Young Men, Can You Accept This Special Privilege of Service?
“You have your company of young men just like dewdrops.” (Ps. 110:3) These prophetic words show that Jehovah would have an army of willing young men to do a specific work at a particular period of time. The first part of the verse identifies that time as NOW, the time when Jehovah would display his “military force.” And what is the work of a “dewdrop”? Just as Jehovah provided literal dewdrops for the refreshment and life of vegetation, so he has provided symbolic dewdrops to serve for the refreshment and life of those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
And as dewdrops are many, so today are the number of people who are offering themselves willingly. Yes, in just the last 10 years the number of those preaching the good news of God’s kingdom has almost doubled to over 2,000,000. And thousands more each month are dedicating their lives to Jehovah. This makes us very happy. But who will work to provide the Bible literature that is so important to sustaining us all spiritually, and to furnish us the millions of Bibles, books, magazines and tracts that are so valuable in carrying on our Kingdom preaching? There is now a need for such workers. Can you offer yourself for this special privilege of service?
THE NEED IS GREAT!
Brooklyn Bethel is the world headquarters of Jehovah’s people. Here a large contingent of young men print and ship the publications so needed by sheeplike persons around the world. While a few sisters work in the Bethel home and offices, most of the jobs require strong, young men. So we are not encouraging sisters to apply at this time. But the need for young, single men continues to increase. We encourage such ones to ask themselves, ‘How do I feel about serving in such a unique manner, providing literature in many languages for use around the world in the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work? Do I want to have the fullest possible share in this life-saving ministry by providing the needed Bibles, books and magazines? Am I, as a young dedicated brother, included among those described by the psalmist when he said: “Your people will offer themselves willingly on the day of your military force”?’—Ps. 110:3.
Presently at Watchtower Farms and Brooklyn Bethel there are 2,400 serving as a result of willingly volunteering themselves for this facet of Kingdom service. Like Isaiah they have said: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isa. 6:8) Isaiah, already one of Jehovah’s witnesses, was not asking to be assigned to be a servant of God, but was volunteering for an additional privilege of service. This was not to his advantage from a physical standpoint, nor would it be a comfortable assignment. No, it would mean sacrificing some personal advantages and comforts. Today many at Bethel serve under similar circumstances. They leave mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends. They say “Goodbye” to homes and comfortable surroundings. These sacrifices are willingly made for the “sake of the good news.” (Mark 10:29, 30) But in turn, what spiritual blessings and advantages they enjoy at the ‘house of God’! When one’s sacrifices are pleasing to God he promises to ‘open the floodgates of the heavens and empty out a blessing until there is no more want.’ (Mal. 3:10) Those serving at Bethel can verify the truthfulness of that promise.
What is life like at Bethel? It is a wholesome and satisfying life. Some describe it as exciting. “When you are here at the hub of the worldwide activity there is never a dull moment,” is the way one brother put it. We continue to have representatives from the Society’s branches around the world coming to Bethel to attend the five-week Gilead Branch School course, and what a pleasure it is to hear their reports on the Kingdom activities in their countries. There is indeed an atmosphere for spiritual growth at Bethel.
For example, Monday through Saturday mornings the day begins with a discussion of the Bible presided over by one of the governing body. Have not many brothers traveled miles to hear these brothers speak on various occasions? At Bethel each morning such ones encourage us with their remarks on a Scriptural text. During weeks that the Gilead Branch School is in session, the branch representatives give their reports at the breakfast table for all to hear.
As an introduction to Bethel, some members of the governing body, and other mature brothers of the headquarters staff, give lectures dealing with various facets of Bethel life. Sometime during the first year you will likely attend a fine weekly Bible school designed to broaden your understanding of the Scriptures. New entrants also enjoy a special program of Bible reading, completing the entire Bible during the first year at Bethel. Those who have been through this course enjoy another arrangement for their spiritual edification, the Bethel family Watchtower study. For this Monday night study, the Bethel family is divided up into various groups and elders at Bethel share in conducting it.
