Happy Youths in Jehovah’s Service
“Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.”—PROVERBS 20:11, New International Version.
1. What are some of the outstanding things the Bible says about Samuel?
YOUNG Samuel may have been only three to five years old when he began “ministering” at Jehovah’s tabernacle in Shiloh. One of his duties was to open “the doors of Jehovah’s house.” The Bible says that “Samuel was growing bigger and more likable both from Jehovah’s standpoint and from that of men.” When grown, he brought Israel back to true worship. He served God “all the days of his life.” Even when he was “old and gray” he was still urging the people to “fear Jehovah, and . . . serve him in truth.” Would it not be wonderful if people were able to say these fine things about you just as the Bible says them about Samuel?—1 Samuel 1:24; 2:18, 26; 3:15; 7:2-4, 15; 12:2, 24.
2. What do little ones learn at the meetings of Jehovah’s people today?
2 If you are one of Jehovah’s Witnesses or you attend their Christian meetings, look around in the Kingdom Hall where this lesson is studied. You see people of all ages. Probably there are people who are already “old and gray.” There are also parents, young people, small children, and even babes in arms. Are the smallest ones already learning? Yes. Just ask those who were themselves brought to such meetings when they were small. They will tell you honestly that from their early years, they were learning to respect God, to love his people, and to appreciate the places where he is worshiped. As time passes, little ones learn wonderful truths. Many youths, after growing in knowledge and appreciation, become part of the ‘young men and virgins, old men and boys’ whom the psalmist urged to “praise the name of Jehovah, for his name alone is unreachably high.”—Psalm 148:12, 13.
3. How is it that young people who know the Bible look at life differently from those who do not?
3 If you are a young person whose parents regularly bring you to such meetings, you are especially blessed. Many other young people are troubled by the world’s problems. Some may be afraid that men will destroy the earth. You know that God will not let that happen, that he will not allow men to continue to ruin this beautiful planet. Rather than let that happen, God will, according to the Bible, “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” You know that the Bible promises that a bright future in God’s righteous new world is near.—Revelation 11:18; Psalm 37:29; 2 Peter 3:13.
Your Own Faith
4. What responsibility does knowing God’s ways place on youths, and how was young Samuel a fine example of this?
4 At first, the way of Christian truth may have been your parents’ pursuit. Perhaps you came to Christian meetings because they brought you, and you may have shared in godly service because they did. Yet, as time passes, serving and obeying Jehovah can become your own joy. Young Samuel’s mother started him on the right way, but he personally had to follow it. We read: “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.”—Proverbs 20:11, NIV.
5. (a) Of what great value is the Bible? (b) What did Paul tell Timothy about the importance of God’s written Word?
5 The Scriptures tell us what God wants of us. They clearly show us how to please him, providing a great deal of information that can do us much good. The apostle Paul told his young helper Timothy: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
6. What does the book of Proverbs say about the importance of knowledge and godly wisdom?
6 The Bible also tells us to “listen to discipline and become wise.” It says to “treasure up” God’s commandments, to “call out for understanding,” and to “keep seeking” discernment as you would seek valuable hidden treasures. If you follow this advice, then “you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God.” We also find this counsel: “Now, O sons, listen to me; yes, happy are the ones that keep my very ways. Listen to discipline and become wise, and do not show any neglect. Happy is the man that is listening to me . . . For the one finding me will certainly find life, and gets goodwill from Jehovah.” Do you value the Bible that much and put that kind of effort into learning the things that it says?—Proverbs 2:1-5; 8:32-35.
7. What are the most important things that we should learn?
7 Some young people know all the sports statistics, or they can tell you everything about their favorite music group. They find these things easy to learn and to remember because they are interested in them. But the most important question is, What do they know about God? Just think of what he has done. God made the universe. He foretold what men would do and what would happen long before events occurred. Not only does the Bible tell us about God but it teaches us how we can please him. It shows us how we can have a happy life now and how we can gain everlasting life in his righteous new world. Is that not far more important than knowing who won a ball game or learning the names of musicians whom people will soon forget?—Isaiah 42:5, 9; 46:9, 10; Amos 3:7.
8. What good example was set by both Josiah and Jesus?
8 When young King Josiah was 15 years old, he “started to search for the God of David his forefather.” When Jesus was 12, he was found “sitting in the midst of the teachers” in Jehovah’s temple, “listening to them and questioning them.”* Whatever age you are, have you, like Josiah and Jesus, developed a real interest in learning about the things God has done and will yet do?—2 Chronicles 34:3; Luke 2:46.
9. (a) What problem do many young people have? (b) What can make reading and studying easier, and have you personally found this to be true?
9 However, you may say: ‘Study is hard work.’ Many people, young and old, have never read enough for reading to become easy. The more you read, the easier reading will become. The more you study, the easier learning becomes. You attach new ideas to things you already know, making it easier to understand them and remember them.
10. (a) How can you get more from Christian meetings? (b) What is your own experience in this regard?
10 What can help you to learn more about God? Perhaps you could be more regular in attending Christian meetings. Could you prepare in advance and really participate? For example, would you get a deeper level of knowledge from this lesson by looking up the Scripture texts that are cited but not quoted? Have you written a word or two in the margin to remind you of what each of these texts adds to the paragraph or to the lesson? Do you have the habit of including at least one of these texts in a comment that demonstrates your appreciation for the Scriptural discussion? A congregation elder who has attended meetings regularly for many years says: “I find it hard to keep my mind on any lesson that I haven’t really prepared, but it is an absolute delight to follow one that I have studied thoroughly.”
