Walking Whole-souled in the Way of Life
“‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole strength and with your whole mind,’ and, ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ . . . ‘Keep on doing this and you will get life.’”—Luke 10:27, 28.
1. What two contrasting ways of life are to be seen on earth today?
THROUGH his Son Jesus Christ, the Great Life-Giver, Jehovah, now offers mankind the “real life.” It is a meaningful life, bringing peace and satisfaction. But many today choose a different kind of life. Their heart and soul are ruled by selfishness, and they squander strength and mind in pursuing the fleeting pleasures of the “modern” permissive society. Without hope for the future, they follow the line: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die.” (1 Cor. 15:32) Contrariwise, there are others who expect to live tomorrow, and forever. They are the ones who really love God and neighbor. They are zealous “to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future.” And why? “In order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Tim. 6:18, 19; Ps. 36:7, 9; John 17:3.
2. (a) What does God require of those who will gain life? (b) Why may we commend many whose field-service opportunities are limited?
2 What God requires of those who will gain life is whole-souled service. This means giving of our very selves as slaves of God, and of Christ. (Eph. 6:6; Col. 3:23, 24) Service to God includes the vital work of preaching and disciple-making. Many Witnesses engage in this while taking care of a family or other Scriptural secular responsibilities. (1 Tim. 5:8) At times, these have to overcome great problems, such as very exacting daily tasks, persecution or poor health, in order to devote just a few hours to the field service. But even this dedicated service has great value in the eyes of God. It is like the widow’s “two small coins” of which Jesus spoke so favorably at Mark 12:41-44. Those whose field service is limited because of such circumstances should never be discouraged that they are unable to become pioneers, devoting at least 1,200 hours each year in preaching and teaching God’s Word to the public. The important thing is to serve God whole-souled, in whatever capacity.—Mark 12:30.
3. How may it be possible to enter the door to greater activity?
3 However, for many dedicated servants of God, young and old, “a large door that leads to activity” lies wide open. (1 Cor. 16:9) It is the door into pioneer service. By taking a practical look at problems that hinder, and by exercising faith, many may be able to move even mountainlike obstacles out of the way in order to serve as pioneers.—Matt. 17:20.
4. Having in mind the words of Paul, John, and Jesus, what questions may we now ask ourselves?
4 Let us ask ourselves some questions: Do we really recognize the urgency and the lateness of the hour? Do we “keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord”? Does our present career harmonize fully with our dedication to Jehovah? Do we appreciate that undue concern over material things will get us absolutely nowhere? “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—Eph. 5:10; 1 John 2:17; Luke 21:34-36.
“KEEP ON DOING IT MORE FULLY”
5. What should we be doing before baptism, and after? Illustrate by local or other experience.
5 In order to qualify for baptism, many have made big changes in their lives. They have cleaned themselves up from worldly ways. They have repented of their former way of life, turned around, making a personal dedication to God and thus, on the basis of faith in Jesus’ sacrificial blood, are seeking a good conscience with God. They no longer work out “the will of the nations.” (1 Pet. 4:3, 7) But does progress stop with such dedication and baptism? It should not. At 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Paul admonished newly dedicated Christians: “Finally, brothers, we request you and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, just as you received the instruction from us on how you ought to walk and please God, just as you are in fact walking, that you would keep on doing it more fully.” This means thinking and acting positively in order to enlarge, if possible, one’s share in the work of God. A Christian overseer writes:
Five years ago, when my wife first studied with Jehovah’s witnesses, I opposed her. How grateful I am now that she did not give up! At that time my life was filled with playing golf, fishing, gambling at Mah-Jongg. I smoked forty cigarettes a day. But then the truth took root in my heart, too. I gave up all these things as empty and worthless. Former associates mocked me at first, but later they ceased their opposition and even encouraged me in my course. My mother and sister opposed me bitterly. But in order to enter the pioneer service, I took a part-time job that paid only one fifth of my previous salary. Supplementing this from my savings, I could take adequate care of my pioneer wife and young child. I came to learn how wonderfully Jehovah helps in various ways. Now I am conducting seven home Bible studies, and, from these, two persons are already serving as active publishers. My mother now praises our family for walking in the way of truth, and I pray that she, too, may soon become one of Jehovah’s witnesses.
