Why So Much to Do?
NO QUESTION about it, today the Christian witnesses of Jehovah have much to do. There is reading and studying of the Bible and Bible literature. There are five weekly meetings of the congregation to prepare for and attend. There are all the various features of the Christian field ministry, preaching from house to house, making return visits and conducting Bible studies in the homes of the people. There is also the need to assist their Christian brothers, as well as preparing for parts on the various programs, and so forth. And those who are servants in the congregations have still more duties to discharge.
Much to do? No doubt about it! But have you ever considered the fact that in having much to do Christian ministers are not altogether unique? Such professional men as general practitioners, the GP’s, often have much to do. A conscientious general practitioner may devote as much as seventy hours or more a week to his profession, all because of the demands made upon him by his patients. And, additionally, he has much reading to do so as to keep up with progress made in medicine.
If the conscientious medical practitioner has reason to be busy, has much to do, Jehovah’s Christian ministers have even more reason to be busy. How so? Because theirs is a far more important work, that of spiritual healing, which leads to everlasting life, and, what is more, everybody is in need of the kind of healing that they offer. However, their work requires much time and patience because they must first show the people how sadly they are in need of spiritual healing and how serious spiritual sickness is, for most persons are not conscious of their spiritual plight.
THE URGENCY OF OUR TIMES
Another reason for such ministers being so busy, having so much to do, is that there is so little time left in which to do spiritual healing. We are, indeed, living in urgent times. Jesus likened our urgent times to the days of Noah, and we know that Noah had much to do, caring for his household, preaching, building the ark, gathering the animals and storing away a year’s supply of food for all. (Gen. 6:13–7:5; Matt. 24:37-39) And remember Gideon and his band that put the Midianites to flight? They had an urgent task before them if they were to clinch the victory, and so we read of their being “tired but keeping up the pursuit.”—Judg. 8:4.
As Christians we are in a spiritual warfare, opposing the forces that cause spiritual sickness. It keeps us busy and at times we get tired; but we keep up the pursuit, as it were. We keep on going because we know that lives are involved.
Jesus said on one occasion: “We must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no man can work.” Such a night came upon Jesus. But today Armageddon is coming, which cannot be far away, since the 1914 generation will not pass away before it comes! No question about it, time is running out! Is it not fitting, then, that we have much to do as Armageddon gets closer?—John 9:4; Matt. 24:34.
A PROTECTION FOR US
Actually, “having plenty to do in the work of the Lord” is a protection, a blessing for us. (1 Cor. 15:58) In what way? In that, since we are no part of the world, having much to do protects us from its temptations and snares that beset us on every hand. It is thoughtful on the part of the “faithful and discreet slave” to provide us with plenty to read and study, with many meetings to attend and with much to do in the field ministry. By keeping busy with these things we will find our minds filled with the things that are upbuilding. This protects our minds against the spirit of this world, and ourselves from being occupied with the works of the flesh.—Gal. 5:19-23; Phil. 4:8.
Take a lesson from King David. He would never have made the most heinous mistake of his life had he kept busy. Once King David stayed at home, apparently deciding to “take it easy.” Had he been busy fighting the sons of Ammon at Rabbah, along with his general, Joab, David would never have been exposed to that temptation to which he succumbed, afterward to regret it O so bitterly! Can you not look back and see how at times having much to do may have kept you from making a serious mistake?—2 Sam. 11:1; Psalm 51.
PROVISIONS TO ACCOMMODATE EVERYONE
The fact that the “faithful and discreet slave” provides us with so much to do in the field ministry does not mean that each one is expected to do all that everyone else does. For example, the local congregation may provide for Tuesday evening prestudy field service; for Wednesday night back-call activity; for midweek daytime witnessing and Saturday magazine work as well as Sunday house-to-house and back-call service. These arrangements are not made with the thought that everyone must get out in service practically every day in the week. The meetings for service are for our convenience, to help us.
For Christian housewives whose husbands are not believers and who want them home Sundays, there is the midweek witnessing. Then, again, one may be able to share in the Tuesday prestudy activity; another may not, but is able to get out on Wednesday evening. Then, again, another may be able to engage in the Saturday magazine work, but another may only be able to get out Sundays for the field ministry. By our having many arrangements there is opportunity for all to have a share according to their conditions and circumstances, and no one needs to feel pushed or pressured to get out at a time not possible for him to do so.
Then, again, not all have the same strength or energy. Some may be able to devote only one or two hours instead of three on Sunday mornings or afternoons. Better to spend that one hour than not to go out at all. Here one can take encouragement from the widow with her coins of very small value. The point is that she gave all she had; she did not give little because of lack of desire to give more.—Luke 21:1-4.
So each one of us can examine his own position. If we are wholehearted in Jehovah’s service, we have reason to rejoice. But if we hold back on service because we prefer other activity, then we need to improve our spiritual outlook.
ENOUGH SPIRITUAL FOOD FOR ALL
The same principle applies to our reading the publications of the Watch Tower Society. Some have more time to read than others; some read faster than others; some can grasp things more quickly than can others. We might liken our spiritual provisions to a great banquet being spread for many guests, old and young, large and small. Not all can eat the same amount of food, but there is an abundance for all. So it is with our spiritual food.—Isa. 25:6.
Not everyone may be able to read all that the Society publishes. But certainly all should endeavor to find time to read the Bible regularly and to read the Society’s official journal, The Watchtower, from cover to cover. If we find that we are not doing this we may well ask ourselves, Are we making the best possible use of the time at our disposal? Could it be that we are spending time reading worldly magazines that could be spent reading The Watchtower? Or are we spending more time than we should with the daily paper or watching television?
What about reading the Awake! magazine? So as to appeal to many different kinds of people it contains a great variety of different articles. A sister may not be interested in what it has to say about mechanical care for autos and a brother may not be interested in an article about sewing. But there is something for everyone, a wide variety of subjects for persons in varying circumstances.
However, do not minimize the value of Awake! If you can, read each issue from cover to cover. Awake! protects us from the creature worship that worldly magazines encourage by featuring personalities, and at the same time it gives us the theocratic perspective on everything it discusses. For example, worldly magazines may tell of the rise of “situational ethics,” but they do not give us God’s view regarding these. They may have interesting accounts about haunted houses but they have no idea what is back of it all. Awake! articles are prepared by God’s organization, which is interested in our spiritual welfare.—Rom. 8:6.
As Christian witnesses of Jehovah, we do have much to do in the way of personal Bible reading and study of Bible literature, meetings to attend and field ministry to perform. But if we appreciate why we have so much to do—because of the importance of our work and the urgency of our times—we do not complain. Having so much to do is a real safeguard for us. And by using the spirit of a sound mind we can strike a happy balance between what there is to do and what we are able to do, to Jehovah’s praise and to our own well-being.