Are You Doing Your Utmost?
“I’LL do my best.” How many times these words are followed by “but” and a long list of excuses for not exerting oneself! What about our dedication to Jehovah? Are we fulfilling our promise to give our very best to him?
To make a dedication means ‘to devote oneself exclusively to the service or worship of a divine being or to sacred uses.’ Jesus did much to show what dedication to Jehovah involves by saying: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and continually follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) One who has disowned himself and dedicated himself to God makes the doing of the divine will the most important pursuit in his life.
As dedicated people, we have to scrutinize ourselves to see whether we are living up to our dedication. Peter indicated why we should examine ourselves when he encouraged anointed Christians: “Do your utmost to make the calling and choosing of you sure for yourselves; for if you keep on doing these things you will by no means ever fail.” (2 Peter 1:10) Yes, if we do our utmost, we will not end up as spiritual failures.
Our Utmost Can Be Enhanced
In a broader sense, all dedicated servants of God are expected to do their utmost, or their best, to please Jehovah. However, our utmost in doing God’s will may grow. For a three-year-old boy, running an errand may be the best he can do to help his mother, but as he grows older, he will be able to do more. Likewise with our spiritual growth—what was formerly our utmost may no longer be such. We are moved to do more for Jehovah.
Our increased appreciation for Jehovah fuels our willingness to do more. Appreciation for what he has done for us is strengthened through personal study of his Word, the Bible. For example, when we carefully investigate and meditate on how Jehovah sent his Son to surrender his soul to liberate mankind from sin, we are moved to serve the Originator of the ransom arrangement. (John 3:16, 17; 1 John 4:9-11) The more we “taste and see that Jehovah is good,” the more our hearts are moved to serve him.—Psalm 34:8.
A full-time minister named Jetter realized this. In order to dig deeper into what she was studying, she set aside a small room in her house for that purpose. She arranged it so that she could concentrate while doing research. She has the Watch Tower Publications Indexes as well as bound volumes of The Watchtower and Awake! within reach on the bookshelf. “When I dig up interesting information,” she says, “I can’t wait to share it with others.”
However, just as eating a sumptuous meal once in a while does not relieve a person of the daily need to take in regular meals, a deep but onetime search into the Bible does not nullify the daily need to take in spiritual food. Ruth appreciates this need, for as far back as she can remember, her family read the Bible together every morning and evening after meals. Now, at 81 years of age, having spent over 60 years in the full-time ministry, she still reads the Bible regularly after waking up at 6:00 a.m. As soon as she receives the Watchtower and Awake! magazines, Ruth makes time to read them. She goes over an article at least three or four times before she studies it in the congregation. “Taking in God’s Word is what you need to keep strong in the faith,” she says. It has also helped her to continue in missionary service for many years.
Doing Our Utmost in Helping Others
By a deep and regular study of God’s Word, our zeal to serve God grows, and something inside of us urges us to do more. (Compare Jeremiah 20:9.) Such zeal moved Hirohisa to accomplish his ministry fully. (2 Timothy 4:5) He lived in a single-parent home with four younger brothers and sisters. While he was in his teens, Hirohisa supported his family by getting up at three in the morning to deliver newspapers. He wanted to do more in telling others about Jehovah, so Hirohisa applied for the pioneer service, as the full-time ministry of Jehovah’s Witnesses is called. Young as he was, he enjoyed helping others to join him in doing their utmost to praise Jehovah.
Doing our best in helping others includes becoming effective in our ministry. Jesus once encouraged his disciples: “If you know these things, happy you are if you do them.” (John 13:17) Naomi is a fine example of putting into practice suggestions given by Jehovah’s organization to improve our ministry. She had a hard time talking to strangers from house to house and was often at a loss for words as she stood on doorsteps. Elders in the congregation urged her to apply the suggestions found in the book Reasoning From the Scriptures, in the section “Introductions for Use in the Field Ministry.”* She memorized the introductions under the heading “Family/Children” and practiced them many times. As a result, she was able to carry on a conversation with a housewife who was in her 30’s. Even before Naomi could make a return visit, this woman came to the Kingdom Hall. A Bible study was arranged. The housewife and her husband are now baptized Christians, enjoying a happy family life with their children.
Doing Our Utmost in Showing Personal Interest
We can also imitate the apostle Paul, who said: “I do all things for the sake of the good news, that I may become a sharer of it with others.”—1 Corinthians 9:22, 23.
Hatsumi reflects this attitude. While Hatsumi was in the public ministry, a woman politely said over the intercom that she was too busy to talk. The householder’s tone of voice was gentle, so Hatsumi continued to visit her. The householder only answered through the intercom, never coming out to meet Hatsumi. This continued for two and a half years.
One day Hatsumi changed the time of her visit, calling late in the afternoon. No one answered. As she was leaving, however, a familiar voice behind her asked, “Who are you?” The woman had just come from outside. Upon hearing Hatsumi’s name, she readily responded, “Oh, it’s you who’s been visiting me. Thank you for always caring about me.” Because the woman had discontinued her Bible study with Jehovah’s Witnesses in another location, she had been too embarrassed to open the door to Hatsumi. A Bible study was renewed, and the householder is progressing very well. Do we care as much about the ones we meet in the house-to-house ministry?
Do Your Utmost
Jehovah appreciates our effort to serve him to the utmost. He is like a father whose son comes to him with gifts. Over the years, the gift may vary depending on the son’s age and means. Just as the father is happy to receive whatever heartfelt gifts his son gives him, so Jehovah readily accepts our wholehearted service in accord with our spiritual growth.
Of course, there is no point in comparing our utmost with that of others. As Paul says, we will have cause for exultation in regard to ourselves, “not in comparison with the other person.” (Galatians 6:4) May we continue to heed the apostle Peter’s admonition: “Do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.”—2 Peter 3:14.
Published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
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Are you doing your best in applying suggestions for the field ministry?