What is Your Heart’s Desire?
JEHOVAH God does not hold anyone back from following his heart’s desire. We are free to choose what appeals to our hearts and what delights our eyes. Wise King Solomon said under inspiration: “Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart do you good in the days of your young manhood, and walk in the ways of your heart and in the things seen by your eyes.”
But this does not mean that the youth who follows every desire of his heart and eyes is not responsible for his actions to the Giver of life, Jehovah God. King Solomon continued: “But know that on account of all these the true God will bring you into judgment. So remove vexation from your heart, and ward off calamity from your flesh; for youth and the prime of life are vanity. Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood.”—Eccl. 11:9-12:1.
Jehovah God will not shield anyone from disappointments, frustrations and injury if his heart’s desires greatly interfere with or limit activities directly associated with true worship. Therefore we are truly wise if we pursue desires that take into consideration our precious relationship with Jehovah God.
If you are a young man or a young woman, where is the desire of your heart? Is your chief concern your relationship with Jehovah? Is it your desire to use your abilities and material assets in such a way as to give you the most time possible for advancing Kingdom interests? Are you thinking seriously about enlarging your share in the vital work of Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making? Is it your heart’s desire to become a regular pioneer as soon as possible and, meanwhile, to make the best use of opportunities to share in the temporary pioneer service?
Why They Chose Pioneering
Many dedicated, baptized young men and women are definitely concerned about using their energies to the full in the service of Jehovah God as devoted disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. One pioneer from Nigeria made this expression: “Even while I was in school I felt an awareness of the shortness of the time and I wanted to use the remaining time wisely. So I used to share regularly in the temporary pioneer service.” Another pioneer comments: “I believe the pioneer service is one way young ones like me can show Jehovah our gratitude for what he has done for us.”
A young married man, on completing his training as a teacher in Bandung, Indonesia, returned to his native village. He returned with more than secular knowledge, for he had become a dedicated, baptized disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Alone in the mountain village, he spent many hours proclaiming the “good news” to the people in their native language. He delivered the Memorial talk at 10 p.m., after the villagers had returned from their work. Over one hundred persons assembled outside in the marketplace before a campfire. Encouraged by the attendance and seeing the great need to increase the amount of time he was spending in preaching and teaching, he enrolled as a temporary pioneer. Soon he stopped secular teaching and became a regular pioneer. Now many of his former pupils are dedicated, baptized Witnesses.
A circuit overseer from Japan observed that the brothers and sisters in that land regard pioneering as “the normal thing to do,” if there is a way to do it. Almost half the pioneers in Japan are young people. It is the usual thing for these, even if one of their parents is not in the truth, to prepare well ahead of time to pioneer when they graduate from high school.
If you are in school, is your love for Jehovah and the people in your territory continuing to grow? Does this love reflect itself in a burning desire to do as much as you possibly can in the advancement of Kingdom interests? Do you make good use of your vacation periods by increasing your participation in the field ministry then? Are you preparing yourself for the regular pioneer service? Are you availing yourself of training that will make it easier for you to get a part-time job upon completing your secular education? Have you thought about a brother or a sister who might work with you as a pioneer partner? Have you discussed this with him or her? Do you share in the temporary pioneer service whenever the opportunity presents itself?
Pioneering While Going to School
Some brothers and sisters have found that they can even be regular pioneers while going to school.
One youth serving as a pioneer in Hawaii relates: “I realized that pioneering a half day of each school day would serve as a protection from the influences of worldly schoolmates and also discourage extracurricular activities since I would be busy in the field ministry. With a lot of help from Jehovah and much encouragement from my family, I was able to do well in the pioneer work. I am really glad that I pioneered while going to school, because it really sharpened my appreciation for the precious privilege of serving Jehovah in the last days and helped me to rely more heavily on Jehovah as my Source of strength.”
A sister in New York city who began pioneering while still in school had the following schedule: She would come home from school at about 2 p.m. Her day in service would start a half hour later and continue until about 6 or 7 o’clock. She did some of her homework during the lunch period and the rest of it after field service. She still enjoys pioneering and views it as a protection against being sidetracked by the things done in the world.