In addition to the activities at Bethel, everyone is assigned to a congregation. Here we experience firsthand the benefits of our work at Bethel. It helps to keep us spiritually alert. By sharing with a congregation in the preaching work and attending meetings, members of the Bethel family have developed strong ties with these brothers and sisters in the local congregations. There are over 25,000 Witnesses in the New York City congregations with which Bethel family members serve.—Mark 10:29, 30.
Most of the time and effort of the members of the Bethel family are spent doing that for which they volunteered. And this is to use their physical and mental resources in whatever assignment they are given here at Bethel. There is a great variety of things that need to be done. Some members operate printing presses or work in the bindery making books, while others cook, do laundry work, cleaning, farming, construction work, and so forth. Some have the responsibility of caring for the equipment in these departments. All of these work assignments involve enjoyable challenges.
But life at Bethel is not all work, meetings, service and study. The family enjoys periods of relaxation at times as well. There is a variety of talent among those serving at Bethel, and so an occasional “Family Night” program of entertainment is appreciated by the entire family. There are opportunities for wholesome and upbuilding social visits with others. Some limited recreational facilities are provided. There are a number of libraries in the home where reading and research are done by brothers and sisters. And not to be forgotten are the pleasant conversations around the dining tables at mealtimes.
How do the brothers serving at Bethel feel about their privilege? One who has served here for several years says: “The work at Bethel is hard, but it is satisfying because it is accomplishing something worthwhile. Many people in the world have jobs but they seem to just work from day to day not knowing what is ahead, or what they want out of life. Before I came to Bethel, these few years would have seemed like such a long time, but now the time has gone by very rapidly as a result of seeing the good that my work results in to others.” He was 20 years old when he came to Bethel. Now, in addition to his Bethel privileges, he has been appointed as an elder in a congregation and is helping other young people to have this same spirit of willingness.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO QUALIFY?
Bethel is a place where mature Christian men work to perform a service for fellow Christians throughout the world. It is not a place for boys or those with serious spiritual deficiencies. It is not a “finishing school” for adolescents. Much like the young man Timothy who served with “an apostle of Christ Jesus,” so with any who are to serve at Bethel. (1 Tim. 1:1) They should have a good standing with the congregation.
Acts 16:2 says of Timothy: “He was well reported on by the brothers in Lystra and Iconium.” Even though he was young he also had an interest in the Scriptures and was well rooted in the truth. (2 Tim. 3:14, 15) So evident was his spirit of self-sacrifice and willingness to put the interests of the Kingdom ahead of his own that Paul could say of him in Philippians 2:20-22: “I have no one else of a disposition like his who will genuinely care for the things pertaining to you. For all the others are seeking their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know the proof he gave of himself, that like a child with a father he slaved with me in furtherance of the good news.”
A number of brothers have written or telephoned asking if they should prepare themselves for Bethel service by taking up special courses in study after high school such as in the data processing field or in other trades. Of course, one’s education is a personal matter on which he would have to decide. But to prepare oneself for Bethel service, a brother would want to gain experience in spiritual activities such as the auxiliary pioneer service or regular pioneer service. Thus for any young man to qualify for Bethel service and to truly have the spirit of Timothy would mean that there would be a need for him to center his life around the Kingdom before he comes to Bethel.
One who is at Bethel is not automatically protected from the spirit of the world. Through study of the Bible, regularity in the field service and association with mature ones in the congregation, one can grow spiritually and prepare for more responsibility. So there is the need for all to follow the counsel that the apostle Paul gave to the Colossian congregation: “Therefore, as you have accepted Christ Jesus the Lord, go on walking in union with him, rooted and being built up in him and being stabilized in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with faith in thanksgiving.” (Col. 2:6, 7) These are the kind of spiritual men needed at Bethel.