11. How can you get more from Bible-based talks, and why is this so important?
11 When you listen to Bible talks, do you take brief notes to help you to analyze how the talk is being developed and to keep your mind on what is being said? Do you compare what you hear with what you already know so that you can understand it more easily and remember it better? Jesus prayed: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Is not knowledge that leads to life the best knowledge you could possibly get? Note what the Bible says about this: “For Jehovah himself gives wisdom; out of his mouth there are knowledge and discernment. When wisdom enters into your heart and knowledge itself becomes pleasant to your very soul, thinking ability itself will keep guard over you, discernment itself will safeguard you.”—Proverbs 2:6, 10, 11.
Grow in Appreciation
12. What are some of the outstanding things that God has done for us?
12 Do we really appreciate what God has done for us? He created a beautiful earth and prepared it for life. He created our first parents, thus making it possible for us to be born. He arranged for us to have the support of families and of a loving congregation. (Genesis 1:27, 28; John 13:35; Hebrews 10:25) He sent his own firstborn Son to earth to teach us more about Himself and to provide the ransom that makes everlasting life possible. Do you really appreciate such marvelous gifts? Do they move you to accept his invitation to learn about him and to serve him?—Matthew 20:28; John 1:18; Romans 5:21.
13. Why do you feel that God is interested in individuals?
13 The Creator of the universe is interested in people. He called Abraham “my friend,” and he said to Moses: “I do know you by name.” (Isaiah 41:8; Exodus 33:12) The book of Revelation indicates that God has a symbolic book, or “scroll of life,” containing the names of his faithful servants “from the founding of the world.” Will your name be included there?—Revelation 3:5; 17:8; 2 Timothy 2:19.
14. How can following God’s principles improve your life?
14 God’s principles work. Doing things his way eliminates many problems—immorality, drug addiction, alcoholism, unwanted pregnancies, venereal disease, violence, murder, and a long list of other ills. Following his ways will also help you to find real friends and to live a happier life. Is that not worth doing? (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Even a young person who is already determined to do things God’s way can gain more strength to do what is right. The Bible says: “With someone loyal [Jehovah] will act in loyalty.” It also assures us that he will neither “leave his loyal ones” nor “forsake his people.”—Psalm 18:25; 37:28; 94:14; Isaiah 40:29-31.
Move Ahead in Serving God
15. What godly advice did Solomon give youths?
15 Are your goals centered in a dying old world or in the righteous new one? Do you listen to God, or do you listen to worldly-wise persons who contradict him? Does recreation, higher education, or a time-consuming secular career come ahead of God and his service? Wise King Solomon wrote the entire Bible book of Ecclesiastes to show what should come first in our lives. He concluded: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: ‘I have no delight in them.’ The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man.”—Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13.
16. How can young people reach out for additional privileges?
16 All the older Christian brothers that you know—the elders, the pioneers, and your circuit and district overseers—were once children. What led to the blessings that they enjoy today? They loved God and wanted to serve him. Many of them in youth took advantage of the extra time they had to gain knowledge and experience. They studied and participated in meetings. They shared in teaching, and they reached out for additional privileges—pioneering, Bethel service, or other rewarding activity. They were not ‘super youths’; they had normal interests and concerns such as you have. Yet, they applied themselves in line with the counsel: “Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah, and not to men.”—Colossians 3:23; compare Luke 10:27; 2 Timothy 2:15.
17. What can help young people to progress in God’s service?
17 What about you? Do you really appreciate godly things? Do you choose friends among those who put spiritual matters first? Do you encourage others to share with you in Christian activity? Do you go in Christian service with older, more experienced ones to learn from them, to taste their joy, and to be encouraged by their fine works? One Witness remembers the day, nearly 20 years ago, when for the first time an older person warmly invited her along in the field ministry. This, she says, was a turning point in her life: “For the first time I was going because I wanted to, not just because my parents were taking me.”
18. What are things to think about before presenting oneself for baptism?
18 If you are making progress in doing things God’s way, you may soon begin to think about baptism. It is important to remember that baptism is not some rite of passage into young adulthood. It does not show that you are growing up, nor is it something you should do because your friends have taken this step. Before asking to be baptized, you should have a basic knowledge of the truth and be living in harmony with God’s Word. You should have reasonable experience in sharing that knowledge with others and realize that this is a vital part of true worship. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) You should also know that after taking this important Christian step you will be expected to live in harmony with the Bible’s righteous moral principles.* In your heart, you should have dedicated your life to your loving heavenly Father.—Compare Psalm 40:8, 9.
19. When should a person be baptized?
19 Baptism is a step that you take when you have firmly decided that no matter what happens in the rest of your life, you will serve God. It is a public sign that you have made a complete, unreserved, and unconditional dedication to Jehovah through Jesus Christ to do God’s will. One Christian elder remembers the day, almost a half century ago, when he realized: “I have to do something about it!” Michelle, a young Witness baptized in Newcastle, England, a few years ago, says: “At the age of 13, I realized I should dedicate my life and be baptized; there is nothing I would rather do than serve God.”
20. (a) What fine example has already been set by tens of thousands of young people? (b) How should this step be viewed?
20 Tens of thousands of young people have been baptized recently. They had studied God’s Word and learned his ways, and then, by water baptism, they gladly joined many older ones in publicly symbolizing their dedication to God. They know that baptism is not an end but only a beginning to the truly dedicated way of life that they are determined to follow in Jehovah’s service forever.
See the article “Youthful Servants in Bible Times” on page 4.
This does not mean that saying ‘I’m not baptized yet’ is an excuse for wrongdoing. As soon as we know what God requires, we obviously have the responsibility to obey him.—James 4:17.
How Would You Answer?
□ Why is knowledge of God’s Word so important?
□ How can you get more out of Christian meetings?
□ What blessings from God should motivate us to obey him?
□ How can you move ahead in God’s service?
□ When should one get baptized?