This Witness did not stop at dedication. What joy has resulted!
6. Like Paul, how may we regard a career in the present system? Illustrate the practical application by local or other experience.
6 All of us who make a dedication to Jehovah should reflect: Are we truly doing his will every day of our lives? Or are we still living largely for self, with no serious thought about God’s will? Though it may call for sacrificing a career and material gains, the pioneer service brings spiritual blessings beyond comparison. The apostle Paul considered worldly gain to be “a lot of refuse,” and so he stretched “forward to the things ahead.” (Phil. 3:7, 8, 13) All who dedicate themselves to Jehovah today should consider seriously whether they, like Paul, can expand their activity.
A government official had worked for thirty-four years at his job, ten of these years in management. His wife and two daughters learned the truth and became pioneers. He also studied, and a “tug-of-war” began. While on a business trip to New York, he dropped in for a day at Yankee Stadium, where the 1969 International Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses was being held. Seeing the unity, love and peace among the throngs at that assembly convinced him that the hope of a new order was more than a dream. Later that same year, he attended the entire assembly in Hawaii, together with his wife. The hospitality the Witnesses there showed him amid beautiful surroundings conveyed to him what paradise could be like. He made adjustments so that he could qualify to be baptized. But did he really need to do secular work at all? Actually not. The “Divine Victory” International Assembly in July 1973 convinced him that the pioneer service should be his vocation. Two days after the assembly, he resigned from his office, and one month later he joined his family in the regular pioneer activity. He has truly gained Jehovah’s blessing—along with a healthy suntan.
7. (a) According to Paul, from what things should we flee, and what things should we pursue? (b) Illustrate how Jehovah blesses the flight from materialism.
7 It is dangerous to get involved in a materialistic way of life, setting our hearts on material possessions and pleasures, and letting such pursuits dominate our lives. The Bible counsels, not just to get rid of the materialistic “injurious things” that spring from “the love of money,” but to “flee from these things.” This means acting urgently, just as in ‘fleeing’ from wrong desires, ‘fleeing’ from fornication and ‘fleeing’ from idolatry. It will help us to flee from materialism if we take positive steps to hasten in the opposite direction, to “pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, mildness of temper.” Many have done this by entering the pioneer service, which equips them wonderfully to “fight the fine fight of the faith” and to “get a firm hold” on everlasting life. (1 Tim. 6:10-12, 17-19; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Cor. 6:18; 10:14) A young sister writes:
“One obstacle I had to overcome to enter the pioneer service was my surroundings—wealth and materialism, accompanied by many worldly temptations. It was like Matthew 13:22—the seed sown among many thorns, but I kept thinking how fine it would be to show Moses’ kind of strong faith. (Heb. 11:24-27)” So this sister resisted the social life connected with her family’s internationally famous luxury hotel. When a prestigious marriage was planned for her, she declined this also. Along with her mother and younger sister, she cultivated the pioneer spirit. She took up the regular pioneer activity in unassigned territory bordering on a special pioneer assignment. She has shared with the other pioneers in the joy of developing this area, so that today they have a new congregation numbering 39 congregation publishers, along with seven pioneers, and with an attendance of 116 at the Memorial in 1974. She says: “The group in my territory continues to increase. We now have twenty attending our Tuesday evening meeting, and three new sisters were baptized at our circuit assembly. I am so thankful for the blessing and increase that Jehovah provides. My health, which I used to worry about, has become quite good, and I serve joyfully every day.”
This young Witness did indeed choose “the real life.”
8. (a) What rewarding career awaits young people today? (b) How have many older ones, too, reawakened youthful joy?
8 Love for Jehovah should prompt us to use our strength and resources in his service. What golden opportunities lie before us while we are still young! “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: ‘I have no delight in them.’” (Eccl. 12:1) By channeling youthful energy and abilities into helping others to learn God’s will, young folks will find the most satisfying and rewarding occupation on earth today. Many older ones, too, despite diminishing energy, make a most creditable contribution.
An eighty-two-year-old regular pioneer sister is opposed by her family. But she rises at three o’clock in the morning to do her farmhouse chores, so that she will have time for the field service later in the day. On the average each month, she devotes more than 120 hours to the field activity, distributing 140 magazines and conducting several home Bible studies.
