Enlarging Your Sacred Service
“DO NOT hold back good from those to whom it is owing, when it happens to be in the power of your hand to do it.” (Prov. 3:27) Is this a principle that you follow in your life? Do you look for opportunities to do good to others? If so, you are undoubtedly a happy person, for those who generously give of themselves are the happiest.—Acts 20:35.
But how about giving of yourself in sacred service to God? Is it in the “power of your hand” to do more than you are doing at present? We owe our lives to Jehovah and, since we are dependent upon him as our Owner, our sense of gratitude should move us to do his bidding wholeheartedly. (Ps. 36:5, 9; 1 Chron. 16:8) A most privileged part of our sacred service is preaching the good news of the Kingdom to others. (Matt. 24:14) Is it possible to expand your share in this? Could you become wholly involved as a full-time proclaimer, a “regular pioneer” who spends twenty or more hours a week in making known the “good news”?
A Witness who has been a pioneer for several years recently wrote: “Pioneering has always been a pure delight for me.” She told of the eight persons with whom she is studying the Bible, and of the joy their steady progress gives her. She mentioned too that serving as a pioneer has given her more time to spend on “projects” with her husband and three children. She finds herself better organized, causing her to stay on a schedule that makes profitable use of her valuable time.
Have you thought of the good effect that pioneer service would have on your life? There would be the delightfully satisfying pleasure of knowing that every day you would have many opportunities to talk to others about Jehovah, helping them to know and love Him. (Ps. 96:1-4) Oh, it is true that one has opportunities to talk to others about the Kingdom even when not pioneering, but going from door to door on a daily basis improves your prospects of finding someone who is eager to learn. And just think, too, of how many more times every day you get to use the Bible. Not only is this faith-strengthening, but, by skillfully wielding God’s Word as a sword, you cut the imprisoned ones free from the bonds of false religious ignorance and error. (Eph. 6:17, 18) It seems, too, that there is always someone in your congregation who could benefit from a helping hand, and as a pioneer you are available to provide this help.—Rom. 12:10.
CONSIDER YOUR PRESENT SITUATION
Is what you are doing now as worth while as pioneer service? Could you make an adjustment in your circumstances that would allow you to be in the full-time service of God? Obviously it would require some changes, likely some sacrifices, but would these not be offset by the benefits derived? The first step would be to take the matter to Jehovah in prayer. Let your closest Friend know your feelings and desire, and see if he does not give you the direction you need.—1 Pet. 3:12.
You undoubtedly have certain responsibilities in life. These may be such that they prevent you from being a pioneer. If so, then care for these and happily serve Jehovah while doing so. But if you can make adjustments, then why not do so? It will mean buying out time from what you are doing. (Col. 4:5) Christian meetings, personal Bible study and related spiritual matters are inviolable, so time must be bought out elsewhere. There may be activities or recreation relating to this system of things from which time may be purchased, so here is a good place to look with a view to making adjustments.
Are you young? Could you buy out time spent, say, on pleasures, entertainment, or in doing more secular work than necessary? One Witness who started pioneer service at eighteen years of age and has been in the full-time service for thirty-four years reflects that when he started he did not have what many of his friends considered necessities, such as a car and a bank account, but he has never been in serious want. Moreover, his life has been filled with blessings that would never have come his way outside the full-time service.
Perhaps you are retired or are about to retire. Could you fill hours formerly spent in secular work with the preaching activity of pioneering, either on a regular basis or as an auxiliary pioneer—which would mean spending about two hours in God’s service each day for a month or more? Are you a wife who is working to help to support the family? Is it possible that a reevaluation of your circumstances would prove that your present earning power is not essential to the family’s survival? If this is the case, then could you give up your secular work and bring greater happiness to yourself and the rest of the family by pioneering? If it is in the power of your hand to pioneer, why not do so?
PIONEERS ARE NEEDED!
You may say to yourself, Are pioneers really needed now when we cover our territory often? Yes, even in such territory there are interested persons to be found. In some territories, such as in parts of the Hawaiian Islands, the people are called on nearly every week. And still the many pioneers are finding “sheep.” But if you could move out to other pastures, you may find even more “sheep” waiting to be found. For example, in the United States and some other countries there are congregations that do not have the personnel and time to search through their assigned territories even once a year. If you write to the branch office they will be happy to direct you to such congregations.
