Jehovah Sustains His Army of Full-Time Servants
“Your own loving-kindness, O Jehovah, kept sustaining me.”—Psalm 94:18.
1. What drew King David close to Jehovah?
“ALL day long I will bless you, and I will praise your name to time indefinite, even forever.” (Psalm 145:2) Can you imagine how close to God King David, who wrote those words, must have felt? You can feel his appreciation, his depth of devotion. More than that, he was voicing the fear and respect he had for his Creator, the One who had done so much for him.
2. How did David manifest his appreciation for God’s goodness?
2 As Psalm 145:2 shows, at times David’s appreciation for God’s goodness overflowed in words and songs of praise. But these words and songs were also borne out by his life’s course. Consider some evidence. He had wanted to build a temple for God, but when this privilege was denied him, David provided vast amounts of money and material for its preparation. He was not content until he had pushed all of God’s enemies out of the Promised Land. For a period he endured hardship and privation, even persecution, rather than displease God by taking vengeance on God’s anointed one, King Saul. David could recall the time when he fought Goliath and slew a lion and a bear. Yes, God sustained David.
3. How do you feel about God’s goodness, and how might this be shown?
3 Have you ever felt as David did, overwhelmed with appreciation for God’s goodness toward you? You may even have been frustrated because you wanted to show your appreciation to a greater extent than you were doing. At such times it is comforting to remember that Jehovah is pleased with whole-souled service regardless of how much that service may be limited due to your having other Scriptural obligations. (Compare Colossians 3:23.) However, many Christians have prayerfully analyzed their lives to see where room could be made to do more in showing their love and devotion to God. Thousands have been able to arrange to get into the work of preaching and teaching the Bible full time, the pioneer service.
Young Ones Draw Close to Jehovah
4. (a) What have many youths observed, moving them to do what? (b) The Organization book makes what suggestion on this?
4 Many who have been drawn to Jehovah in recent years have been young persons. They have seen the hypocrisy of false religion and its failure to stem the tide of wickedness that floods the earth. They have noted the utter failure of man to govern himself successfully and have been appalled at the ruining of our precious earth by greedy commercialists. Upon learning the Bible’s satisfying solution to these problems, they have taken the advice of the wise writer, who said: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1) Serving as a pioneer minister has often resulted. Why? The book Organization for Kingdom-preaching and Disciple-making comments on this: “Every young person ought to give serious consideration to this field of service [pioneering]. When he completes his years of required secular education, what is he going to do with his life? Does he truly love Jehovah and feel compassion for those people who are unwillingly in bondage to the old system of things? If he is a dedicated, baptized praiser of Jehovah, there should be no doubt. His heart will move him to serve Jehovah whole-souled.”—Page 136.
5. How did two young persons view their situation?
5 One teenager in Japan was so moved by the Scriptural truth he had learned that he auxiliary pioneered 19 times following his baptism in 1978. Then in December 1980, at the age of 18, three months before he was graduated from school, he became a regular pioneer. When his mother, also a pioneer, asked him about his plans for the future, his immediate response was that right now there was nothing more important than getting the preaching done and surviving the “great tribulation.” (Matthew 24:21) Similar appreciation was shown by a pioneer in the Netherlands, who started nine years ago at the age of 19. When asked the reason why he took up the full-time service, he replied: “My conscience gave me trouble because I was totally swallowed up by my job and I gave only the time that was left to Jehovah.”
How Jehovah Sustains Them
6. Why can you be sure of God’s sustaining power?
6 Such conscientious drawing close to God brings a response from him. The disciple James tells us: “Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.” (James 4:8) Just think of that! The Almighty Sovereign of the universe will actually draw close to a person who sincerely reaches out to him in acts of deep devotion. How does God do that? In part he does so by sustaining the person spiritually and even materially if necessary. (Psalm 34:10; 146:7) A 71-year-old pioneer sister from the Philippines, who has been a very fruitful pioneer for 31 years, writes: “With little income we are able to provide for our needs and my pioneer work. I have never felt weakened spiritually.”
7. (a) How are joy and spiritual strength related? (b) In what way has this proved true with two sisters?
