Busy and Joyful in God’s Service
JEHOVAH wants you to be joyful. (Ps. 100:2) As one of his servants, you are probably also busy. Perhaps you were not this busy when you dedicated your life to God, but now secular and spiritual responsibilities may cause you to feel under pressure. You may even feel guilty when you cannot accomplish all that you set out to do. How can you find the proper balance and maintain “the joy of Jehovah”?—Neh. 8:10.
You live in critical times and are subject to many pressures, so you need to be well organized. In this regard, some of the apostle Paul’s inspired counsel is particularly relevant: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked.”—Eph. 5:15, 16.
In view of that wise counsel, how can you set realistic goals for yourself and balance personal study, family care, field service, secular work, and other necessary activities?
Do you recall the joy you experienced when you dedicated yourself to God and were baptized? Joy came from knowledge about Jehovah and his purposes. It may have taken months of diligent study to gain that understanding and joy. But it was certainly worth the effort. That study changed your life for the better.
To maintain your joy, you need to keep on feeding spiritually. If you struggle to find time to read and study the Bible, examine your schedule. Even a few minutes of study and meditation a day will bring you closer to Jehovah, and that will surely contribute to your joy.
Most of God’s servants can buy out some time for vital activities from time spent on less important things. Ask yourself, ‘How much time do I spend reading secular magazines or newspapers, watching TV, listening to music, or pursuing a hobby?’ Such activities can be pleasurable but only when kept in balance. (1 Tim. 4:8) If you realize that poor time-management is a problem for you, take steps to get a grip on your schedule.
Adam, a husband, father of three, and an elder, explains what helps him: “I strive to lead a simple life. I avoid time-consuming hobbies and belongings that demand much attention. It’s not that I live a life of self-denial—I just enjoy uncomplicated recreation.”
Meditating on the good results of your decisions can renew your joy and help you to maintain a positive outlook. For example, Mariusz, an elder who has three children, says: “When I started studying the Bible, I became an optimist. From time to time, I still face difficulties, many of which only Jehovah knows about. But thanks to his support, I look to the future with joy.”
As in Mariusz’ case, a positive attitude will not eliminate all feelings of anxiety. But it can help you to feel better and to deal more effectively with life’s challenges. We read: “All the days of the afflicted one are bad; but the one that is good at heart has a feast constantly.” (Prov. 15:15) Reflect, too, on the love God has already shown to you. Such meditation can build your love for him and deepen your godly joy.—Matt. 22:37.
Putting Jehovah and his interests first in life increases a family’s joy. Displaying Christian qualities reduces friction and results in closer and more pleasant family interactions. Thus, your home will be a true haven of peace and unity for the entire family.—Ps. 133:1.
Being involved in spiritual activities as a family adds to genuine joy. Mariusz explains: “I value the time we spend together as a family. My wife is very supportive. Whenever possible, she is by my side whether I am in the field ministry or I am cleaning the stadium before conventions, and she accompanies me when I deliver public talks in other congregations. I find this encouraging.”
The Scriptures command Christians to provide for the material needs of their families. (1 Tim. 5:8) But if secular work consumes too much time and energy, it can rob you of joy in God’s service. Take the matter to Jehovah in prayer. (Ps. 55:22) Some have concluded that putting first God’s Kingdom has meant seeking different employment. No Christian should allow the financial benefits of a demanding job to blind him to the more important spiritual things.—Prov. 22:3.
You may find it helpful to write down all the pros and cons of potential or current employment. Good pay and satisfying work are, of course, desirable. Yet, does your present job help you to promote your family’s spiritual well-being? Objectively weigh all the factors, and make decisions that give your relationship with Jehovah priority.
If your current employment is not conducive to spiritual growth, you need to adjust your situation. Many Christians have made radical changes in order to find time for spiritual matters. A brother in Poland relates: “I once was left with no choice but to leave the company I worked for because I was often away on business trips. I did not have enough time to care properly either for spiritual matters or for my family.” He now makes his living at a job that takes far less of his time and energy.
Find Joy in Assisting Others
Jesus said that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Christians have many opportunities for such giving. At times, a warm smile, a handshake, or a sincere thank-you for someone’s hard work in a theocratic assignment may be all that is needed to bring joy to both of you.
The apostle Paul encouraged fellow Christians: “Speak consolingly to the depressed souls, support the weak.” (1 Thess. 5:14) Depressed souls might feel that they are unable to cope with problems in their own strength. Could you give such ones a helping hand? If you see that one of your brothers is losing his joy in Jehovah’s service, try to encourage him. Doing so will encourage you too. Some problems no human can solve. However, you can offer sincere compassion and can urge your brother to lean on Jehovah’s never-failing support. Those who do will never be disappointed.—Ps. 27:10; Isa. 59:1.
Another practical step is to invite the one who seems to lack joy to accompany you in the ministry. When Jesus sent out the 70 disciples, he did so “by twos.” (Luke 10:1) Do you not believe that he thus provided a means for mutual encouragement? Can you use that pattern to help some regain joy today?
Life is full of legitimate concerns. Still, Paul exhorts us: “Always rejoice in the Lord. Once more I will say, Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4) Because you love God, obey him, and zealously persevere in the work he has given you to do, your life has purpose. That brings you joy. What is more, Jehovah helps you to deal with the pressures and problems that you face.—Rom. 2:6, 7.
With eyes of faith, we perceive how close we are to Jehovah’s promised new world. How many blessings and reasons for joy that will bring! (Ps. 37:34) So we can be of good cheer, not losing sight of how much Jehovah is blessing us even now. Thus we can “serve Jehovah with rejoicing.”—Ps. 100:2.
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You may need to adjust how you apportion your time if you are to remain joyful
RECREATION and ENTERTAINMENT
HOME and FAMILY CARE
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Are you in a position to help others regain their joy?