Make Yourself Available!
“Your people will offer themselves willingly . . . You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.”—PSALM 110:3.
1, 2. In keeping with Psalm 110:3, what are Jehovah’s Witnesses now doing?
JEHOVAH’S King, Jesus Christ, now reigns! Since 1914 he has been poised for action and has already begun ‘subduing in the midst of his enemies.’ (Psalm 110:2) In these dramatic final days of this dying system, let all willing volunteers present themselves for the King’s service, and let them do so without hesitation.
2 This is exactly what Jehovah’s Witnesses are doing. Their ranks are swelling with hard workers, glistening like dewdrops. Right now these inspired words of the psalmist are undergoing fulfillment: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force. In the splendors of holiness, from the womb of the dawn, you have your company of young men just like dewdrops.” (Psalm 110:3) What a day in which to be living!
3. As regards service, what spirit has always been evident among Jehovah’s servants? Prove this Scripturally.
3 A self-sacrificing spirit of willing service has always been evident among Jehovah’s loyal servants. Thus when presented with an opportunity to serve as God’s message bearer, the prophet Isaiah promptly responded: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) Early in Jesus’ Galilean ministry, he went to certain God-fearing Jews and extended the invitation: ‘Come, be my follower.’ They responded without hesitation, leaving tax-office employment and fishing businesses. (Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:27, 28) Willinghearted women contributed time, effort and material resources to supply the needs of Jesus and his disciples. (Mark 15:40, 41; Luke 8:1-3) Yes, when opportunities for sacred service arose, these people all made themselves available.
They Offered Themselves Willingly
4. How did Paul and his associates view a ‘Macedonian call’?
4 The Christian apostle Paul also made himself available for service to Jehovah’s praise. On one occasion he had a vision of a certain man whose entreaty was: “Step over into Macedonia and help us.” Did the apostle and his associates respond? Indeed they did, for we read: “Now as soon as he had seen the vision, we sought to go forth into Macedonia, drawing the conclusion that God had summoned us to declare the good news to them.” They made themselves available, and Jehovah crowned their willing service with success.—Acts 16:8-40.
5. What have some said about the service of the early Christians?
5 Willing service was a mark of early Christianity. It has been said: “The Early Church did not alone support missionaries; it was missionary. It [did not feel] that its own part was fulfilled if it paid the bills and listened with languid interest to the stories the missionaries told of their successes. These little churches were themselves missionary beehives. Everybody felt called to tell the Good News.” (The Preaching Value of Missions, containing lectures by Helen Barrett Montgomery) Jesus’ followers were active evangelizers. “The record of the early church in Acts is evidence that they took evangelism as seriously as they did literally. Evangelism was primary.” (The Idea of the Laity, by David Haney) And what resulted from this self-sacrificing work of Jesus’ followers? “They were soon traveling Roman roads to distant cities and provinces. In time, the whole Empire became a seedbed of the new religion.” (Imperial Rome, by Moses Hadas) Yes, the good news ‘was preached in all creation under heaven’ because those early Christian witnesses made themselves available!—Colossians 1:23; Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 1:6-8.
6. How have modern-day witnesses of Jehovah always felt about the Kingdom-preaching work?
6 A similar spirit prevails among modern-day witnesses of Jehovah. Fittingly, the Watch Tower issue of July and August 1881 stated: “Are you preaching? We believe that none will be of the little flock except preachers. . . . We were not called, nor anointed to receive honor and amass wealth, but to spend and be spent, and to preach the good news.” The same viewpoint was evident years later. During a thrilling convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, in 1922, assembled Kingdom advocates were urged: “Back to the field, O ye sons of the most high God! Gird on your armor! Be sober, be vigilant, be active, be brave. Be faithful and true witnesses for the Lord. Go forward in the fight until every vestige of Babylon lies desolate. Herald the message far and wide. The world must know that Jehovah is God and that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the day of all days. Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.” For such Kingdom proclamation, Jehovah’s Witnesses joyfully, zealously, continue making themselves available.
A Great Need Is Met
7. What was the experience of full-time preachers of earlier times, and how did they feel about their service to Jehovah?