7 Another way that Jehovah sustains his army of full-time servants is by imparting JOY, a fruit of his spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 23) The apostle Paul lists it second only to love as he enumerates the fruits of the spirit, and that is fitting. Joy imparts strength, without which no “soldier” could endure. Nehemiah 8:10 says: “The joy of Jehovah is your stronghold [or, “will make you strong,” Today’s English Version].” The truthfulness of this is borne out by the comment of a Christian sister in Los Angeles, California:
“I just wanted to let you know how happy I am. I got my application to pioneer from the circuit overseer . . . and made plans to begin on January 1, 1981. When January came I was very shaky, but I prayed to Jehovah that he bless my efforts and please let me find someone who really wanted to study and wanted the truth. Well, ‘my cup ran over.’ In addition to finding many interested persons, my report for January 1981 was 102 hours in the preaching work, 135 magazines, 23 books, 47 return visits, 2 booklets, 3 subscriptions and 9 Bible studies. The floodgates of heaven just opened up and the blessing from Jehovah has me so full that I feel my heart is going to jump right out of me.”
This strengthening joy is expressed also by a 14-year-old sister from Brazil who used her school vacation to auxiliary pioneer with her mother. She explains:
“Every time that I go out in the field service, I feel encouraged, and as I continue to preach I note that it is easier for me to contact people. It is a service that gives me great joy, knowing that I am pleasing Jehovah and that it is the best way to take advantage of my youth.”
8. Pioneering can have what effect on your public preaching?
8 Did you note what the young sister said about its getting easier to contact people as she ‘continued to preach’? Have you experienced that? Many pioneers have verified this fact, stating that they really began to enjoy the field service so much more when they were able to do it on a day-to-day basis. Why? Well, many Christians who can participate in it only occasionally find that they have a bit of apprehension each time they begin preaching from door to door. Once the first few calls are behind them they truly find it pleasurable. Pioneers, however, share in the public preaching and teaching daily, and they have developed considerable skill at it, so it is easier and more enjoyable.
9. What suggestion did one traveling overseer have as regards pioneering?
9 A traveling overseer in the United States realized that many would no doubt make fine pioneers if they could just taste the joy and strength pioneering provides and could have confidence that they could continue as pioneers. He explains what he suggested:
“It seems as though quite a few who have the pioneer spirit are holding off, fearful that they could not continue in that field of service. I have suggested that they set a goal to be pioneers for one year; then they can see how their health, schedule, and so forth, work out. If, at the end of the year they feel they cannot continue, they will still have had a fine year of pioneering that they will never forget. However, many are able to continue, once they have tasted the joys of it.”
The auxiliary pioneer arrangement, in which a Christian may serve for a minimum of one month or for as many months as he chooses, has often been the stepping-stone to regular pioneering.
10. How do pioneers rightly feel about material support?
10 Pioneers are in the forefront of the spiritual war and are doing a noble work. Nevertheless, they do not think that they should be given special treatment because of this. They realize that they are simply ‘fellow soldiers’ along with the millions who are faithfully serving God but who are not in position to serve as pioneers. Due to their circumstances, pioneering aids them in rendering whole-souled service, a requirement on the part of all who have God’s approval. They do not expect others to feed, clothe or otherwise support them in a material way. They feel much like Paul, who said: “By labor and toil night and day we were working so as not to impose an expensive burden upon any one of you.”—2 Thessalonians 3:8.
11. Why do many Christians delight to help those in the full-time ministry?
11 Even though Paul did not want to be a burden on any, some of the early Christians expressed their appreciation for his ministry by assisting him materially. They thus helped him to continue to do what they might not then have been able to do. (Philippians 4:14-19; 2 Corinthians 11:8) Similarly, there are many Christians today who truly are working toward the goal of pioneering, but whose circumstances make that impossible at present. Often these voluntarily share materially with those who are now able to pioneer, and this generosity, though not expected, is much appreciated by the pioneers.
