Can You Share More Fully in Kingdom-preaching?
AS DEVOTED servants of Jehovah God we should view people of the world with pity and compassion. That is what our Exemplar Jesus Christ did. When observing crowds of Israelites who were “skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd,” “he felt pity for them.”—Matt. 9:36.
Similarly, the inner feelings of the apostle Paul were stirred toward fellow Israelites who persisted in unbelief. “I have great grief and unceasing pain in my heart,” wrote Paul to the Romans. “For I could wish that I myself were separated as the cursed one from the Christ in behalf of my brothers, my relatives according to the flesh.”—Rom. 9:2, 3.
Are you, like Paul, deeply concerned about the people in your territory? Does it pain you to see that most of them, by disregarding God’s Word, are endangering their future life prospects and even now harming themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually? Are you moved to do everything you possibly can to aid them to gain an accurate knowledge of the truth? Does the needy spiritual condition of fellow humans prompt you to seek ways to share more fully in Kingdom-preaching?
Consider Your Circumstances
Because of their deep love for Jehovah and for their fellowmen, many have expanded their participation in Kingdom-preaching by taking up the regular or temporary pioneer service. Have you thought about the possibility of doing so yourself?
Many dedicated servants of Jehovah God would very much like to pioneer. But their circumstances simply do not permit them to do so. And, of course, Jehovah God does not require that his people spend all their waking hours in work. Rest and refreshment are definitely needed. That is why Jesus Christ on one occasion said to his disciples: “Come, you yourselves, privately into a lonely place and rest up a bit.”—Mark 6:31.
Nevertheless, we do well to consider how we are spending our time and the possibility of enlarging our share in Kingdom-preaching. Our prayer, like that of Moses, should be: “Show us just how to count our days in such a way that we may bring a heart of wisdom in.” (Ps. 90:12) Yes, we should want Jehovah God to help us to value, estimate and appraise our days so as to use them in the best way possible.
All of us should ask ourselves: Does the way I use my time show that I firmly believe that we are living in the “final part” of the “last days” and that every reasonable effort should be made to reach honest-hearted ones before it is too late? (Mic. 4:1) Should I adjust my view of material things so that I can be content with less? Could I reduce the number of hours I spend in secular work so as to share more fully in preaching the good news, possibly as a pioneer? Am I using up more time in entertainment and relaxation than I should? How much of this time could I spend more beneficially in the vital work of Kingdom-preaching?
After prayerfully considering your circumstances, you may find that, with some adjustments, you could enroll as a regular or, at least, a temporary pioneer. Should that be the case, set a date for yourself as to when you might start, and work toward that goal, looking to Jehovah to bless your efforts.
A brother in Hawaii who was encouraged to do this by a traveling overseer writes: “My question was, When should I start pioneering and resign from my civil service job? One thing I knew—the longer I stayed with my secular job, the harder it would be for me to quit due to increased benefits and pay. I set a goal in my mind to resign from my job and enter the pioneer work on October 1, 1966. How quickly that date rolled around and before I knew it I was in the pioneer work.” Today this brother is serving as a special pioneer.
Draw Encouragement from the Example of Others
After considering the possibility of your becoming a pioneer, you may wonder whether you would be able to continue as such. The example of others can in that case prove to be both helpful and encouraging to you.
Think about pioneers who have served faithfully for many years. As you hear or read their experiences in the Yearbook and The Watchtower, reflect on the joys they have had and continue to have. Consider their circumstances and why they have been able to make the best of them. If you know pioneers whose circumstances are not too different from your own, talk to them about how they got started and what has enabled them to continue.
The circuit overseer will also be happy to answer your questions about pioneering. And he is certainly in a fine position to do so. From experience he knows what it means to pioneer. He has also worked with many pioneers, likely including some who, before pioneering, had reservations very similar to yours.
The elders in your congregation, whether they are pioneers or not, can aid you. Usually being married men with children, they have had to balance family and congregational responsibilities in order to take a zealous lead in Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. By talking to them, you may be able to see how some of the things they have done to care for their responsibilities could help you to arrange your affairs to pioneer. Moreover, elders are able to provide suggestions based on experience in working with pioneers or even their own experience as temporary pioneers. So do not hesitate to speak to them about any problems you feel could hinder you from doing well in the pioneer work.
