You Can Move Mountains!
MAY 29, 1953, was reportedly the first time man stood on top of the highest mountain peak in the world—Mount Everest, 29,028 feet [8,848 m] above sea level. With the backing of more than 450 men, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese Sherpa, successfully overcame the dangers of slippery ice, blinding snow, and lack of oxygen to reach the top of their five-and-a-half-mile-high goal.
Scaling the summit of towering mountains certainly is an exceptional accomplishment. Yet it cannot compare to what Jesus described to his disciples: “I tell you solemnly, if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you.” Imagine, not climbing but moving a mountain!—Matthew 17:20, The Jerusalem Bible.
What prompted Jesus to say this to his disciples? They had just failed to heal a demon-possessed boy. Jesus stressed why they failed: They needed more faith. (Matthew 17:14-20) He compared faith to a mustard seed, something with which they were quite familiar. Though among “the tiniest,” a mustard seed after a few months of growth would become a treelike plant. (Matthew 13:31, 32) Thus, Jesus was stressing the great potential that a little faith could have when properly cultivated and nourished—the seemingly impossible would become possible.
But after nurturing such faith, what kind of mountains would Jesus’ disciples be able to move? Just as a literal mountain can be imposing, mountainlike obstacles can block our progress in Jehovah’s service. What may those “mountains” be and how can we “move” them?
The apostle Paul is an example of a Christian who faced many obstacles. At 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 and 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, you can read of his experiencing privations, beatings, imprisonment, shipwreck, and a host of other calamities. In addition to these things, there was that figurative “thorn in the flesh,” possibly some difficulty with his eyesight. (2 Corinthians 12:7; Acts 14:15) How was it possible for him to surmount such mountainlike barriers and successfully accomplish God’s will for him? “For all things I have the strength by virtue of him who imparts power to me,” Paul wrote. This was “that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s and not that out of ourselves.” (Philippians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 4:7) Thus, Paul had implicit trust in Jehovah’s ability to fortify him at the critical moment. He had faith.
Moving Mountains Today
Is it your desire to increase your service to Jehovah? Like hundreds of thousands who have joined the growing ranks of full-time preachers (pioneers), you too may feel the urgency of the times and may seriously be thinking of expanding your ministry. However, does an obstacle seemingly as insurmountable as a great mountain loom before you? If so, can you move mountains? Thousands have done that in their efforts to increase their service to Jehovah. Here are just a few of their experiences.
One young sister who was to graduate from school at the top of her class desired to pioneer, but lack of employment was her mountain. She relates:
“My own negative thinking and doubts about my pioneering became an obstacle for me to overcome. Since I was so concerned about finding a job before I started pioneering, I was not putting my full trust and confidence in Jehovah and his ability to provide for those who put the worship of him first. I kept thinking, ‘First I’ll find a job, then I’ll put in my pioneer application.’ I wasn’t pioneering; I really was wasting valuable time. However, one of the congregation elders pointed out that the longer I waited to start pioneering, the better the full-time jobs would look, since I didn’t have anything holding me back from accepting them.”
What did she do? “I prayed to Jehovah incessantly for his holy spirit to guide and direct my actions and thinking.” After graduation this sister auxiliary pioneered, and then she entered the regular pioneer ministry. Shortly after that, she found suitable secular work that accommodated her pioneer schedule.
One elder, whose wife was in the pioneer service and who had two children to raise, felt he had to do more than just support his family financially. To some observers, the circumstances blocking him from pioneer service seemed insurmountable, and yet he desired to expand his ministry. What had to change?
“I think the biggest obstacle I had to overcome was really myself,” he says. “The field ministry was something I always enjoyed, and talking with those in the full-time ministry and seeing their blessings, I found the fine spirit they displayed contagious. I could see myself in the full-time ministry some day. The problem with my thinking was that pioneering became something that I only thought about. But I had never given myself a date as to when I would like to have the goal realized.”
After prayerful consideration, this brother began to work toward his goal of full-time service. He approached his supervisor at work, explained his intentions, and asked to be allowed to work fewer hours each week. As far as company policy was concerned, the type of schedule he sought was unprecedented.
He continues: “My supervisor ended the conversation by saying that I would most likely not receive the schedule I was requesting. I was pretty sure that if the decision was solely up to him, the answer would be no. And so the approval could only come by way of Jehovah’s backing. A week and a half later, the approval of my new schedule came down from the executive level. After thanking my supervisor, I went out to my car, drove a few blocks, pulled over to the side, and expressed my thanks and appreciation to Jehovah. Yes, my goal of full-time service could become a reality.”
How did a married sister “move” her mountain? She relates: “I have four children and an unbelieving husband. When I began thinking about pioneering, I had quite a few obstacles. For one thing, my husband was temporarily unemployed, since his job was seasonal, and I was working part-time to help with the bills. So I said to myself that even though I had the desire, I couldn’t pioneer because of my circumstances. However, here is where I had to adjust my thinking. I realized that if I kept thinking that I couldn’t, I would never put forth the effort to try. The next important question I had to answer was, Where will I get the strength to pioneer? I found the answer at Philippians 4:13. Not only did I pray to Jehovah about the matter but I began relying more and more on him. I also took practical steps toward reaching my goal by arranging a good schedule and enrolling as an auxiliary pioneer. As time went by, Jehovah continued to open the way for me to enter the pioneer service. My husband was able to return to work, and I managed to limit my part-time work to one day a week. Not long after this, I became a regular pioneer.”
In addition, the privilege of attending the Pioneer Service School opened up to her, which proved to be a great help in her ministry. “I just want to tell anyone who is thinking about pioneering to pray to Jehovah and put it in his hands,” she says. “Then put forth the effort, and he will bless you for trying.”—Psalm 37:5.
Do not these experiences help you see how faith when exercised can help a Christian overcome mountainlike obstacles? Thus, if it is your desire to pioneer, examine your circumstances. Talk to others who are pioneering, and learn from their experiences. Take practical steps toward reaching your goal. And above all, pray to Jehovah about your desire; then rely on him to bless your efforts. Yes, you too can move mountains!