More “Workers” Needed—Can You Share?
JESUS initiated a work that has come to be so important that the future of mankind depends on its outcome. He likened himself to a ‘sower of fine seed.’ In contrast, he depicted the Devil as a sower of worthless “weeds.” Both would continue to grow together till the “harvest” at “the conclusion of the system of things,” when the angelic “reapers” would joyfully gather the fruitage of the fine seed and burn the valueless “weeds.”—Matt. 13:36-43.
Jesus instituted the preaching and disciple-making work. For three and a half years, his time and energies were devoted exclusively to it. He trained disciples and sent them out to train still others. Starting from a small beginning, this work would ultimately reach “the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Its climax would come just before “the end”—when the Kingdom message would have been “preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matt. 24:14) Everything confirms that we have reached the “conclusion of the system of things,” thus putting us in the antitype of the time of “ingathering” that was climaxed by the feast of booths among the Jews. (Ex. 23:16) Accordingly, good and bad people, whom Jesus likened to “sheep” and “goats,” are being separated for life or death.—Matt. 24:3-8; 25:31-46.
As far as the future of mankind is concerned, no work compares with this in urgency or importance. It will never be repeated. The time left to finish it is short. The fields are already “white for harvesting.” (John 4:35) There is much to be done and unnecessary delay can be costly. There is a potential for a bountiful harvest but “the workers are few,” prompting an urgent request to ‘send out more workers’ to assist.—Matt. 9:37, 38.
The auxiliary pioneer arrangement has proved to be a fine opportunity for many to give added assistance in getting this urgent work done. Is it possible for you to share?
EXERTING OURSELVES—A CAUSE FOR JOY
Anyone acquainted with life in a farming community knows that harvesttime is a time for hard work. When the crop is ripe, the harvest must begin. Any delay can result in serious loss. Everyone, including women and children, is asked to help. Other chores of less importance are temporarily set aside. Each day’s work starts before the sun comes up and often extends late into the evening. To be sure, the harvest is a time for work! Even so, it is also a time for great rejoicing when the fruitage is bountiful.—Isa. 9:3.
Similarly, the present “ingathering” calls for much extra work. The disciple-making activity cannot be postponed until a time more convenient. With lives at stake, unnecessary delay can have far-reaching consequences. A desire to make the best use of time prompts many to curtail or temporarily set aside less important pursuits. A wholehearted worker often finds that his day begins early and there is much to do before he is finally able to go to bed at night. Even the women and children are invited to help in some way. Indeed, the assignment given to the Christian congregation during this harvesttime involves work, lots of it! Yet, those working whole-souled are “filled with joy” in reaping a bountiful harvest of new disciples.—Acts 13:48, 52.
A GRATIFYING RESPONSE
Many of Jehovah’s Witnesses are genuinely concerned about the need for “workers” and have continued to search for ways in which they could do more. It has not been easy. They have had to contend with ever-increasing demands caused by pressures on the family, economic instabilities and the unwholesome influences that surround them. Those who have increased their share in the work despite these obstacles are to be warmly commended. By doing that, they have proved their desire to remain “steadfast . . . always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58) It is now two years since adjustments were made so that individuals could enroll as auxiliary pioneers with a reduced requirement of only 60 hours a month in Kingdom service. The response has been most gratifying.
Many who previously were unable to enroll now find that they can do so. One housewife Witness writes: “I find . . . that putting forth just a little more effort . . . I can give proper attention to the family, home and our Christian meetings.” A congregation where several were enrolled reported: “Only two were not holding down full-time jobs. Some worked nights and pioneered days, some pioneered after work and on weekends . . . at least a few made special arrangements with their employers to get extra time off so as to accomplish their goal.” A Witness with a family related that “my older daughter who is a junior in high school wanted to share . . . we found that a child could take four days off a month for religious service . . . she served with the auxiliary pioneers.” One congregation was enthusiastic: “Seventy out of 133 in the congregation signed up as auxiliary pioneers!” So, it is obvious that many have been quick to take advantage of this field of opportunity.
DILIGENT EFFORT BRINGS FAR-REACHING BENEFITS
Those enrolling as pioneers have been rewarded with blessings that extend beyond simply an increase in their activity. One Witness described her enrollment as “the greatest spiritual joy I have had in years.” Another wrote: “I have been able to find two more persons who want a Bible study.” A group working together said that it “helped us to get acquainted with our new brothers and sisters.” A housewife expressed her feelings this way: “It gives me joyful satisfaction, knowing that my service to Jehovah has increased and improved . . . I feel much closer to Jehovah.” Another experience related how a Witness with health problems was not able to be a regular pioneer but “when the [auxiliary pioneer] hours were lowered to 60, I found I could continue month after month.” A young Witness commented: “I found many fresh return visits. I was helped spiritually. The more you talk about and use the Bible, the more you appreciate it.” These heartfelt expressions confirm that many have experienced a personal joy that has been spiritually rewarding.
Moreover, the congregation has enjoyed similar benefits. One elder reported that it has been “very encouraging to the congregation and it has helped the spirituality as well as the meeting attendance.” An elder who himself enrolled was very pleased: “Many have joined us . . . while others, not enrolled, still have raised their level of service remarkably.” Another added: “Spirituality in the congregation is up.” In one locality, the elders felt that there “was a sharpening of everyone’s ability to use the Bible and find joy in it.” One Witness said that “the spirit in and around the Kingdom Hall has changed for the better, which is greatly appreciated by all.” Following his visit with a congregation, a traveling overseer reported that “nine auxiliary pioneers made the week very enjoyable and encouraging for all.” Many similar expressions show that this arrangement has contributed greatly to the joy and spirituality of the congregation, in addition to stimulating more zealous and effective service.
CAN YOU SHARE?
Some may have been hesitant, feeling that they are not equal to the task. Or, they may have been doubtful about enjoying it. Some may have felt that they simply could not find the time for it. After reflecting on what others have done and the joys they have experienced, even these may feel inclined to take another look at their daily schedule. Perhaps it is not so difficult after all. Some minor adjustments here and there might allow for occasional enrollment.
It only takes an average of about two hours per day in Kingdom service to meet the requirements of the auxiliary pioneer. Some in secular jobs have occasionally been able to reduce working hours or take advantage of periodic layoffs. Students in school have scheduled classes in order to be dismissed early in the day. Others have made good use of holidays and summer vacation. Many housewives have found that simply reorganizing their schedule and requesting the cooperation of the family have made it quite easy to share in auxiliary pioneer service from time to time.
Before making definite plans, it is well to talk with others who have pioneered, to get the benefit of their experience. Remember that the elders want to help. Many of these have a fine background of experience and would be glad to share this with others. At times, elders have arranged to take a day or two off from work just to make an opportunity for working personally with a group of auxiliary pioneers. Such wholesome association can result in mutual blessings for all.
In everything we do, it is always proper to go to Jehovah in prayer, asking for his help. We need physical strength and this he imparts to all who offer themselves willingly. (Isa. 40:29-31) We can ask him for wisdom to say and do the right thing, and for his spirit to sustain us.—Jas. 1:5; Luke 11:13.
We are privileged to be living in the spiritual harvesttime of this old system, and to take part in a work that is never to be repeated after this system ends. The requirements of the harvest may draw heavily on our time and energy, yet it rewards us with a surpassing joy. Genuine love for God and neighbor makes its finest expression through our sharing in the disciple-making work. (Matt. 22:37-39; 28:19) An effort to increase or improve that share through auxiliary pioneer service surely includes us among those who are “working hard and exerting ourselves,” helping “all sorts of men” to be saved.—1 Tim. 4:10.