A sister in Kansas was able to arrange to take most of her required number of subjects in the first three years of high school. This made it possible for her to pioneer during her senior year, when she was given permission to take only three classes.
In the Philippines, one sister, though compelled by her father to go to college, is still able to pioneer. How does she do it? “Every school opening,” she says, “I see to it that I enroll on the first week of registration so that I can choose a good schedule of time for school. From then on I am a student in the morning and a pioneer in the afternoon.”
If you are now attending school, can you make adjustments that would enable you to pioneer and yet not neglect your secular education? Is this the desire of your heart?
Rejecting College Education to Pioneer
Not all those who are pioneering now had that desire originally. There were those who wanted higher education in order to get ahead in the world. One pioneer sister serving in Hawaii comments: “My goal was to get a good college education. I entered college and became inactive spiritually. However, I found college very dissatisfying. I thought there must be something better in life, something to make life more rewarding. I began to attend meetings again and associated with pioneers. Soon I left college and pursued the desire to serve Jehovah as a pioneer.”
Another Hawaiian sister relates the following: “My father wanted me to attend college on a scholarship. I had the desire to learn enough to see if human philosophies could help people with their problems. After one year of college, I realized the vanity of worldly wisdom and discontinued my college scholarship. My mother was a fine example as a pioneer. There were other zealous pioneers in the congregation, and their faith and zeal were contagious, stimulating a desire in me to join them in the pioneer service.
“After one circuit overseer’s visit, I was determined to become a pioneer. I talked to my mother about this and, due to my father’s not being in the truth, felt that I would have to leave home to pioneer. I explained to mother that, even if it meant leaving home to pioneer, I would do so. The thought of our becoming separated caused both of us to cry. I prayed that Jehovah would soften my father’s heart so that he would let me pioneer and remain at home. Jehovah answered my prayer and I have enjoyed a number of years at home in the pioneer service. Part-time work has been available to support myself.”
Willingness to Give Up Seeming Material Advantages
When the desire to pioneer is strong enough, one is willing to give up seeming material advantages. Often even young people who enter the pioneer service have had to make adjustments. Those who have done so have been greatly blessed.
One brother in Ubiri, Nigeria, who chose pioneering, although his unbelieving parents were arranging for him to get a university education, writes: “Since I have just finished my course in high school and am only qualified for clerical work—not having learned a trade—I just forced myself to become a fisherman. Though I have no one to support me financially, I will not give away this opportunity to pioneer, because I have been crying for it.” He is now conducting fifteen Bible studies in his regular pioneer assignment.
A sister from Portugal relates her experience: “I was the only child and therefore the center of attention. But I realized that most of my time was being spent at my secular job. My parents did not depend on me financially. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that the time spent at my secretarial job could be much better used in the pioneer service. No sooner had I made my decision to be a pioneer than problems arose. I received a tempting offer as a secretary for another firm at double the salary I was then earning. When my father, who is not in the truth, learned of my decision to be a pioneer, he said he would never talk to me again and even threatened to take his life. But I stuck to my decision. Immediately my father ordered me out of the home.
“During those trying times my mother constantly encouraged me. Also, I will never be able to forget how my loving brothers and sisters so kindly filled that vacuum of love I needed. I will always be grateful to them. The offers for meals were more than the number of meals in a day. The brothers wanted me to keep healthy and even put on some weight so that my father would not think that I was suffering. When I went to Jehovah in prayer, I especially felt the strength and courage to continue in the pioneer service. Then one day, nine months later, I met my father on the street. He found it hard to say ‘hello,’ but I felt he was glad to see me. To my surprise, shortly afterward I received word to come back and live at home and carry on my pioneer service. After my spending more than five years as a pioneer, my father has decided to go to his first convention. I can fully agree with the words recorded at Psalm 27:10: ‘In case my own father and my own mother did leave me, even Jehovah himself would take me up.’”