When Elders and Ministerial Servants Choose Pioneering
Of course, not all elders and ministerial servants are able to pioneer. But when those who are able to pioneer do enter the regular or temporary pioneer work themselves, this serves as an added encouragement to all in the congregation to exert themselves vigorously in Kingdom-preaching. That is why elders and ministerial servants should be concerned that their words and actions in no way minimize the importance of exerting ourselves to get the witness work accomplished during the “final part” of the “last days.” Manifestly they would not be able to encourage others to have a fuller share in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work if they were not making the best use of their own circumstances.
The effect of a good example set by elders and ministerial servants is well illustrated by what happened in recent years in one congregation in Portugal. The brothers serving on the committee were concerned that few took up the pioneer ministry. Even during months of special activity rarely did any brothers or sisters apply for temporary pioneer service. The committee talked the matter over and decided that the best results would probably be obtained by their setting an example as temporary pioneers themselves during the month of April. This they did, even though not one of them had a vacation period. They worked out a schedule for evenings and weekends that allowed them to meet the hour requirement, even though the ban on the work in Portugal makes this harder to achieve. Last year they were delighted when several publishers imitated their example and served as temporary pioneers. This year all those serving in the congregation in an appointed capacity took up temporary pioneer service during April. This really stirred the congregation to activity. About one fourth of the publishers were moved to participate in the temporary pioneer work.
Similarly, when all serving in appointed capacities in the Ikot Eyo Congregation of Nigeria, Africa, took the lead in the pioneer ministry, forty-one of the fifty-nine baptized publishers enrolled as temporary pioneers. As a result the congregation attained a new peak in publishers. Also the Bible study work showed marked improvement.
One of the reasons for the large number of pioneers in Japan—one out of every four publishers—is the outstanding example set by elders, many of whom are pioneers. A number of these elders, being in position to do so, have relinquished good jobs to pioneer. One gave up a high position at the Hitachi Electrical Works in order to make time to pioneer. The supervisor of a section of a car manufacturing plant gave up his remunerative job in order to serve as a pioneer. An elder in the Kyoto Ukyo Congregation had been trained in the United States for a high position in the architectural department of his firm. But he gave up this opportunity in order to serve as a pioneer with part-time secular work.
An elder who entered the regular pioneer work in Hawaii relates the following:
“Being a presiding overseer and trying to help others to become pioneers, I often thought about the importance of taking the lead myself in the pioneer work. Careful planning of my finances indicated that it was possible. My decision was further prompted by a desire to help more to pioneer and aid the people in the community to learn the truth. Having four children who were growing up, I was deeply concerned with their future. I had a good paying job as a crane operator. In June of 1967 I made the decision to give up this job and join my wife in the pioneer work.”
Has Jehovah blessed this father and his family since his entering the pioneer work? The results speak for themselves. In the congregation where they are serving, about one out of every seven associated is a regular or a special pioneer. Meeting attendance stands at about 150 percent of the number of publishers.
Regarding his own family blessings, this brother remarks: “My youngest child will be a senior in September and will become a regular pioneer when school begins. This will make six pioneers in our family, including our oldest daughter, who pioneers with her husband in another congregation. With the whole family putting Kingdom interests first in our lives, it serves as a protection and brings great joy to us.”
Parents Can Provide Fine Encouragement
As the example of elders and ministerial servants has a real impact on the congregation, so the example of parents in making good use of their opportunities to declare the “good news” has a wholesome effect on their children. When the emphasis in the home is, not on material things, but on spiritual matters, this does much to build up a burning desire in children to advance Kingdom interests.
Commenting on the effect of the good attitude manifested by parents toward pioneering, an elder in Nigeria says: “Parents have deep respect for pioneers, particularly special pioneers and circuit overseers. This has resulted in many young ones developing a similar respect for the pioneer service, which they have come to view as a most desirable work.”