12. Pioneers still need what trust, as exemplified by one sister?
12 Even with the generosity of many Christian associates, pioneers need to trust in God’s ability to help them. A pioneer recently wrote the following:
“I have had the pleasure of regular pioneering for three full years. They have been the best years of my life. I am very thankful to Jehovah for allowing me to serve him in this capacity. It has been the most faith-strengthening aspect of my life in the truth, as many times I have seen Jehovah make provision in my behalf. Full-time service has helped me to appreciate deeply Jesus’ words at Matthew 6:25-33. I must admit that on occasion I have had some anxiety, but it is usually short-lived, as I only have to recall how Jehovah has kept his promise in the past. Why should I doubt him now? Every day I try to assess my situation and I conclude that I have food, clothing and a roof over my head, just as Jesus said I would. When you are working secularly only two nights per week, you know it’s Jehovah who is looking after you. What a secure feeling!”
Pioneering—A Demonstration of Faith
13. What lessons of demonstrated faith do we find in the Bible?
13 The Bible is filled with demonstrations of faith. The building of the ark was a remarkable tribute to the faith of Noah and his family. Nor can we forget the faith displayed by Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses and Rahab. But, as Paul said, “time will fail me if I go on to relate about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David as well as Samuel and the other prophets.” (Hebrews 11:32) Their works of faith were out of the ordinary, what some might be inclined to describe as ‘beyond the call of duty.’ However, it was not merely a sense of duty that motivated them. Their love for God and their faith in him, including the fact that God had in mind a “better place” for them, moved them to ‘declare publicly’ their faith. How did Jehovah feel about their acts of faith? His Word replies: “God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them.”—Hebrews 11:13-16.
14. How might pioneering be a work of faith for you today?
14 What out-of-the-ordinary works of faith may be performed today? For many the answer includes full-time service, the pioneer ministry. Understandably, not all making up the “whole association of brothers” in the world can pioneer or even auxiliary pioneer regularly. (1 Peter 2:17) But even for those whose circumstances permit it, faith is required. A brother in Europe writes: “Many advised me not to become a pioneer, because that is for strong people. I am not physically strong, and, in fact, have a humped back. Still, I began and with the help of Jehovah I have been a pioneer for 30 years now.” He adds that ‘he has found much satisfaction from having a full schedule that helps him to come close to Jehovah.’ Certainly Jehovah has sustained this brother in the pioneer service.
15. In what way did a brother in Japan manifest his faith?
15 Nor is demonstrating faith in the pioneer ministry reserved for those of one particular age group. A brother in Japan learned the Christian truth after retiring as a schoolteacher, was soon baptized at the age of 60, and went right into the auxiliary pioneer work. Becoming a regular pioneer minister at the age of 61, he thought about the mountain town he had grown up in where there were none of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He and his wife, also a pioneer, sold their house in the city and moved to that town. With money from the sale of their home, the family built a Kingdom Hall there, and they have had the blessing of seeing a congregation formed.
16, 17. Why is it now an appropriate time for you to consider seriously becoming a pioneer?
16 Time is fast running out for the present wicked system of things. As the Israelites increased their march around the wicked city of Jericho just before its destruction, so now, just before Jehovah destroys the present system, he is inviting people to give a mighty shout. (Joshua 6:20) Are you in a position to share more fully in that shout of victory by becoming a pioneer? If you could arrange your circumstances to allow for that, do you have the faith to do so? Be sure that Jehovah will do his part, sustaining you and adding to your joy. He will bless your efforts. You may prove to be like the sister who has pioneered for 10 years in the Netherlands, who said: “My conscience began to speak to me because I did have the time. I started to pioneer to silence my troubled conscience and to show myself that my bad health would not permit me to continue as a pioneer. I am still pioneering.”
17 Yes, Jehovah is accomplishing great things in the “last days” of the present wicked system of things. Now is the time to draw close to him and to bless his name all day long, as David did. Put faith in God’s promise to sustain you. David wrote: “When I said: ‘My foot will certainly move unsteadily,’ your own loving-kindness, O Jehovah, kept sustaining me.”—Psalm 94:18.
COULD YOU EXPLAIN . . .
□ Why it is appropriate for young Christians to consider pioneering?
□ How Jehovah sustains his full-time servants?
□ Why pioneering is a special demonstration of faith?
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Pioneers find the public preaching work enjoyable and often become very effective
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Many who cannot pioneer right now are able to share material things with those in full-time service