How Are You Using Your Life?
IS IT not apparent that most of mankind are living their lives for themselves? They are using their lives as they see fit, without concern for others. But what about us? The apostle Paul wrote to fellow servants of Jehovah, saying: “None of us, in fact, lives with regard to himself only, and no one dies with regard to himself only; for both if we live, we live to Jehovah, and if we die, we die to Jehovah. Therefore both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah.”—Rom. 14:7, 8.
This is something for all of us to give serious thought to: It would be entirely inappropriate for us, while professing to be Jehovah’s people, to try to live our lives with regard to ourselves only. As the apostle Paul wrote: “You do not belong to yourselves, for you were bought with a price. By all means, glorify God.”—1 Cor. 6:19, 20.
Are we not thankful that Jehovah God has purchased us and that we now belong to Him? He has bought us with the life of his own dear Son so that eternal death does not have to be our lot, but we have before us the opportunity to enjoy everlasting life. (John 3:16, 36) How are you affected by this loving provision of God? Does it not cause you to want to show Jehovah your deep appreciation? The apostle Peter noted that if we have the proper mental disposition we will be moved to “live the remainder of [our] time in the flesh, no more for the desires of men, but for God’s will.”—1 Pet. 4:2.
Is that what you are doing? Are you living no longer simply to satisfy personal ambitions or desires, but to do God’s will? Are there ways in which you could share more fully in doing the will of God?
God’s Will for Us
Jehovah makes clear in his Word that his will for us today includes accomplishing a great work of Kingdom-preaching before the end of this system comes. (Matt. 24:14) Jesus Christ did a similar work. He said: “Also to other cities I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.”—Luke 4:43.
Jesus did not hold back, but was whole-souled in his service to God. When we read the historical accounts of his ministry in the Gospels, how impressed we are with his energy and zeal in doing the Kingdom-preaching! Jesus knew that he had only a short time, and he did not spare himself in finishing his assignment. Should we not today be imitating his example, especially since we have such a short time left now in which to complete the Kingdom-preaching?
Yes, the end of this system is so very near! Is that not reason to increase our activity? In this regard we can learn something from a runner who puts on a final burst of speed near the finish of a race. Look at Jesus, who apparently stepped up his activity during his final days on earth. In fact, over 27 percent of the material in the Gospels is devoted to just the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry!—Matt. 21:1–27:50; Mark 11:1–15:37; Luke 19:29–23:46; John 11:55–19:30.
By carefully and prayerfully examining our own circumstances, we also may find that we can spend more time and energy in preaching during this final period before the present system ends. Many of our brothers and sisters are doing just that. This is evident from the rapidly increasing number of pioneers.
Yes, since the summer of 1973 there have been new peaks in pioneers every month. Now there are 20,394 regular and special pioneers in the United States, an all-time peak. That is 5,190 more than there were in February 1973! A 34-percent increase! Does that not warm our hearts? Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.—1 John 2:17.
Circumstances such as poor health or responsibilities in connection with your family may limit what you can do in the field ministry. And yet, the pioneer ranks include many who have health limitations, as well as some persons with families. But these brothers and sisters are able to regulate their lives so that they can care for their responsibilities and still put in the 1,200 hours a year, an average of 100 hours a month in the field ministry, required of pioneers.
Therefore, do not be too quick to dismiss the possibility that you, too, may be able to pioneer. Give it careful and prayerful consideration. Perhaps an analysis will reveal that your life is encumbered with needless weights that can be put off so that you can pioneer. Particularly may this be the case if you are single, or are married but have no children.—Heb. 12:1.
So, then, ask yourself: How am I using my life? Can I make adjustments that will enable me to pioneer? If I can, will failure to do so indicate to Jehovah that I am living to satisfy personal desires, rather than to do His will? Every one of us wants to be able to say, as did the apostle Paul, “Indeed, the life that I now live in flesh I live by the faith that is toward the Son of God, who loved me and handed himself over for me. I do not shove aside the undeserved kindness of God.” Gal. 2:20, 21.
Real blessings await those who can adjust their affairs to pioneer. First, there is a certain added contentment in sharing full time in the preaching work that God purposes all his servants now to do. Pioneering enlarges your opportunity to “save” yet scattered prospective members of the “great crowd.” (1 Tim. 4:16; Rev. 7:9, 14) Also, there may open up to you the privilege of being sent as a special pioneer into territory that is not often worked. And for those pioneering, there is the possibility of the opportunity of training at Gilead School and then going on to foreign missionary service.
