Can You Do More to Honor Jehovah?
1 That is a vital question for all of us to consider. As faithful imitators of our Master, Jesus Christ, we honor our God today by making public declaration to his name. This is a responsibility that we must shoulder if we are to gain God’s favor. (Mark 13:10; Luke 4:18; Acts 4:20; Heb. 13:15) What an indescribable privilege—yes, honor—to carry this good news to the remaining scattered “sheep” who may yet become part of Jehovah’s universal fold!—John 10:16.
2 Can you and your children do more to honor Jehovah by increasing your activity in the ministry? In ever-increasing numbers worldwide, your brothers and sisters are entering the pioneer service. During the month of April 1992, a peak of 172,145 in the United States were in the special, regular, or auxiliary pioneer service. Have you personally given serious consideration to pioneering? Do you encourage your children to pursue a career in the full-time ministry?
3 Why not analyze your personal feelings toward pioneer service? Whenever the subject is mentioned, do you quickly conclude that your circumstances simply do not permit you to serve as a pioneer minister? It is true that pioneering is not possible for everyone. Scriptural responsibilities and other limitations prevent many from serving full-time. (1 Tim. 5:8) But have you recently given the matter prayerful thought? Have you discussed the subject as a family to see if at least one member can pioneer? The November 15, 1982, issue of The Watchtower made this thought-provoking statement on page 23: “Really, every Christian minister should prayerfully consider whether he can pioneer or not. A South African couple who have pioneered for fifteen years said: ‘Why are we pioneering? Could we ever justify it before Jehovah if we did not?’ Many who are not pioneers could well ask the related question: ‘Can I really justify before Jehovah the fact that I am not a pioneer?’”
4 Another Watchtower article on the subject made this pointed comment: “Each of us should be honest with himself. Do you say, ‘The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak’? But is the spirit really willing? Let us avoid using the weakness of the flesh as an excuse for the unwillingness of the spirit.”—w78 8/15 p. 23.
5 Parents Who Want Their Children to Succeed: Proverbs 15:20 assures us: “A wise son is the one that makes a father rejoice.” Godly parents unquestionably rejoice when their sons and daughters pursue a life of dedicated service to Jehovah. However, your children will not automatically choose the wise course. The allurement of this world is very powerful. Parents, your children’s values are largely shaped by your own. If you always speak positively about the benefits of full-time service, if you encourage your young ones to seek out the company of devoted pioneers, if you are truly convinced that the full-time ministry is the most honorable career your children could ever undertake, this positive attitude will undoubtedly have a great impact on your children. Help them to appreciate the value of making a good name with Jehovah rather than with men.
6 Young people, Proverbs 22:1 highlights the choice you have to make: “A name is to be chosen rather than abundant riches; favor is better than even silver and gold.” What kind of name will you make for yourself? Think of the men and women we read about in the Bible who made a name with God through dedicated service. There was Luke, the beloved physician, and Enoch, who walked with the true God. Samuel received the finest education possible, beginning his service at Jehovah’s temple at a tender age. Do you think these faithful servants ever regretted the choices they made? Why would they? All of them led happy, productive, and exciting lives. And they found lasting favor with Jehovah!—Ps. 110:3; 148:12, 13; Prov. 20:29a; 1 Tim. 4:8b.
7 When children make a success of life, their parents feel a sense of pride. Their investment in the training, disciplining, and educating of this “inheritance from Jehovah” is repaid many times over. (Ps. 127:3) What could make any parent prouder than a son or a daughter who does all he or she can to honor Jehovah? Many young people in modern times are following in the footsteps of Luke, Enoch, and Samuel, as one letter illustrates: “I am 16. I started regular pioneering . . . nine months after I was baptized, and I have been receiving blessings from Jehovah ever since. . . . Pioneering also helps you in school. Before, I would get teased about being a Witness by my classmates. Now, since I have to do a lot more personal study, I am able to ‘make a reply to the one that is taunting me.’”
8 Education to Equip One in the Ministry: At this point we might consider the question of secular education. This is an area where a balanced viewpoint is especially needed. The November 1, 1992, Watchtower featured the article “Education With a Purpose.” Under the subheading “Adequate Education,” this point was made: “Christians should be able to support themselves, even if they are full-time pioneer ministers. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12) . . . How much education does a young Christian need in order to respect these Bible principles and meet his Christian obligations? . . . What [wages] might be termed ‘adequate’ . . . for those who wish to be pioneer ministers of the good news? Such ones generally need part-time work to avoid putting ‘an expensive burden’ upon their brothers or their family.—1 Thessalonians 2:9.”
9 If supplementary education is deemed necessary by the prospective pioneer in order to help him to pursue full-time service, the November 1, 1992, Watchtower recommends: “A young Witness would do well, if at all possible, to take this while living at home, thus being able to maintain normal Christian study habits, meeting attendance, and preaching activity.”