9. (a) What great service may parents perform on behalf of their children? (b) How may the parents’ own example benefit their families and others in the congregation?
9 Are you a parent with young children? Parents can do their children a great service by molding their thinking in line with Bible principles, wholeheartedly recommending to them a career as pioneers. Thus young ones gain a real goal in life, along with strong faith. (Heb. 11:6) If parents themselves can make room for the pioneer service, then the entire family benefits by the daily devotion to theocratic matters, and all may be aided thereby to grow together spiritually in the bond of true Christian love. (Col. 3:14-21) This example can have a wholesome effect, too, on the viewpoint of other families in the congregation.—Phil. 3:17; 1 Thess. 1:2-7.
One of Jehovah’s witnesses gave up his job as an overseer in an auto factory, so that he and his wife could serve together as pioneers and bring up their young children with the same goal. After three years their funds gave out, but, in line with Matthew 6:33, they sought a way to remain in the pioneer service. Jehovah answered their prayers, and the husband, now a Christian overseer, was able to obtain suitable part-time work along with other brothers. He says that during his years in the pioneer activity he has learned not to look at things from a mere human viewpoint. He regards Hebrews 12:1, 2 as the signpost to successful pioneer service. One son now serves at Bethel in Japan, and the daughter is a regular pioneer. In July 1970, when this brother entered the pioneer service, the local congregation totaled just sixty publishers but in March 1974 they reported sixty-three pioneers, and in the same month fifty-one new ones from this congregation were baptized at a circuit assembly. In all, they now have 225 publishers. This one family has brought more than thirty new ones, including six other complete families, into association with the Christian congregation.
When the family pioneer spirit permeates a congregation, it truly brings a marvelous blessing from Jehovah.—Prov. 28:20.
10, 11. (a) How are believers in divided families often blessed? (b) Using local or other examples, show how pioneering brings blessings and protection.
10 In divided families, too, young minds may be molded by the believing parent. How often it is that children choose to follow the life pattern of that parent! This is often due, no doubt, to the child’s seeing and appreciating firsthand “the righteousness that issues from God on the basis of faith.” (Phil. 3:9) By word and by example, devoted parents can encourage their children in preparing to make Jehovah’s service their life’s work, just as Eunice encouraged her son Timothy.—2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15; Prov. 4:1-9.
A young Witness was encouraged by his mother—herself a pioneer—to share in temporary pioneer service frequently during his three years at high school. He pleaded many times with his unbelieving father for permission to enter the regular pioneer service on graduation, but his father required that he go on to college. His teacher reproached him for his zealous preaching activity during the vacation when he could have been preparing for the university entrance examination. But unexpectedly, the test paper contained many general-knowledge questions about the Bible. So he could pass ahead of many of the other students. By planning on a not-too-heavy university schedule, he could now enroll as a regular pioneer. Among the many home Bible studies that he has conducted, four were held in the evenings with interested husbands of sisters in the congregation. Two of these husbands were baptized at the “Divine Victory” International Assembly.
11 Serving month in, month out, year in, year out, in the pioneer service means a busy life. But this deep involvement in Kingdom activity can be a marvelous protection today.—Eph. 5:15-17.
MAKING ROOM FOR THE PIONEER SERVICE
12. How may families cooperate so that one member or more may serve as pioneers?
12 The apostle Paul set a splendid example in providing for his companions, as well as for himself, so that all could continue advancing spiritual interests to the full. He could say: “I have coveted no man’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands have attended to the needs of me and of those with me.” (Acts 20:33, 34) The same principle can be applied to Christian families. It can be made a family project for one or more members of the family, or even the entire family, to enter the pioneer service. Even so, it is advisable for each one in the pioneer service to use his own hands in making some contribution toward his own support. All members of the family, whether actually in the pioneer service or not, should be interested in furthering pioneer activity and be willing to make sacrifices to that end.—2 Cor. 8:13-15.
13. What compensates for sacrifices made in order to enter the pioneer ranks? Illustrate.
13 In order to enter the pioneer service, a husband may have to relinquish a highpaying job, or the family may have to give up some material luxuries. But spiritual blessings and the joy of this full-time service more than compensate.—Mark 10:29, 30; Rom. 14:17.