A young married couple in the Philippines tell about their entering the pioneer service: “Our appreciation of the urgency of the times led us to leave our full-time secular work and take up the pioneer service. Because of doing this, we now enjoy peace of mind and a much closer relationship as husband and wife because of working together in the field ministry. We have learned how to budget both our time and money. When working in the territory we try to plan our activity so that we can do both our house-to-house work and return visits in the same area. This cuts down on transportation expenses. In our home we have learned to buy the necessary food items first and in bulk when advisable.”
Upon finishing high school, a young sister in Nigeria began thinking seriously about pioneering. She had several opportunities for employment. Although it meant lower wages, she decided to take the job that allowed for more time to spend in preaching. She reasoned, ‘When this system passes away with its institutions, I will be sure of having a vocation.’
A pioneer sister from Davao City, Philippines, speaks of the blessings that came when she gave up her secular job to pioneer: “I did not find real happiness in my secular job, as I had much discontentment and many frustrations. When I submitted my resignation, the company offered me a higher position with a big increase in salary. However, I was firm in my desire to be a pioneer. After two years of pioneering I have reaped nothing but a bundle of profound happiness and blessing. My Bible knowledge has greatly improved and my preaching work is more effective. I have also found it easier to manifest the fruitage of God’s spirit. Now I always make it a point to encourage other young persons like myself to share in the pioneer work.”
The Encouragement of: Parents Helps
The example of others can certainly be a source of encouragement. But, in addition thereto, at times the heart’s desire for what is good needs to be strengthened. Parents can do much to aid their children in this regard.
A sister from the Visayan Islands stated: “My parents did a lot to help me in my determination to be a pioneer. I took advantage of school vacation by applying to serve as a temporary pioneer. Also the experiences of our brothers as related in The Watchtower stirred my heart to aspire to the privilege of pioneer work.”
An elder in Korea encouraged his four children to pioneer. At a circuit assembly he and the children were interviewed. The oldest daughter related how she had been the highest scholastically in her high school. She herself wanted to go to college at one point. However, her father informed her that, while she was free to choose such a course, she could not expect financial support from him. She changed her mind about college, and now she is enjoying many blessings as a pioneer. The next oldest, a son, told how he also at one time wanted to go to college and follow a worldly course. But his father sat down and reviewed the Scriptures with him. His father also told him that, if he insisted on following a worldly course, he would also have to find another place to live. He heeded his father’s counsel and is very grateful that his father was kind but firm in his stand. The two younger children explained that they were impressed by what happened to the two older ones. From the beginning they planned to become pioneers. The youngest son gave up his high school education to pioneer.
While it may be your heart’s desire to share the joys of pioneering, your present circumstances simply may not allow you to do so. In that case do not feel discouraged. You can rest assured that Jehovah God and his Son Jesus Christ very much appreciate your faithful service.
It may be that, with persistent prayer, the obstacles standing in the way will eventually be removed, freeing you to fulfill the desire of your heart. This was the experience of one sister who is now serving as a missionary. When she made known her plans to pioneer, she was still a minor and living at home. Her unbelieving father did not want her to pioneer but wanted her to go to college. She constantly prayed to Jehovah to soften her father’s heart. Within a year, she was able to enter the pioneer service. Her health also began to improve and this made a favorable impression on her father. Looking back on her pioneer service, this sister says: “It was worth overcoming all the difficulties that have come along the way.”
As you ponder the experiences of others, consider whether you can seize the privilege of being a pioneer. Jehovah God, of course, has left it up to each one of us to decide just how much time we will devote to the work of Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. He has also made clear to us the need for this vital work. He has revealed to us that this system of things will soon come to its end. This means that people’s lives are in grave danger. They need to come into an approved relationship with Jehovah if they are going to survive the “great tribulation.” Then, too, Jehovah has revealed that it is his will for us to spread the lifesaving message of his Word. Our conforming to his will is therefore an expression of our love for him and for fellow humans.
Is your love for Jehovah motivating the desires of your heart? If it is, whether you are able to pioneer or not, you can have the deep satisfaction of knowing that you are whole-souled in your service to Jehovah. Jesus told his brothers to preach and to teach. “Make disciples,” he said. All dedicated Christians know what to do and they will keep busy telling the good news to others from house to house, everywhere, anytime.