Due to the nature of the work, one who is to serve at Bethel must also be in good health and physically strong. Also applicants for Bethel service in the United States should be either citizens of the United States or should have legal permanent residency in this country.
Are you in a position to say, “Here I am! Send me”? If you are, and if you are a single brother 19 years of age or older, in good health and strong, willing and able to work hard, and are baptized for at least one year, then we encourage you to apply for Bethel. Write to the Watchtower Society, Attention: Personnel Committee, 124 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201, asking for a Bethel application, or obtain an application form from your circuit overseer.
WHAT CAN ELDERS AND PARENTS DO?
In addition to being wholesome examples and associates for all in the congregation, it would be the proper course for elders to especially encourage young men in their effort to expand their service to Jehovah. While Timothy no doubt exerted a very wholesome influence on the other young ones in the congregations of Lystra and Iconium, the elders did not hold him back from serving alongside the apostle Paul, feeling that he would be too great a loss to their congregation.—1 Tim. 4:14.
On the other hand, it would be a serious mistake for the elders to recommend for Bethel service a young man who does not truly qualify. Presently there are applications on hand of those who desire to serve at Bethel. However, not all are qualified and so not all can be accepted. At times it is quite apparent that the elders should not have recommended certain ones for Bethel at the time they did. This results in a difficult experience for the individual involved. In the past some have even had to be sent home.
The better course is for the elders to help one to make the needed adjustments to qualify for Bethel. Perhaps giving him some assignment such as cleaning the Kingdom Hall or taking care of other tasks will help in this regard. Then if there are evident shortcomings either in the spirit displayed, or in his work habits, proper counsel and assistance may be given to help him to develop into a responsible, dependable brother. Of course, if the counsel is not received in a positive way, there would be no reason to believe that sending him to Bethel would help. Thus, while elders should encourage young brothers to serve at Bethel, it is important for them to stress the qualifications required for such service.
Parents especially should have a positive influence for good on their children. One young brother who has been serving at Bethel for a few years states that he can remember his parents encouraging him toward full-time service from infancy. So when he turned 19 it was just his natural desire to reach out for Bethel service.
There are many other examples showing the wholesome impact that the parents have on their children. The parents of Moses, Jochebed and Amram, give us a sterling example of this. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and claimed him for herself, but Moses’ own mother was asked to nurse him. Thus the child was taught the principles of true worship by his Hebrew parents. (Ex. 2:9, 10) Did not this early training help to qualify Moses for his very heavy responsibilities later? Hannah, Samuel’s mother, was also one who, by her course of conduct, ingrained the spirit of willing service in her son. Not only did she give him up to serve at the tabernacle as a boy, but as the years passed, she supported his efforts at full-time service. (1 Sam. 2:18, 19) The result was that Samuel became “more likable both from Jehovah’s standpoint and from that of men.” (1 Sam. 2:26) How rewarding it must have been for these parents to see their sons receive special privileges of service from Jehovah! Many parents are enjoying that same feeling today.
EACH ONE CAN HAVE A SHARE
What can each of us do, regardless of where we are serving Jehovah? We all need to be whole-souled in our service, putting Kingdom interests first in our lives. (Col. 3:23; Matt. 6:33) And we can also encourage those who are serving at Bethel to continue to render sacred service there. In addition, encourage young brothers who do qualify to reach out for this special privilege of service.
At times there is a tendency to think of others when matters of this nature are discussed, or to think that this does not involve me. But when we think of what our Father has done for us by means of his Son we should be moved to do whatever we can individually to accomplish God’s will. As the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15: “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.”
When we think of that, it behooves each one to ask himself: “Am I living no longer for myself but to do Jehovah’s will?” You will be eager to do whatever appears to be God’s will for you at the present time. You may send now for an application for Bethel service if you feel you can qualify for this unique privilege of service. Also, when you are at one of the district conventions this summer we encourage you to attend the Saturday afternoon meeting for those who are interested in Bethel service. At that time you can obtain a Bethel application.—Eph. 5:17.