So do not delay in giving serious consideration to this matter of how you are using your life. See if you can arrange your affairs to pioneer. Why not discuss the matter with persons already pioneering or with elders in your congregation?
As you probably are aware, to qualify as a regular pioneer you should have been baptized for at least six months, and have participated in the field service each month for the past six months. Also, it is vital that you have a reputation for fine Christian conduct.
A Need at Bethel
There is another opportunity of service that we would also like you to consider seriously. And that is Bethel service. Most of you know something about Bethel. It is where this Kingdom Ministry, as well as the literature that you use in Kingdom-preaching, is produced. At Bethel, both at Brooklyn and at Watchtower Farm, we are able to produce publications for your use at a very reasonable cost, which we are sure that you very much appreciate.
Perhaps, though, you have little idea of the amount of literature now required. For example, from September to February over 21,500,000 bound books and Bibles were made here at Bethel—over 200,000 on some days! And yet in these six months, orders for 33 million more books were received! So right now there are orders from throughout the world for over 35 million books and Bibles! The supplies of most of the branches are very low. And all of this despite the fact that for months now about 75 brothers have been running many of the bindery machines on an all-night shift.
But besides books, at Brooklyn and at Watchtower Farm we are also printing an average of more than 21 million magazines a month, about 900,000 every working day. These all have to be wrapped and mailed to people all over the world. About 1,000 persons are required to operate the factories. They work at proofreading, typesetting, plate-making, operating presses, making ink and glue, running bindery machines, and so forth. Hundreds of others raise the food, cook the meals, do the laundry, care for the homes, work in offices; others are building another factory for enlarged printing operations. All together, including the 76 Gilead and Kingdom Ministry School students, some 1,800 persons live and work at the Society’s headquarters. Over 400 of these persons work at the new facilities called Watchtower Farm located north of New York city.
As you can appreciate, the growth of the preaching work requires many workers at Bethel. Also, there is the continual need to replace those who each year find it necessary to leave. Thus, during 1973 some 360 new workers were called in to the headquarters staff. Presently we are increasing the night shift in the bindery, and to do this the many needed workers were called to Bethel, over one hundred single brothers. So you see why we wanted to bring to your attention the opportunity of Bethel service. We expect that between May and September one hundred more single young brothers will be called to Bethel service.
However, not everyone is able to work here. Most of the work here is physically hard—work for healthy young men. So at present, sisters or married couples are not being invited. But if you are a single brother between 18 and 35 years of age, in good health and baptized for more than one year, we encourage you to consider Bethel service. You may obtain an application by writing to the President’s Office, 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201.
A Service to Be Treasured
It is true, there is an inclination in the world today to look down upon and to shy away from physical labor. But the Bible does not take this view. In fact, the apostle Paul admonished a person: “Let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work, that he may have something to distribute to someone in need.”—Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11.
At Bethel we are probably in a better position to provide things for distribution to those in need than are any other people in the world. As a Bethelite of fourteen years said: “I really feel like I’m serving my brothers here. I feel like I’m constantly involved in giving, rather than being concerned with my own problems.” Such giving can bring genuine contentment and happiness, even as Jesus Christ himself said. (Acts 20:35) Would you like to serve Jehovah God and your Christian brothers wholeheartedly in this way?
Perhaps, though, you have reservations. Some who have been at Bethel may have told you that life here is routine and much of the work is monotonous. But do not many persons say the same thing about life and work wherever they are? Thus a brother who has served for thirty-eight years at Bethel noted: “Attitude has a lot to do with it. You have routine anywhere. I’d rather have routine among pleasant circumstances than unpleasant.” Another long-time Bethelite observed: “I appreciate the routine and the schedule.”
Actually a good routine helps you to get a lot done. And do we not want to do as much as we can to further the worldwide preaching work in the short time remaining? A brother, who has been at Bethel with his wife for eighteen years, explained his feelings: “We have pioneered and done circuit and district work, and I can say that you can do the greatest good with your waking hours here at Bethel. You are totally consumed. We realize it is not Utopia, but our biggest motivation is that we want to have the fullest share in getting the preaching work done.” Do you, too, strongly desire to have the fullest share in furthering the Kingdom-preaching? If so, Bethel may well be the place for you.
Yet, you may still wonder: Is not working long hours on certain factory jobs monotonous? It does not have to be. Monotony is largely a state of mind. If a person at Bethel keeps his mind focused on the fact that what he is doing is pleasing to Jehovah and is serving to spread the Kingdom message, then the work is truly satisfying. That is how hundreds of brothers who have served for many years at Bethel feel about it.