7 Many of Jehovah’s servants have made themselves available for full-time preaching activity. Years ago, some served as colporteurs (now called pioneers), and their life was not an easy one. “Yes,” said one elderly Witness, “we had colporteurs cover the towns and rurals in those early days. Sometimes they would trade [Bible literature] for farm produce, chickens, soap and what-not, which they would use or sell to others. At times, in a sparsely settled area, they stayed with farmers and ranchers overnight, and at times even slept in haystacks . . . These faithful ones kept on for years and years until age overtook them.” Some were young when they began such full-time service. True, their work was taxing, but they had made themselves available and were glad to serve. As one of them put it: “We were young and happy in the service, delighted to expend our strength in serving Jah.”
8. For what service have many of Jehovah’s people made themselves available?
8 Through the years and in the face of unparalleled wars, famines, earthquakes and other developments constituting the “sign” of Christ’s “presence” in Kingdom power since 1914, Jehovah’s people have been undaunted in declaring the good news. (Matthew 24:3-14) Happily, many have made themselves available for full-time service, and how fine that they have done so!
9. (a) On February 1, 1943, what notable step was taken in the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses? (b) How was it possible to institute Gilead School and meet the need for international expansion of the Kingdom-preaching work?
9 World War II was raging in all its fury on February 1, 1943. But on that cold, wintry day at Kingdom Farm near South Lansing, New York, a notable step was taken in the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Forty-nine men and 51 women—all pioneers—then began a five-month course of study at the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead. This training would make them available for missionary work in other lands. Since wartime conditions made it virtually impossible to send missionaries to Europe and Asia, graduates of the earliest classes of Gilead School were assigned to Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Canada and Alaska. Meeting the need for international expansion of the Kingdom-preaching work was possible because hardworking pioneers had made themselves available.
Accomplishments of Gilead School
10. What examples of Kingdom increase are cited since Gilead-trained missionaries first arrived in certain lands?
10 Upwards of 6,000 students have graduated from 76 classes of Gilead School, now situated at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York. The school’s effectiveness is unmistakable. For example, when the first Gilead-trained missionaries arrived in Brazil in 1945, only 394 individuals were sharing in the Kingdom-preaching work in that country. Today the number is over 148,000. Back in 1949 when the first Gilead graduates arrived in Japan, only three local Kingdom publishers reported service in that Oriental land. Now there are over 86,000!
11. Since the opening of Gilead School in 1943, what has happened as regards Kingdom increase the world over?
11 But what about Kingdom increase the world over? Well, when the first class of Gilead School received training in 1943, only 126,329 Kingdom proclaimers were active in 54 lands worldwide. Today, a peak of 2,652,323 publishers of the good news are preaching in 205 lands. In large measure, this tremendous increase has been due to the fine work of Gilead graduates.
12. How is Zechariah 8:23 being fulfilled?
12 In many lands to which these graduates were sent as ambassadors and envoys substituting for Christ, they found fields ripe for the harvest. (Matthew 9:37, 38; 2 Corinthians 5:20) From a mere handful in some lands, today hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands, have joined Jesus’ anointed followers and have said, in effect: “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.” (Zechariah 8:23) Yes, and to further the progress of earth-wide Kingdom proclamation, this increasing “great crowd” is making itself available.—Revelation 7:9.
Glad They Made Themselves Available
13. (a) What statement was made by one missionary who made herself available for increased service to Jehovah? (b) What question merits consideration?
13 Jehovah surely blesses those who manifest willingness and the spirit of self-sacrifice, and they are happy indeed that they have made themselves available for increased activity to God’s praise. For instance, one missionary sister wrote: “I resigned my position, burned the bridges behind me, and in September, 1930, right in the midst of a great economic depression, started really running on life’s race-course [as a pioneer]. I have always been so glad that I did that . . . It has meant tasting of Jehovah’s goodness and singing his praises every day, thereby resulting in peace of mind to face whatever comes.” (Psalm 34:8) Can you make yourself available for the privilege of pioneer or missionary service?