A circuit overseer in the same country reports a typical example of a family effort to promote pioneering within the family: “A fifteen-year-old sister said at the Itire circuit assembly that her parents consider her pioneering as part of the family’s responsibilities. In drawing up the family’s schedule of activities, they include her activity.” Were she to fail to meet the pioneer requirements, this young sister would view that as failing the family. “Hence,” she says, “there is every encouragement for me to measure up to the pioneer requirements.”
In the Philippines similar family efforts have been put forth. Though having little themselves, and often with large families, many parents there are willing to have their children assist at home and pioneer rather than have them get a full-time job to help carry the financial burden of the family. One young pioneer sister from Quezon City writes: “I come from a large family of nine children but my parents prefer to have me be a pioneer. In order to help them I work in the home—washing and ironing clothes, cooking meals and sewing dresses.”
In the same country a husband and wife have been serving as special pioneers for more than fifteen years while raising a family of nine children. Not all families could do that, but this household found that family cooperation made it possible for them. The father remarks: “We taught our children how to work while they were still young. My oldest son was able to care for our farmland with the help of his sisters. Our daughters learned how to support themselves as market vendors. We also helped them to appreciate the pioneer work so that today five of my daughters are working as regular pioneers and my youngest son has served as a temporary pioneer.”
This brother and sister saw good results not only in their family but also in their preaching and disciple-making activities. They have been instrumental in the formation of one new congregation and in helping six other congregations to make progress. They have been able to aid thirty-five sheeplike persons to learn the truth.
If you are a parent, are you, by word and example, encouraging your children to pioneer? If you are a youth, are you responding appreciatively to the encouragement being given you? Is it your desire to add to the joy of your parents by exerting yourself in the pioneer ministry? Has your love for Jehovah and for fellow humans grown to the point where you want to spend as much time as possible in Kingdom-preaching?
Seize the Opportunities Open to You
Regardless of your present circumstances, always consider how you might be able to expand your future share in Kingdom-preaching. As long as your circumstances can change on this side of the “great tribulation,” look at pioneering as a possible goal. Then, if circumstances do change, freeing you to be a regular or a temporary pioneer, you will be prepared in mind and heart to make the best use of the opportunities before you. Many brothers and sisters have done just that.
One brother in Portugal had the opportunity to sell his share in a business partnership and become a pioneer. He seized the opportunity and invested his money in ways that guaranteed a regular income sufficient to care for his family of two children as well as his mother and thus entered pioneer service. He has not regretted that decision. He writes: “I always had much to do as a businessman. But as a pioneer I am even busier. In contrast, though, I am unquestionably much happier and healthier. When working as a businessman, I came home many times completely exhausted mentally, worn out and irritable. My nerves were bad and I took tranquilizers. Now that I am a pioneer, I come home very tired physically some days, but truly happy and content mentally. Why, since becoming a pioneer, I have never taken another tranquilizer! It is true that we now live a more modest life, but the life we live is so much richer. And spiritually speaking, well, there is just no comparison.”
Even this brother’s twelve-year-old daughter has noticed the difference. She says: “Before when Daddy would come home from work late and tired, we hardly saw him. He would just eat and go to bed without speaking hardly a word to us. Now, Daddy spends more time with us and we really like that. Most of all, we enjoy the family Bible study Daddy regularly has with us now.”
As in many other parts of the world, brothers and sisters in Korea have also done well in taking advantage of opportunities to be regular or temporary pioneers. In that land 1,810 of the 14,754 proclaimers of the “good news” are pioneers; that is one out of every eight. They do not allow themselves to be discouraged by the bitterly cold winters. Instead, the cold month of January usually sees a peak in the number of temporary pioneers. Why? Because most of the classrooms are unheated and so schools are closed due to the severe cold weather, freeing schoolchildren and teachers for the temporary pioneer work. Having the help of older children at home, housewives are also given opportunity to increase their preaching activity as temporary pioneers.
Do you make similar use of your opportunities? If you have a vacation in December or January, could you make plans to pioneer then? If on school vacation, could you assist your mother with some of the work at home and thus possibly open the way for her to share with you in the temporary pioneer work?
Certainly as all of us keep mindful of increasing our share in Kingdom-preaching because of our love for Jehovah and fellowmen, much will yet be accomplished in aiding honest-hearted ones to take their stand for true worship.