Whether you serve as a pioneer at home or move out to other areas, it is necessary to have the right viewpoint about the work. To begin with, it is not to be viewed as a mere emotional experience or an adventure. Pioneer service means work, work that is joyful and rewarding to be sure, but work that will take planning and energy nonetheless. (John 4:34; 5:17) Pioneers must meet the expenses of everyday living and obviously costs are high. So it is wise to find part-time secular work that provides the best return for the amount of time spent at it. Balance must be shown, too, in eating healthful foods and in getting the necessary sleep.
While one must have the right viewpoint about caring for the natural man, it is even more essential to look after the spiritual man. The strength to serve with vigor and to stick with pioneering comes from within the spiritual condition. Ask those who have been at it for years and they will assure you that their strength has been derived from a good diet of healthful words. (2 Tim. 1:13, 14) They have a practical program of personal study and they would not miss a meeting at the congregation or at an assembly if their health allows. They know that spiritual work requires spiritual food and the dynamic energy that only God’s spirit can provide.—Isa. 40:29-31.
Our having the right motive in serving as a pioneer is vital. What is that? It is love of God and of neighbor. (Matt. 22:37-39) Do you recall the thought expressed at 1 John 3:17?—“Whoever has this world’s means for supporting life and beholds his brother having need and yet shuts the door of his tender compassions upon him, in what way does the love of God remain in him?” The principle may be applied to pioneer service. If we have “this world’s means for supporting life,” including health and freedom from responsibilities, should not love move us to get involved in the full-time preaching and teaching work? Also, the side benefits to oneself are not to be overlooked, for when we show such unselfish love, our own hearts are made firm.—1 Thess. 3:12, 13.
GETTING READY FOR PIONEER SERVICE
Your own preparation and training are invaluable aids in enlarging your sacred service as a pioneer. The more effective you are in teaching others, the more enjoyable and productive your pioneer service will be. Therefore, it is the course of wisdom to work with accomplished publishers or other pioneers. Learn from them by talking with them about the methods that they have found best to reach the hearts of the people to whom they talk. Go along with them and watch and listen and learn. Do not wait to do this until you are ready to start as a pioneer, but get the training in advance.
Just as it is true that “bad associations spoil useful habits,” so the converse is true that good associations will preserve and enrich useful habits. (1 Cor. 15:33) Your association with those who think positively about pioneer service will be of much help to you. It is such persons as fellow pioneers, circuit and district overseers, and zealous elders who are making “firm assertions constantly” that help you to keep your mind on “maintaining fine works.” (Titus 3:8) Such encouragement sustains and buttresses your will to continue the fine work once you have started. Also, we tend to pick up the habits of those whom we admire. When those habits are the fine ones that they have learned from years of faithful activity in sacred service, we can profit immensely.—Compare 1 Corinthians 11:1.
If your activity as a publisher is fairly low, then you may decide that it would be best for you to serve as an auxiliary pioneer for a few months before you actually start as a regular pioneer. There is an old adage that you cannot run until you have learned to walk. You may quickly see the wisdom behind this if you endeavor to jump from a few hours a month spent in Kingdom service to a consistent ninety hours a month.
A word of caution is in order. Do not assume that your life in the full-time service will always be easy. Look at it realistically. You will run into problems. Life is that way. You may have trouble getting part-time work. You may find that some persons will discourage you and suggest that you should quit. But be determined to stick with the work once you have started. Thousands of others have done so for many years. If they can do it, so can you.
Perhaps more than all else that is needed when it comes to enlarging your sacred service as a pioneer is to have strong faith and confidence in Jehovah’s ability to look after you and to provide for you. More than one pioneer has found that it takes getting down to almost nothing materially to learn that Jehovah really means it when he says that he “cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7) While there is a natural concern over what we will eat and what we will wear, we should trust Jehovah, as his Son reminds us, “your Father knows you need these things” and will look after you. (Luke 12:25-31) Our basic need is for food, clothing and shelter, and with these we should be content. (1 Tim. 6:8) Having such a loving heavenly Father who looks after us so tenderly, should we not trust him with all our heart and lean on him?—Prov. 3:5, 6.
Jehovah has allowed the door to the ark of preservation to stay open. For how long we do not know. Ask yourself, In my present situation could I help many to come inside? Do I have it within the power of my hand to spend more time in this most rewarding work? If you can answer yes to these questions, then make it your goal to serve as a pioneer!