Could This Be the Best Career for You?
IF YOU are a baptized Christian, love for God undoubtedly moves you to do his will. Moreover, the ministry must surely be your vocation. After all, Jesus Christ commissioned all of his followers to be disciple makers. (Matthew 28:19, 20) Yes, you may now be working secularly to support yourself. But as a follower of Jesus and one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, first and foremost you are a Christian minister—one who gives the Kingdom-preaching work priority in life.—Matthew 24:14.
Perhaps you are in your late teens or early 20’s. Possibly, you have given a lot of thought to what course you are going to pursue in life. In weighing the options open to you, personal satisfaction is likely to be an important factor.
Consider, then, what Jørgen in Denmark says about the choice he made. Jørgen describes it as “an ideal way of life in which you can concentrate on the most important work there is.” Eva, a 31-year-old woman in Greece, says: “Comparing my life with that of my peers, I always conclude that it is richer, fuller, and more exciting.” What career provides such satisfaction? How can you follow such a way of life?
Does God Show the Way?
Choosing a career may be quite difficult. In fact, some may wish that God would indicate exactly what he wants them to do.
When Moses was in Midian, Jehovah directed him to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites out of slavery. (Exodus 3:1-10) God’s angel appeared to Gideon, who was appointed to save Israel from oppression. (Judges 6:11-14) David was tending sheep when God told Samuel to anoint him as Israel’s next king. (1 Samuel 16:1-13) We are not guided in such ways today. Instead, we need to weigh matters and decide how to use our God-given abilities.
Jehovah has opened “a large door that leads to activity” for young Christians today. (1 Corinthians 16:9) How so? In the last decade, the number of Kingdom proclaimers has increased by over 2,125,000 to more than 6,000,000 earth wide. Who help to provide the millions of Bibles, books, brochures, magazines, and tracts needed for spiritual sustenance and for the global work of preaching the good news? This blessed privilege is enjoyed by members of the worldwide Bethel family.
A Rewarding Life
Bethel means “House of God,” and Bethel homes are the places of residence of Christian volunteers serving at the headquarters and at the branch offices of the Watch Tower Society. (Genesis 28:19, footnote) Present-day Bethel families might be likened to well-organized ‘households built up by wisdom’ and founded on love for Jehovah.—Proverbs 24:3.
What can be said about the familylike atmosphere at Bethel? A 25-year-old member of the Bethel family in Estonia states: “I enjoy the feeling of being among Jehovah’s friends all the time. This is still the most valuable thing for me at Bethel.”—Psalm 15:1, 2.
Worldwide, about 19,500 individuals now enjoy the privilege of Bethel service. (Psalm 110:3) In the United States, 46 percent of those at Bethel are between the ages of 19 and 29. Like Isaiah, they have said: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) Isaiah—already dedicated to Jehovah—was volunteering for an additional privilege of service. This apparently meant sacrificing some personal advantages. Those in Bethel service leave their homes and familiar surroundings, as well as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends. These sacrifices are willingly made “for the sake of the good news.”—Mark 10:29, 30.
In turn, what spiritual blessings there are at Bethel! A young member of the Bethel family in Russia explains: “By being self-sacrificing, we can learn a lot that will help us to live in the new world. I can say that in my case Jehovah’s blessings are much greater than my sacrifices.”—Malachi 3:10.
Life at Bethel
What is life like at Bethel? Members of the Bethel family agree that it is wholesome and satisfying, even exciting. Jens, who is 43, enjoys Bethel service. Why? He says: “Because of the feeling that we are part of a grand effort to carry out an important task. I am able to sense the scope and magnitude of Jehovah’s work.”
From Monday through Saturday, the day at Bethel begins with morning worship. This is a discussion of the Bible, presided over by an experienced elder. On Monday evenings an hour is devoted to the family study of the Bible with the aid of The Watchtower, followed at times by a talk based on a Scriptural theme especially suited to the Bethel family.
What happens when a person first comes to Bethel? To introduce new members to Bethel life, mature brothers of the family give lectures dealing with various facets of Bethel service. For a number of weeks during the first year, a new member of the Bethel family attends a fine weekly school designed to broaden his or her understanding of the Scriptures. New entrants also enjoy a special Bible-reading program. During their first year of Bethel service, new members of the family read through the entire Bible.
What is the effect of all this training? Joshua, a 33-year-old member of the Bethel family in Hong Kong, answers: “Bethel has really deepened my appreciation for Jehovah. I can associate with many experienced brothers who have spent most of their lives serving Jehovah. I especially enjoy the spiritual programs, such as morning worship and the family Watchtower Study. Further, I like the orderly and simple way of life. This frees me from unnecessary anxiety. I also learn how to handle things in a Christian manner, and this has always proved to be beneficial.”
Members of the Bethel family spend most of their time and effort doing what they volunteered to do. That is, to use their physical and mental resources primarily to care for the assignment they are given at Bethel. A great variety of things need to be done. Some operate printing presses or work in the bindery, making books that are shipped to many congregations. Others serve in the kitchen, the dining room, or the laundry. Assignments include cleaning, farming, construction work, and so on. Some have the responsibility of caring for the equipment in these departments. Others provide health care or do office work. All Bethel work assignments involve enjoyable challenges and are wonderfully rewarding. The work done at Bethel is especially satisfying because it promotes Kingdom interests and is performed out of love for God.