One might note certain similarities between Bethel service and the work done by those Levites privileged to serve long ago at Jehovah’s temple. Much of their work was hard and unglamorous, even what some might consider monotonous. Yet it was vital to Jehovah’s worship. It had to do with watchman duties, dining-room service, butchering animals and preparing food, and so forth—types of work similar to what is presently done by many here at Bethel. (1 Chron. 9:26-32) For example, there are some 35 full-time preparers of the food at Bethel, and about 30 waiters in the dining rooms. But what a privilege to do this kind of hard work at the center of Jehovah’s earthly organization!
When we consider what Jehovah has done for us through Jesus Christ, should we not be moved to do whatever we can to accomplish God’s will? As the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “For the love the Christ has compels us, because this is what we have judged, that one man died for all; so, then, all had died; and he died for all that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised up.” (2 Cor. 5:14, 15) Are you living no longer for yourself, but to do Jehovah’s will? If so, you will be eager to do whatever at the present time appears to be God’s will for you.
In this connection, it is important to have a proper view of God’s will for his people. Do not expect that God’s will for his servants is necessarily easy. Was it easy, for example, for Noah and his family to work day in and day out, year after year, building the ark for as long as presently would be called a lifetime? Was it easy for Nehemiah and his companions to complete the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls? Is it easy today to preach the good news in lands where the work is banned, thus risking imprisonment and perhaps death? And yet these activities have been, at various times, God’s will for his people. At all times Jehovah’s servants have found pleasure in doing God’s will, and so offer themselves willingly to do what needs to be done.—Ps. 110:3.
When a young brother volunteers for Bethel service, fine opportunities and grand blessings are opened up to him. The satisfaction of helping to produce literature that is assisting thousands of persons every week to dedicate their lives to Jehovah is only part of it. In addition, there is the privilege of associating with many older ones of the anointed class and hearing at the breakfast table their comments on the daily text. Also, reports are frequently heard by representatives of the Society when they return from traveling abroad. Missionary students, too, tell about the preaching work in their territories, and during their months at school Bethelites are able to visit with them and get acquainted.
Also, each member of the Bethel family attends the meetings and works in the field ministry with a local congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses, of which there are now 235 in New York city. This is a real joy, as a brother at Bethel for thirteen years observes: “The New York congregations are a spiritual paradise with great interest in the Kingdom. The people here see the urgency!” One Bethel sister noted: “I have helped as many people to find the truth since I have been at Bethel, five in fact, as I did when pioneering.”
Perhaps the greatest blessing, however, is living and working all day long only with persons who truly love Jehovah. This is what so many at Bethel especially treasure. As one member said: “Others visit Bethel for a day, and feel uplifted. We have that blessing every day.” If you qualify to come to Bethel, we feel that you, too, will find it a service to be treasured.
Encourage Others to Full-Time Service
Perhaps, though, you are not able to engage in the full-time service as a pioneer or at Bethel, because of having a family to support or due to old age and poor health. Why not, then, urge others, especially the younger ones, to seize hold of such special privileges? Help others to analyze their goals in life. Ask them what they are going to do when they graduate from school? Reason with them to see that the dying old world has nothing to offer. Help them to show Jehovah that they truly appreciate his undeserved kindness by volunteering to serve where his organization needs them the most, especially ‘in the days of their young manhood.’ Help those who now qualify for Bethel service to say, in effect, “Here I am! Send me,” by filling out and sending in their application. Eccl. 12:1; Isa. 6:8.
If you are an elder in the congregation, do not simply talk about these matters from the platform, but, as opportunity affords, talk to the young brothers personally. Parents, why not regularly keep the treasure of pioneering and Bethel service before your children? Many now at Bethel are so happy that they were encouraged in this direction. One Bethelite, who has served now for nearly two decades at Bethel, notes: “Often a group from Bethel would come out to my family’s farm and we would get together and tell experiences. They built in me an appreciation of Bethel. Even before I came I knew of the happinesses of Bethel life.”
Truly, using our lives in any way possible in Jehovah’s service brings a measure of happiness. We have so much to live for—an eternity of blessings while serving Jehovah. Surely we are all grateful for His making this possible by the sacrifice of His dear Son. Let us all, therefore, show our heartfelt appreciation by the way that we use our lives. Let us prove that we are no longer living for ourselves, but to do Jehovah’s will.