A young doctor, now an overseer in the Christian congregation, writes: “I had to work from early morning to late at night, including Sunday and holidays, at the University Hospital. However, I found part-time doctor’s work in another city, that enabled me to start in the pioneer service. My wife had been brought up in a wealthy family, but to become a pioneer she gladly abandoned her prosperous way of life. She kept on using the clothes she had before entering the pioneer service, and was satisfied with simple meals. She well understood that in serving Jehovah the best of clothes and time-consuming cooking are not necessary. Her former frail health improved, and she has been able to enjoy her pioneer service, leading four persons to dedication, to become her true companions. I myself have been able to help the owner of a barbershop to dedication, and five persons from that shop have now become active publishers, taking turns in going out in the field service. They praise Jehovah in a family arrangement. Appreciating these wonderful blessings from Jehovah, we pray wholeheartedly that he will keep us in the pioneer service.”
14. (a) When economic problems arise, how may they be solved? (b) Illustrate the truthfulness of Philippians 4:13.
14 How may pioneers cope with the economic problems that often arise? The main factor is faith, seeking first the Kingdom. (Matt. 6:33) Where there is faith, there is a way. A pioneer may have to deny himself certain things, but such sacrifices are pleasing to God.—Luke 9:23-25; 18:29, 30.
A former circuit overseer, who continues in the pioneer service with his wife while they also care for their young baby, reports: “The arrival of our child was a challenge to us to rely on Jehovah as we set out wholeheartedly to handle this responsibility. In line with Luke 14:28, 29, we worked out what the living expenses would be for the three of us. I got a job making early-morning paper deliveries, as this did not use up too much energy. Our child was born just two weeks before the ‘Divine Victory’ International Assembly, but though three weeks’ rest had been advised, we made careful preparation for the 1,300-mile round-trip journey. Thus we were able to attend, and the baby returned home fat and well. In preaching from door to door, we each take a turn for an hour and a half with the baby. Because the baby is with us in service all day long, it sleeps soundly at night, and we do not have problems like others who have to get up during the night to care for a crying baby. We all sleep well. Seeing our example, other housewives in the congregation have now arranged to enter the pioneer service. Between the two of us, we are now conducting fifteen home Bible studies, and in September we were able to help two housewives and one husband start in the field service. Five others of our studies who are attending meetings are expected to start soon in the field activity. We have come to appreciate in our hearts that the Christian who faces up to a challenge can accomplish much in Jehovah’s strength.—Phil. 4:13.
15. (a) What assurance does Jesus give in the Sermon on the Mount? (b) What preparation should be made for pioneer service?
15 Strong faith and initiative are necessary in making adjustments to enter and to stay in the pioneer service. Jehovah can provide marvelously. Do not Jesus’ words at Matthew 6:24-34 prove this to be so? All who are desirous of expanding their service to God should carefully consider this passage and the related scripture at Luke 12:22-31. This does not mean plunging into the pioneer work without making adequate preparation. It does not mean putting aside just enough funds to get through to some date in the mid-1970’s. Rather, it means adjusting one’s affairs so as to stay in full-time service, year after year, while at the same time taking proper care of family and other responsibilities. First, “calculate the expense,” and then take practical steps to attain the goal of the pioneer service.—Luke 14:28; 17:5, 6.
16. (a) How may pioneers sustain zeal and joy? (b) Illustrate how adjusting to problems may bring the Great Shepherd’s blessing.
