Becoming Mature Ministers in Order to Aid Others
Even as a little boy looks forward to growing up and becoming like his father, so each one starting out as a Christian should look forward to becoming spiritually mature. Why? Because maturity has so much to recommend itself. Then instead of wanting to lean on others, one will be able to realize the greater happiness that comes from aiding others to attain to maturity.—Acts 20:35.
As a mature minister of Jehovah, Jesus set the example in aiding others, and in particular did he instruct the apostle Peter to do the same. (John 21:15-17) One of the ways Peter did this was by counseling others, as when he wrote: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as it were the sacred pronouncements of God; if anyone ministers, let him minister as dependent on the strength that God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”—1 Pet. 4:11.a
It takes spiritual maturity to demonstrate such reliance on God, and to attain spiritual maturity takes time. Its growth, however, is not wholly limited by time as is a child’s growing to manhood; for no matter how hard a child may work or how much he may eat he cannot speed up the growing process. But spiritual growth to maturity can be slow or comparatively rapid, and so we find that some in a few months do make the progress it takes others many months to make. Two of the biggest factors in the rate of spiritual growth are the degree of one’s appreciation of spiritual things and the completeness of one’s devotion to Jehovah God.—Mark 12:30; Heb. 5:12-14.
All important in this regard is regularly partaking of the right kind of spiritual food, which can be obtained by a study of God’s Word together with aids that help you to understand it. Essential also is your gathering together with other Christians where your knowledge, faith and love can be built up and where you can be incited to good works by the public declarations of others. (Heb. 10:23-25) Important also is prayer. “Persevere in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12) Then when faced with temptations, such as to indulge in loose conduct, you will be able to resist by thinking of such Scriptural counsel as: “Flee from fornication.”—1 Cor. 6:18.
Even as a child needs to exercise if he would grow up healthy and strong, so the Christian needs the exercise of preaching to others if he would become spiritually healthy, strong and mature. A great help in this connection is the Theocratic Ministry School of Jehovah’s witnesses. In each congregation there are also other opportunities from time to time, particularly for the males, to take part in the programs; such assignments should be eagerly accepted, diligently prepared and enthusiastically fulfilled, all of which will further aid in growing to maturity.—Heb. 6:1-3.
As you gain maturity and see your privilege of aiding others, bear in mind the importance of love and patience. You must be gentle with those whom you would aid, even as the apostle Paul was with the Thessalonians ‘as a nursing mother’ with her babe. Consideration must also be shown to grievous personal problems; and, while you cannot tell another what to do in regard to these, you can show the Scriptural principles involved so that the other person can see his problems in a clear light and is able to make wise decisions in dealing with them.—1 Thess. 2:7; Gal. 6:5.
Even though conducting a Bible study in the home is an ideal way to aid another, do not let it go at that. Keep stressing the importance of taking in Bible knowledge through personal study also; keep building up appreciation for Jehovah’s name and kingdom and make very clear the difference between Satan’s organization with its Babylon the Great and Jehovah’s organization.—Rev. 18:4.
As such a one makes progress you can encourage him to accompany you in making calls on still others; but do not push him into the ministry. By Scriptural examples and field experiences, your own or those found in the Yearbook, whet his appetite for the field ministry. Then gradually encourage him to share in the house-to-house ministry. As he makes progress be sure to give him encouragement, exercising care to limit constructive counsel generally to but one weakness at a time.—Acts 20:20.
Yes, particularly during the month of August let each Christian witness of Jehovah strive for maturity so that he can aid others, that these, in turn, can aid still others.—2 Tim. 2:2.
a For details see The Watchtower, May 1, 1965.