They Enriched Their Life—Can You Do the Same?
MARC, a brother in Canada, was employed by a firm that builds sophisticated robotic systems used by space agencies. He worked part-time and served as a regular pioneer. Then, a supervisor offered Marc a promotion—a full-time position with a big salary. What did Marc do?
Amy, a sister in the Philippines, served as a regular pioneer while completing her schooling. After graduation, she was offered a full-time position that demanded much of her time but paid handsomely. What choice did Amy make?
Marc and Amy made different decisions, and the results of their choices illustrate the wisdom of the counsel given to Christians in ancient Corinth. The apostle Paul wrote: “Let . . . those making use of the world [be] as those not using it to the full.”—1 Cor. 7:29-31.
Use the World but Not to the Full
Before we learn what happened to Marc and Amy, let us briefly consider the meaning of the expression “the world” (or, koʹsmos in Greek) that Paul used in his letter to the Corinthians. In that Bible passage, koʹsmos refers to the world system in which we live—human society as a whole—and it includes the mundane things that are part of daily life, such as housing, food, and clothing.* To obtain such daily necessities, most of us must hold a job. Indeed, we have no choice but to use the world to carry out our Scriptural obligation to provide for ourselves and our families. (1 Tim. 5:8) However, at the same time, we realize that “the world is passing away.” (1 John 2:17) Therefore, we use the world to the extent necessary but not “to the full.”—1 Cor. 7:31.
Motivated by that Bible counsel to limit to the extent possible their use of the world, numerous brothers and sisters have reassessed their circumstances, cut back on employment, and simplified their lifestyle. After doing that, they soon discovered that they actually enriched their life because they had more time to spend with their families and in Jehovah’s service. Moreover, their simple life made them depend less on the world and more on Jehovah. Can you do the same—simplify your life in order to advance the interests of God’s Kingdom?—Matt. 6:19-24, 33.
“We Feel Closer to Jehovah Than Ever Before”
Marc, mentioned in the introduction, heeded the Bible’s advice not to use the world to the full. He turned down the lucrative promotion offered to him. A few days later, Marc’s supervisor offered him an even larger salary to persuade him to accept the new job. “It was a test,” says Marc, “but again I declined.” He explains why: “My wife, Paula, and I wanted to build our lives around serving Jehovah as fully as possible. Therefore, we resolved to simplify our lifestyle. We prayed to Jehovah for wisdom in reaching our goal and set a specific date for making ourselves available to serve Jehovah to a fuller extent.”
Paula observes: “I worked three days a week as a secretary at a hospital and received a good salary. I also served as a regular pioneer. However, like Marc, I wanted to make myself available to serve Jehovah wherever there was a greater need for Kingdom proclaimers. Yet, when I handed in my resignation, my supervisor said that I qualified for the position of executive secretary that had just opened up. It was the highest paying secretarial job in the hospital, but I stuck to my decision to resign. When I gave my supervisor my reason for not applying for the position, she commended me for my faith.”
Soon thereafter, Marc and Paula received an assignment to serve as special pioneers in a small congregation in an isolated part of Canada. How did their move work out? Marc says: “After leaving a financially stable job that I had done for almost half of my life, I was apprehensive, but Jehovah blessed our ministry. We feel the tremendous joy that comes from sharing spiritual gifts with others. Full-time service also enriched our marriage. Our conversations center on things that are truly important—spiritual topics. We feel closer to Jehovah than ever before.” (Acts 20:35) Paula adds: “When you leave your job and the comforts of a familiar home, you have to place all your trust in Jehovah. We did, and Jehovah blessed us. The dear brothers and sisters in our new congregation make us feel loved and needed. I now use the energy that I formerly spent on my job to help people spiritually. I am overjoyed to serve in this assignment.”
‘Well-Off but Not Happy’
Amy, mentioned earlier, chose a different course. She accepted the lucrative full-time position offered to her. Amy says: “For the first year, I remained active in the ministry but found that the focus of my life gradually shifted from Kingdom interests to career promotion. I received tempting offers for advancement and began to expend my energy on climbing the corporate ladder. As the responsibilities of my job increased, I spent less and less time in the ministry. Eventually, I stopped preaching altogether.”
Looking back on that time, Amy notes: “Financially, I was well-off. I traveled a lot and enjoyed the prestige that came with my professional position. Yet, I was not happy. Despite having money, I had numerous problems. I wondered what was wrong. Then I finally realized that by pursuing a career in this world, I had nearly been ‘led astray from the faith.’ As a consequence, exactly as God’s Word states, I was suffering ‘many pains.’”—1 Tim. 6:10.
What did Amy do? She says: “I asked the elders to help me regain my spiritual health and began attending meetings. During a song, I began to cry. I remembered how happy I was during the five years that I shared in the harvest as a pioneer, although I was materially poor then. I knew that I had to stop wasting my time chasing money and that I had to put Kingdom interests first. I took a demotion at work, which meant the loss of 50 percent of my salary, and began to share in the preaching work again.” Amy happily notes: “I had the joy of serving as a pioneer for a few years. I now have a feeling of fulfillment that I never experienced when I spent most of my time working for the world.”
Can you adjust your circumstances and simplify your lifestyle? If you use the time that will become available in order to advance Kingdom interests, you too will enrich your life.—Prov. 10:22.
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Can you adjust your circumstances and simplify your lifestyle?
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“I Love It Already!”
David, a Christian elder in the United States, desired to join his wife and children in the full-time service. He was able to arrange for part-time employment at the company where he worked, and he began to serve as a regular pioneer. Did the change enrich his life? Some months later, David wrote to a friend: “There is nothing more satisfying than being fully involved in serving Jehovah with one’s family. I really thought that it would take some time for me to get used to pioneering, but I love it already! It is so refreshing.”
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Marc and Paula in the ministry