10 From Africa comes the experience of a 22-year-old youth who had to go to trade school, though his heart was in the pioneer service. While at the trade school, he enrolled as an auxiliary pioneer. His peers made fun of him, saying he would surely fail his examinations. His answer to them always was: “Seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness.” Exercising self-discipline, he would rise very early each morning and do two hours’ preparation for classes and then share in the field service in the afternoon when classes were over. The whole school was stunned when this youth placed third in a special examination to select the best three students for a special sponsorship award. The student who came in second was an interested person with whom our pioneer brother studied the Bible at school. The student who placed first was another zealous Witness youth in the school.
11 Elders Do Their Part: Congregation elders, who are proud of the work the pioneers are doing, provide great encouragement for these zealous ministers. Elders are pleased to do this because they know that hardworking, productive pioneers are a blessing to any congregation. After spending a year or so in regular pioneer service, such ones become eligible for extra training in the Pioneer Service School. The course has proved to be an invaluable tool in improving the effectiveness of the pioneers. Although the pioneers are at the forefront of the work, they too need loving encouragement, and the elders should be alert to fill this need.—1 Pet. 5:1-3.
12 How can the elders give stimulus to the pioneer work? A good starting point would be to evaluate periodically who might be able to reach out for this privilege. Elders could approach individuals who seem to be in a favorable position to pioneer, including many who auxiliary pioneer on a regular basis, retired persons, housewives, and students. While no one should be made to feel under obligation to enroll, those who have the desire but who have hesitated may, with a little practical encouragement, realize that pioneering is within their reach.
13 In giving encouragement to those who wish to apply, elders should bear in mind that it is not necessary for the applicant to spend several months in auxiliary pioneer work before enrolling as a regular pioneer. (km 8/86 insert pars. 24-26) Of course, the elders will want to be reasonably sure that the applicant is in a position to meet the hour requirement.
14 After the application is reviewed by the Congregation Service Committee and carefully checked by the secretary to make sure all questions are answered, it should be promptly mailed to the Society.
15 The secretary should keep the elders informed of any problems the pioneers may be experiencing. This is especially important in congregations where there are many pioneers. In addition to the review of the pioneers’ activity at the end of the service year, as requested on the Congregation Analysis Report (S-10), the secretary should invite the service overseer to meet with him early in March to see who may be falling behind in meeting the hour requirement and be in need of personal attention. (See February 1993 Our Kingdom Ministry, Announcements.) If help is given without delay, the pioneer may be able to complete the service year successfully.
16 A large number of new pioneers are young in years and relatively new in the truth. Their willing spirit surely makes us rejoice! But these new ones still need training to develop skill in the house-to-house work, to make effective return visits, and to teach on Bible studies. If this training is not received, the new one may become discouraged after a year or so and eventually discontinue pioneer service because of not getting good results in the ministry. Alert elders may be able to detect minor problems or a slowing down in activity. If immediate attention is given and the pioneer is helped with his problem, he may enjoy many years of productive service.
17 Can You Fish in Distant Waters? Some of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen. At times, after a whole night of fishing, their nets were still empty. (John 21:3) In parts of this country where the ‘fishing for men’ has proceeded for years, some pioneers may conclude that there are few “fish” remaining in their congregation “waters.” (Matt. 4:19) In contrast, are we not thrilled to read reports coming from other lands where publishers and pioneers are conducting many Bible studies? The joy experienced by pioneers and missionaries in these lands is clearly evident. (w92 9/1 p. 20 par. 15) Thus, if some hardworking pioneers could be in a position to relocate to a country where there is a greater need, they should consider this with their branch office before making such a move.
18 Initially, some may have begun pioneering because they knew it was the right thing to do but wondered if they could make a success of it. They may have applied with some doubts and reservations. At the outset, their results in the field may have been minimal. In time, however, their skill increased, and there was evidence of Jehovah’s blessing on their work. Consequently, their joy and confidence grew. For some, pioneering has even proved to be a stepping-stone toward Bethel service, Gilead training and missionary work, the Ministerial Training School, and even traveling work.
19 It may not be possible for you to move to another land or to take advantage of Gilead training, but there are still opportunities to fish in other waters within this country if your present territory is not especially productive. Such a move may require an adjustment in your life-style, but the spiritual rewards will be very great indeed.—Matt. 6:19-21.
20 Or if your circumstances permit, you may be able to assist a nearby congregation in your own circuit. If you qualify, your circuit overseer will be happy to offer suggestions on congregations in the circuit that would benefit from another pioneer.
21 Some pioneers and publishers have been able to serve the needs in their own area while remaining right at home. They may know another language. Do you find within your territory that a sizable segment of the population speaks another language? Are there people who need to receive the Kingdom message from someone using sign language? Those knowing another language can be a great help in reaching all sorts of men with the Kingdom message. Although this can be a real challenge, it can also prove very rewarding.—1 Tim. 2:4; Titus 2:11.
22 If you are presently doing all you can to honor Jehovah, rejoice in your present privileges of service. If you feel you can do more, take the matter to Jehovah in prayer. Realistically analyze what changes your circumstances would permit you to make. Talk your plans over with an elder who has the pioneer spirit or with the circuit overseer. When you have made a prayerful, practical decision, follow through promptly, confident in Jehovah’s promise to honor those who honor him.—1 Sam. 2:30; Heb. 13:5, 6.