Members of the Bethel family are assigned to congregations, where they experience firsthand the benefits of their work. They enjoy attending meetings of the congregation and sharing in the preaching work. As a result, Bethel family members have developed strong ties with their brothers and sisters in the local congregations.—Mark 10:29, 30.
Rita, a member of the Bethel family in Britain, says: “I am so grateful for the congregation! When I am at the meetings and in the ministry, it strengthens my faith so much to see dear brothers, sisters, children, and older ones there! Come what may, they are there. That helps me to be more zealous in my Bethel service.”
Life at Bethel is not all work, meetings, field service, and study. The family enjoys periods of relaxation as well. From time to time, there are entertaining and spiritually rewarding “Family Night” programs, which afford opportunities to enjoy the talents of many and to learn encouraging things about the lives of others serving at Bethel. Enjoyable, too, are wholesome and upbuilding social visits with others. Some recreational facilities may be provided, as well as libraries for personal reading and research. And not to be forgotten is the pleasant conversation around the dining tables at mealtimes.
Tom, a member of the Bethel family in Estonia, says: “Just a block away from Bethel is the sea, and nearby there is a beautiful forest where my wife and I enjoy going for short walks. I also occasionally play golf, hockey, and tennis with friends in the congregation and at Bethel. And when the weather allows, we go for a ride on our bikes.”
What Can You Do to Qualify?
Of course, Bethel is primarily a place where mature Christians render sacred service to Jehovah and work in behalf of fellow believers throughout the world. Those who become members of the Bethel family must meet certain qualifications. What can you do to qualify for Bethel service?
Like Timothy, who served with the apostle Paul, those accepted for Bethel service must have a good standing in the congregation. (1 Timothy 1:1) Timothy “was well reported on by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium.” (Acts 16:2) Though he was young, Timothy knew the Scriptures and was well-grounded in the truth. (2 Timothy 3:14, 15) Similarly, a knowledge of the Bible is expected of those accepted for Bethel service.
Members of the Bethel family need to have a self-sacrificing spirit. So evident was Timothy’s spirit of self-sacrifice and his willingness to put Kingdom interests ahead of his own that Paul could say of him: “I have no one else of a disposition like his who will genuinely care for the things pertaining to you. For all the others are seeking their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know the proof he gave of himself, that like a child with a father he slaved with me in furtherance of the good news.”—Philippians 2:20-22.
Bethel service calls for spiritual men and women. Arrangements made for Bethel family members make it possible for them to grow spiritually through Bible study, regularity at Christian meetings and in the field ministry, and association with mature Christians. Thus those at Bethel are helped to follow Paul’s counsel: “Go on walking in union with [Christ Jesus], rooted and being built up in him and being stabilized in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with faith in thanksgiving.”—Colossians 2:6, 7.
Because of the nature of the work at Bethel, those accepted for this privilege of service must be physically strong and in good health. If you meet the qualifications that we have mentioned, are 19 years of age or older, and have been baptized for at least one year, we encourage you to consider Bethel service.
We All Have a Share
As Christians, surely all of us desire to put Kingdom interests first in life and to be whole-souled in our service to Jehovah. (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:23) We can also encourage those serving at Bethel to continue rendering sacred service there. And especially should young brothers who qualify for Bethel service be urged to reach out for this blessed privilege.
Bethel service is a spiritually satisfying way of life—one that could indeed be the best career for you. It is for Nick, who started serving at Bethel at the age of 20. After ten years of Bethel service, he says: “I often pray to Jehovah to thank him for his undeserved kindness. What more could I ask for? Here, we are surrounded by faithful Christians who are doing their best to serve Jehovah.”
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WHAT CAN ELDERS AND PARENTS DO?
Elders and traveling overseers should particularly encourage young men to apply for Bethel. Recently, an informal inquiry among younger members of the Bethel family showed that 34 percent of them were primarily urged by Christian overseers to make Bethel service their goal. Yes, they may be missed by their local congregations. But it is good to remember that while Timothy no doubt exerted a wholesome influence on other young people in Lystra and Iconium, the elders there did not hold him back from serving with Paul. They did not conclude that having Timothy accompany the apostle would result in too great a loss to their congregation.—1 Timothy 4:14.
Especially should Christian parents seek to be a positive influence on their children in this matter. In the survey just mentioned, 40 percent of those asked cited their parents as the main source of encouragement for entering Bethel service. One sister who has been serving at Bethel for a few years stated: “My parents’ life in Jehovah’s service was a powerful impetus for me to enter Bethel service. By seeing their example in the full-time ministry, I just knew that this would be the best and most satisfactory way of life to choose.”
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THEY APPRECIATE BETHEL SERVICE
“I cherish my service at Bethel. It is satisfying to know that I have served Jehovah all day long and that I will do the same tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and so forth. This gives me a good conscience and fills my mind with positive thoughts.”
“Bethel is a place where you can devote all your time and energies to the service of Jehovah without distraction. This brings inner joy. But you can also see Jehovah’s organization from a different perspective. You feel much closer to the hub of that organization, and this makes it very exciting.”
“Coming to Bethel is the best thing that ever happened to me. Here education never stops. And here education is, not for my own personal achievement, but for Jehovah. Here my work will never be in vain.”
“Using my talents at Bethel makes me feel content and at peace because they are being used for Jehovah and for the brothers.”
“I could not find real satisfaction and happiness in my former career. I had dreamed for many years about working with and for my brothers and sisters. That is why I came to Bethel. I find real satisfaction in knowing that all my efforts will benefit others spiritually and will bring praise to Jehovah.”