What Is More Important to You?
IS A handful of grain of more value to you than a handful of diamonds? Is a closet full of clothes more to be desired than a closet full of gold? The circumstances you are in have a bearing on what is more important.
If you were isolated in some remote part of the earth and without food, the grain would mean more to you than diamonds. Or, if you were marooned on a freezing mountaintop, you would spurn the gold for warm clothes.
The Creator has richly endowed this earth for man’s enjoyment. Surely it brings pleasure to have certain material things in rich supply. But is there something else that is even more important, more valuable, now?
HONEST ANALYSIS WISE
Many persons have been examining this question seriously. As Christians, their answer may be, “The gaining of material possessions is not the big thing in my life.” But are such persons really living in harmony with what they say?
That is what a well-to-do couple in Kirchberg, Germany, asked about themselves last year. As they were seated in their comfortable home considering their material prosperity, they began talking about the present critical times, and about their service to God. They reflected on the ministry of Jesus Christ discussed extensively in the recent Watchtower article “Get a Firm Hold on the Real Life.” The result?
The man reports: “We made two columns on a piece of paper. In the one we noted what our expenses would be if we lived more modestly. In the other, what I would have to earn in order to meet these reduced expenses. We found that we could actually manage with only half the money I was making!”
So they gave up their comfortable home, and found a small apartment. The man adjusted his employment, working only five hours a day instead of eight or nine. Now both he and his wife devote much more of their time sharing with others the good news of God’s kingdom, which they believe will soon replace this entire system of things with a righteous rule.—Matt. 6:9, 10; Dan. 2:44.
It is not an easy thing to make adjustments in one’s lifestyle in order to serve God more fully. But those who do so often realize a joyful contentment and clean conscience that no amount of material possessions can bring. This has been the experience of a thirty-four-year-old Witness in Dortmund, Germany. As a fireman, his work schedule was such that for six consecutive weeks he was unable to attend any of the congregational meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses; then for six weeks he was free to attend.
This circumstance bothered him. Eventually, toward the end of 1973, an article entitled “How Will You React to Pressure?” appeared in The Watchtower. It said:
“Keep in mind that the Devil claims you are more interested in your own economic security than in God’s worship, and that if the going gets rough you will abandon Jehovah. He made that claim in connection with God’s servant Job. But, in spite of being deprived of family, friends and possessions, Job refused to bend to such a pressure tactic. . . . Will your reaction to economic pressure be the same as Job’s? If so you can be assured of a comparable reward.”
The fireman pondered over this. He had a wife and child to support, but knew that the family could manage on less materially. So he quit his secure position and obtained other employment at lower pay. He explains:
“I rejoice that I made this decision and am able to attend all the meetings with my family. As an elder, I can now do so much more in the congregation to serve my brothers. I am convinced that Jehovah blesses all of his servants when they put true worship ahead of personal interests.”
NEW ONES MAKE ADJUSTMENTS
It is not only persons with years of Christian experience that are making such adjustments to serve Jehovah God. A young couple in Hemmoor, Germany, came to a knowledge of God’s purposes in 1971. But they had a farm for which to care, and this interfered with attending congregational meetings. The man explains what they finally did:
“We continually took the matter to Jehovah in prayer, and decided to sell our farm. However, there was no purchaser. But, since we wanted to stick to our decision, we turned the farm over to my brother without receiving any money for it.
“We haven’t regretted it. True, we don’t have fresh eggs, milk and fowl, but at the convention of Jehovah’s witnesses in Düsseldorf in 1973 we were baptized. We have had encouraging experiences that show how Jehovah can assist one. Therefore we look to the future with confidence.”
In another instance, a karate expert from Korea married a German girl who, in 1971, became one of Jehovah’s witnesses. The husband, however, was so wrapped up in his athletic career that he was not interested in Bible study. But in 1973 it became clear to him that something in his life was not right. He realized that due to his activities he had completely isolated himself, making it impossible to enjoy family life. He began seriously to consider his situation.
“I suggested to my wife,” he reports, “that she arrange for someone to study the Bible with me. Today I am convinced that the Bible is inspired of God and I believe that I have found the truth.”
He gave up his athletic career and accepted work as a mechanic at 1,000 DM ($400) less a month than he was making before. Yet he says: “I am much happier now being able to serve Jehovah along with my wife and daughter.”
PROVING WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT
It is easy to say that one feels that God’s service is more important, but how one lives is indicative of what really holds priority in one’s life. Thus a young man from Ilvesheim, Germany, had a desire to be a full-time Kingdom preacher, but he also enjoyed a high-paying job. In discussing plans with his prospective wife, he discovered that she had a similar desire to preach full time. So they both applied for this service, which they wanted to begin on January 1, 1971, shortly after their marriage.
Two weeks before they were to begin their special service, the young man was called in by his boss who, with a smile, said that he surely was not serious about quitting. After being assured that he was, the boss expressed confidence he would change his mind upon hearing that he would be receiving a pay increase of 700 DM ($280) a month and a bonus of 6,000 DM ($2,400)! The young man said he would discuss the matter with his wife.
“We prayerfully considered the situation,” the young man explained, “and decided that our desire to be full-time preachers would never materialize if we put it off. So we decided to place everything in Jehovah’s hands. I quit my job on January 1, 1971, and we have since enjoyed many spiritual blessings.”
But what if one has spent a lifetime achieving a prestigious position in this system? Are even persons like this proving that the full-time preaching work is more important to them?
In 1945, after eight years in German military service, a man returned from a prisoner-of-war camp to begin life anew. He had two small children, and two more were born shortly thereafter. He plunged into a study of law, and after several years reached his goal when he was appointed as a judge.
Years later, in 1958, his family came in contact with Jehovah’s witnesses. His oldest daughters dedicated their lives to serve Jehovah and symbolized this by water baptism. Then, in 1961, the judge agreed to have eight delegates to the international assembly of Jehovah’s witnesses in Hamburg stay in their home.
“We attended the sessions,” the judge reports, “and from that time on we attended all the meetings in the local congregation. In October my wife and I started in the house-to-house preaching activity, and the following January we were baptized.”
In time the children grew up. “We now had no Biblical reason that would hinder us from serving Jehovah in the full-time preaching work,” the judge noted. “So we applied for that service and were accepted. I gave up my judgeship without receiving any settlement or pension, after many years of service and having long before reached the maximum wage scale.
“Those of our relatives and friends who are not Jehovah’s witnesses, as well as business associates, thought I was crazy. They could not understand how anyone could give up such a position that late in life. But in reality it was a reasonable and objective decision. For if the Bible is the infallible Word of God—and there is no reason to doubt that it is—then we are living in the last part of the time of the end of this wicked system of things. So in the remaining time one should have faith to the preserving alive of the soul, and with everything we have and are we should serve Jehovah.—Heb. 10:38, 39.
“It was in the spring of 1969, as grandma and grandpa, that we went into the full-time preaching work. After one year I was asked to serve as a traveling representative of the Watch Tower Society, and I still serve in this capacity. I am convinced that there is no activity that is more important today than to preach the lifesaving message of God’s kingdom.”
Is that how you feel? Is this the time to be overly concerned with money or other material possessions? Bible prophecy indicates that such things will not preserve us during the coming day of divine wrath. (Prov. 11:4; Zeph. 1:18) But what truly is important is proving our love for Jehovah by sharing whole-souled now in the work that he has given us to do. Our very life is dependent upon our doing so.