16 For successful pioneering, it is important to maintain spirituality. Regular attendance at, and zealous participation in meetings, daily Bible reading and discussion of the text for the day from the Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses, a schedule for diligent personal study—these things can aid a pioneer to maintain his zeal and joy, and equip him to overcome unusual and unexpected problems. (Ps. 1:1-3) After ten years of most productive service as a pioneer, one sister writes:
Since my husband’s job in TV requires him to move to a different part of the country every two years, I have served in nine congregations, five of them since I started in the regular pioneer service. I quickly give up studies that do not progress, and try to strengthen those who really do recognize Jehovah. In each place, our wonderful God has shown his hand, as I have aided an average of five persons to the truth. The first meeting I attended in one city was in a small mat room with five other persons. When I left there two years later, sixty-two were attending this meeting. In the next city I was able to help eight persons to become praisers of Jehovah, and I saw the meetings increase from twenty-five to about one hundred in attendance. In the next city, we started off with just two regular pioneers, but I saw ten more become pioneers. After attending all sessions of the “Freedom of the Sons of God” District Assembly in 1966, I gave birth the next morning to my third child. But I was able to report 1,294 hours of service for that year. Instead of being ruled by the baby, I adjusted my life with the baby to an appropriate pace, and was able to continue in the pioneer work. The persons with whom I have studied, too, have adjusted their lives after baptism to enter the temporary, and then the regular pioneer service. They, like myself, have learned never to neglect daily Bible reading, study and prayer, so that more-than-ordinary joy and strength continue to be renewed. In all situations, Jehovah, our Great Shepherd, is very near.—Isa. 40:11, 31.
17. How may elders help pioneers and others to be industrious in God’s service?
17 Elders in the congregation have a great privilege in encouraging the pioneer service. They can often give practical suggestions and help, so that pioneers can stay in that field of activity. Also, they can enthusiastically advocate the pioneer service to others.—Compare Hebrews 6:11, 12.
IS PIONEERING PRACTICAL FOR YOU?
18, 19. (a) What questions may be appropriate at this point? (b) Is there reason for discouragement if one cannot be a pioneer?
18 Only you can answer that question. How have you viewed the pioneer service until now? As something for others? Have you held back because you preferred secular work over daily preaching of the good news? Or have your circumstances really required what you are doing? Has “token” service seemed adequate? What does your heart move you to do now? After considering all things, can you say YES to the question, Is the pioneer service practical for you? If so, great indeed will be your blessing.—Mal. 3:10.
19 But how about the great number of our readers who are not in a position to enter the regular pioneer service? Should they be discouraged when they see others taking up this field of activity? Not at all! One and all of Jehovah’s people can and should be whole-souled in Jehovah’s service. At times they may be able to adjust their affairs to spend two weeks, or a month or more, in temporary pioneer service, and this also will bring a great blessing. Others can give themselves to preaching and teaching whole-souled as congregation publishers.
20. (a) Though service opportunities may be limited, what assurance do we always have? (b) Illustrate how Jehovah blesses whole-souled effort.
20 “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” and all of these he blesses, no matter how limited their actual field service may be. (2 Tim. 2:19; Prov. 10:22) He can even bless those who, due to sickness, old age, persecutions or other reasons, are not able to share in organized field service with other publishers. Jehovah knows their hearts.—Compare 1 Samuel 16:7.
A high-school girl learned the truth and started in house-to-house service. But her father violently opposed her and forbade her taking part in any activity with Jehovah’s witnesses. What could she do? She witnessed to her classmates at school, and started many Bible studies in her own and other classes. The happy result? Three of those with whom she formerly studied are now very active in the truth—one sister as a special pioneer, one brother as a regular pioneer and a ministerial servant, and another brother as a regular pioneer and an overseer. Now, many years later, this faithful sister has been able to break free from the opposition, and is herself sharing in the temporary pioneer service.
Jehovah blesses whole-souled service.
21, 22. (a) How does serving “whole-souled” vary among individuals? (b) Why should we pray, “Give us more faith”?
21 When Paul encouraged believers, ‘As Christ’s slaves, do the will of God whole-souled,’ he was not asking Christians to do the impossible. Your soul is YOU. It is according to what you are, your abilities and opportunities, that you may devote yourself to doing God’s will. Individuals will differ, and this is recognized in some of Jesus’ parables, where more is entrusted to some, and some, even though approved, are shown as bringing forth less fruitage.—Eph. 6:6; Matt. 13:23; 25:19-23; Luke 19:15-19.
22 Let it be to you according to your opportunity and faith. By walking whole-souled now in the way that leads to eternal life, may you have the satisfaction and joy of sharing in this never-to-be-repeated work to the fullest extent—all to Jehovah’s praise. As you consider how you may do this, may you have the same prayerful attitude as that of the apostles of our Lord, when they said to him: “Give us more faith.”—Luke 17:5, 6.