGES
7. In connection with field ministry, what opportunities for enlarged service in the congregation are open to mature ones, and how should all view this activity?
7 The need for mature ministers, those who have applied themselves and whose progress is manifest to all, individuals who are ready and willing to accept greater responsibility, is great. How many are there in your congregation who, due to immaturity, are devoting only a few hours to the service each month and showing little in the way of increase? They need the assistance of mature ones who are willing to sit down and study with them, help them prepare sermons, aid them to improve their handling of problems met in the house-to-house work, go along with them on back-calls and help them to establish home Bible studies. They need personal instruction and encouragement. “We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong, and not to be pleasing ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor in what is good for his upbuilding.” (Rom. 15:1, 2) Are you taking steps to enlarge your ministry to include this privilege of service?
8. What is the right view of service meeting assignments one may be given?
8 As you progress you may find that you are privileged to oversee a part of the congregation’s service meeting program. Many regularly are called on to do this. How should this be viewed? Paul answers: “He that presides, let him do it in real earnest.” (Rom. 12:8) When given this privilege, even if it should be every week, do not put off preparation for the last minute and then hastily gather some ideas just to fill the assigned time. You have been entrusted with serving to the congregation of God’s people spiritual food and counsel from His table; never treat it as something common. (Mal. 1:12) Carefully study your assignment well in advance. Give consideration to presenting the material in such a way that it will be directly applicable to the circumstances of those in the congregation. Your assignment is not merely to present information, but to put it across in such a way that all will appreciate its value, remember it and use it. Your effectiveness will be reflected in their effectiveness in the field ministry, and, in turn, in the lives of those to whom they minister.
9. What service opportunities have opened up as a result of the increase in the number of congregations?
9 Productive field ministry has resulted in an amazing increase in the number of congregations, and this too opens opportunities for enlarged service. Just think: During the last two years 3,130 new congregations of Jehovah’s people were formed world-wide! This means that during that time 3,130 new congregation overseers were needed, besides over 21,000 ministerial servants and more than 160 circuit and district servants to visit at regular intervals. Yet this is not all. In nearly every congregation there are openings for mature brothers to enlarge their privileges by taking on servant responsibilities, for many of those now assigned hold two and three positions.
10. (a) How does one reach out for the office of overseer? (b) Why is this the right course to pursue?
10 Paul commends those who are reaching out for such service, saying: “If any man is reaching out for an office of overseer, he is desirous of a right kind of work.” (1 Tim. 3:1) It is not honor that they seek; they are desirous of work, the right kind of work; they want to do more in Jehovah’s service and to be of greater service to their Christian brothers. As we have already seen in the parable of the minas, someone reaches out for the office of overseer, he shows himself worthy of being entrusted with greater responsibility, by proving himself faithful and showing increase in caring for what has already been put into his care. If he is diligent and acquires skill in the house-to-house ministry, makes back-calls, conducts progressive home Bible studies, is regular in all the features of the service, handles each assignment on the congregation meetings in an upbuilding manner, and manifests in all that he does the fruits of God’s spirit, he is showing by his faithful course that he qualifies to be used as an overseer. Overseers are such, not because they have gained the attention of some prominent brother, but because they have won the approval of God. Having proved themselves faithful in little things, they are blessed by God with greater responsibilities. (Ps. 75:5-7; Luke 16:10) Are you pursuing such a course of faithfulness in caring for the Kingdom interests entrusted to your care?
11. What is it that motivates one to take up pioneer service, and what arrangement makes it possible for many to share in this service?
11 Thousands of forward-looking ministers in the New World society, knowing that nothing this old world has compares in value with God’s service, have organized their affairs to devote more time to the actual preaching and teaching work as full-time pioneer ministers. Tens of thousands more, although they have responsibilities that make it impossible to be regular pioneers, also have their eyes on enlarged service privileges. Through careful planning they are able to buy out the opportune time to the extent of two weeks or a month or more each year for vacation pioneer service. Their heart is in Jehovah’s service, and they are constantly on the watch for opportunities to share more fully in it. They keep testing whether they are pursuing the course of true faith, and they are moved to exert themselves to make opportunities thus to enlarge their service.—Eph. 5:15, 16; 2 Cor. 13:5.
12. Why are individuals and families moving out to serve where the need for Kingdom witnesses is great?
12 Other stronghearted individuals and family groups have pulled up stakes and moved out to new localities and even to foreign countries where the need for Kingdom witnesses is great. Why? It is not that they had no family obligations or other responsibilities or had an abundance of money they did not know how else to use. Rather, they are keenly aware of the will of God for our day; they have faith in God that this work of Witnessing that is now being done is the most important for our day. Having heard the call for help in the ministry from these other places, they felt as did Paul and his companions when Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man who was beseeching him and saying: “Step over into Macedonia and help us.” “Now as soon as he had seen the vision,” the account continues, “we sought to go forth into Macedonia, drawing the conclusion that God had summoned us to declare the good news to them.” (Acts 16:9, 10) So, today, those who have responded to the call feel that it is God who has summoned them, that he is the one who has showed them this open door of service, and, like Isaiah, they respond: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isa. 6:8) Their faith is being richly rewarded as they aid those who hunger and thirst for righteousness to take hold of the service of the true God with them.