14. How has one member of the Governing Body expressed himself concerning full-time service?
14 After his first 21 years in full-time service, one of the early Gilead missionaries in Japan wrote in 1960: “They are years packed full of joys and experiences that a hundred ordinary lifetimes could not start to contain!” Today, some 24 years later, this brother’s joy remains great as a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
15. (a) After many years of Bethel service, what have some said? (b) What thought-provoking question does this raise?
15 After many years of service as a single man at the Watchtower Society’s headquarters, one brother said: “I have no regrets as to the course I chose back there in my early adulthood. . . . The joy of seeing millions of magazines and other publications bearing the message of God’s Word spreading to the ends of the earth has been a marvelous reward in itself.” A sister who has served at Brooklyn Bethel since the 1920’s once remarked: “Words are inadequate to express the satisfaction and joy I have experienced.” And after spending many years in Bethel service, one brother said: “I have indeed enjoyed a happy, rewarding and blessed way of life.” Could you, too, make yourself available for joyful service at Bethel?
Respond With Faith in Jehovah
16. What have two elderly brothers said about accepting assignments from Jehovah’s organization?
16 An elderly brother now serving in Papua New Guinea once wrote: “These [years of full-time service] have been the best years, the happiest years . . . How wise it was to heed the Lord’s promise at Matthew 6:33! How sensible to follow the Lord’s lead as made manifest through his organization!” A brother from Britain, who has been a full-time servant in India since the 1920’s, has well stated: “The whole world is now only a relatively small place. There are [servants of Jehovah] in every land and they are as lovable in one country as in another. One soon gets accustomed to the conditions in foreign lands. It is just a matter of making up one’s mind to do it, and then seeking Jehovah’s spirit to enable him to overcome the obstacles. My advice is, Always accept an assignment from Jehovah’s organization and joyfully make up the mind to make a go of it.”
17. (a) For congregation publishers, what opportunities exist for improved or increased service to Jehovah? (b) How did Paul respond when he became aware of ‘a large door leading to activity’?
17 As a congregation publisher with a family and various Scriptural responsibilities, you may wonder, ‘How much can I do?’ No one else can tell you. But you can pray to Jehovah, asking that he use you to the greatest extent possible in his sacred service. Perhaps you can increase the amount of time you regularly devote to the field ministry. If you are not yet conducting a home Bible study with an interested person, you may be able to arrange for one. And all of us can improve the quality of our service to Jehovah if we apply the advice of his Word and organization. Then, too, if you are an appointed elder, your spiritual assistance may be needed to a greater extent in another congregation. If your family moves to where the need truly is great, you, your wife and your children may have increased delight in finding and helping sheeplike ones. In time, you may have the joy of helping to establish a new congregation, or there may be many other blessings far beyond your expectations. When the apostle Paul became aware of ‘a large door leading to activity,’ he was eager to increase his service to Jehovah’s praise. (1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:2-4) Do you feel the same way?
18. (a) What is recommended if a door to increased Christian activity opens for you? (b) What will result if you make yourself available?
18 Then, what will you do when a privilege of service to Jehovah is set before you? Will you be self-sparing, or will you manifest the spirit of self-sacrifice? Of course, you should count the cost. (Luke 14:27-30) But if a door to increased Christian activity opens for you, pray to Jehovah. Be specific in such prayers and look for his guidance. (Psalm 37:5; Philippians 4:6, 7) Then, if his holy spirit impels you to accept a certain privilege, yield to that leading and act with faith in your heavenly Father. For a self-sacrificing course in advancing Kingdom interests you surely will be blessed. And remember, “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” (Proverbs 10:22; Malachi 3:10) Yes, indeed, grand and unexpected blessings will be yours if you make yourself available!
How Would You Answer?
□ In harmony with Psalm 110:3, what are Jehovah’s Witnesses now doing?
□ How have Jehovah’s modern-day servants evaluated the Kingdom-preaching work?
□ Since Gilead School opened in 1943, what has happened to worldwide Kingdom increase?
□ What opportunities exist for improved or increased service to Jehovah?
□ If a door to increased Kingdom service opens for you, how should you react?
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When Paul received the ‘Macedonian call,’ he and his associates made themselves available for service to Jehovah’s praise
[Picture on page 20]
Gilead School’s first graduating class, July 1943. These hardworking pioneers had made themselves available for increased Kingdom service