13. What view should we take of present opportunities to increase our service, and with what view of the future?
13 No matter where we are serving in Jehovah’s organization, there is opportunity for us to do as did the faithful slaves of Jesus’ parable, and show an increase in the mina, the Kingdom ministry, entrusted to us. Strong faith in God, love for those who manifest good will toward the Creator, “keeping close in mind” the impending day of Jehovah’s destruction of the wicked world, and eager anticipation of the blessings of the new world stimulate us to such a faithful course. (2 Pet. 3:11-13) We are not looking forward to a time when we are to be discharged from the Master’s service. We do not anticipate Armageddon as a time when our service to God will be finished. When an assignment has been faithfully performed, God does not discharge such a one from his service or retire him from active service. Our joy is in actively serving Jehovah, and those who prove faithful now will be blessed with enlarged opportunities to serve their Creator in the new world. As shown by Jesus in the parable of the talents, to the one who proves faithful in his trust the Master says: “Well done, good and faithful slave! you were faithful over a few things. I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.”—Matt. 25:23.
PURSUING THE GOAL OF NEW-WORLD SERVICE
14, 15. What enlarged service prospects are in store for those of Christ’s anointed body members who prove faithful now?
14 Just think of the grand work that lies ahead of those who prove their faith now! Those who have been anointed with God’s spirit and who make the calling and choosing of them sure will have service assignments in the heavenly kingdom with Christ. Glorious new fields of activity will open to them, for “they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings,” as members of the New Jerusalem, the capital organization of God’s entire universe. (Rev. 20:6) To these anointed ones who have served God with all their heart, who have pursued the course of peace with God and his Son and their Christian brothers, and who have stood firm even in the face of violent persecution, apply the promises: “Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God. Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God’. Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.”—Matt. 5:8-10.
15 By means of his inspired Word Jehovah has let them know what some of the delightful prospects are that await them, and of this mention is made by the apostle Paul, who said: “I continue mentioning you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the accurate knowledge of him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he called you, what the glorious riches are which he holds as an inheritance for the holy ones, and what the surpassing greatness of his power is toward us believers. It is according to the operation of the mightiness of his strength, with which he has operated in the case of the Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this system of things, but also in that to come. He also subjected all things under his feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills up all things in all.” (Eph. 1:16-23) Their hope of such marvelous heavenly service is an “anchor for the soul,” enabling them to hold faithfully to the service God has given them now and to lay hold of the hope set before them.—Heb. 6:19.
16, 17. What service privileges await those who are blessed with life in the earthly realm of the Kingdom?
16 Then there is a great crowd of others who are now serving side by side with the King’s anointed brothers and on whom God’s spirit of blessing also rests. To them Christ says: “Come, you who have my Father’s blessing, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation.” (Matt. 25:34) They look forward to service in the earthly realm of the Kingdom, and what delightful prospects they have!
17 Those who now prove themselves faithful overseers in the New World society will, no doubt, continue to enjoy positions of princely service after Armageddon. There will be much work to do, and it will be done in an orderly way. (Isa. 32:1, 2; 1 Cor. 14:33) After God’s execution of judgment upon the wicked in his war of Armageddon, the earthly subjects of the King will have before them a world-wide cleanup program that will eclipse anything this globe has ever seen. Countless numbers of human dead will have to be buried. (Ezek. 39:11-16) Homes will be built. Paradise conditions will be extended to the ends of the earth. That will be no time for irregular workers or for those who seek to do only what they feel necessary to get by. Those alive to share in that service will be those who love God with all their heart and all their strength and all their vital force; they are the ones who prove faithful in their assignments now, and who will be blessed with even more to do then. As children are born to the Armageddon survivors, and when those persons in the memory of God are raised from the dead, there will be a tremendous program of education. (Rev. 20:12) Teaching ability acquired now will continue to be put to good use then, aiding new arrivals to gain accurate knowledge and deep appreciation of the will of God. Under the administration of the kingdom of heaven, this earth will be brought to paradisaic loveliness and its obedient inhabitants to perfection. All such inhabitants will be wholehearted participants in the worship of Jehovah.
18. What proper view should we have toward present and future service given us by God?
18 This is the will of God, and it is for such that all Christians pray, saying: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) With earnest longing for that time, they serve God now, that they may be blessed with participation in the satisfying service assignments that Jehovah will provide them then and throughout all eternity! To them, the service of God is no oppressive burden; they do not view the taking on of greater responsibilities as any unpleasant prospect. They find the greatest joy and satisfaction in doing the divine will, and it is with eager anticipation that they seek to enlarge their participation therein.