Be Zealous for What Is Good!
1 As we enter the 2003 Memorial season, we have abundant reasons to be “zealous for what is good.” (1 Pet. 3:13) Foremost among these is the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Matt. 20:28; John 3:16) Concerning this, the apostle Peter wrote: “It was not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, that you were delivered from your fruitless form of conduct. . . . But it was with precious blood, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, even Christ’s.” (1 Pet. 1:18, 19) Gratitude for this extraordinary expression of love compels us to busy ourselves in the doing of good, recognizing that Jesus “gave himself for us that he might deliver us from every sort of lawlessness and cleanse for himself a people peculiarly his own, zealous for fine works.”—Titus 2:14; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15.
2 When we do what is pleasing in God’s eyes, we enjoy a good relationship with him and come under his loving watchcare. Peter further stated: “He that would love life and see good days, . . . let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their supplication.” (1 Pet. 3:10-12) In these perilous times, what a blessing it is to know that Jehovah is keeping watch over us and is ready to act in our behalf, “to safeguard [us] as the pupil of his eye.”—Deut. 32:10; 2 Chron. 16:9.
3 Despite facing trials, the early Christians to whom Peter wrote were fired with zeal that could not be quenched, and they gave the good news the widest possible proclamation. (1 Pet. 1:6; 4:12) The same is true of God’s people today. Although we live in “critical times hard to deal with,” appreciation for Jehovah’s goodness moves us to do God’s will zealously. (2 Tim. 3:1; Ps. 145:7) Let us consider some of the good works with which we will busy ourselves during this Memorial season.
4 Invite Others to the Memorial: One way we can show our appreciation for the extraordinary gift of the ransom is to be present for the annual commemoration of Jesus’ death, which will be observed this year on Wednesday, April 16, after sundown. (Luke 22:19, 20) Last year, with 94,600 congregations reporting worldwide, we had a grand total attendance of 15,597,746! That was over 220,000 more than attended the year before.
5 How many will attend this year? Much will depend on our diligent efforts to encourage others to assemble with us. Start by making a list of all those you would like to invite. At the top of the list should be your immediate family. If you have an unbelieving mate, express your heartfelt desire that he or she attend with you. One unbelieving husband said that he attended the Memorial last year because he could see how much his presence meant to his wife. Next on your list could be relatives, neighbors, workmates, or schoolmates. Be certain to invite your Bible students.
6 After making your list, schedule time to extend a personal invitation to each one. Use the printed Memorial invitations. To help people remember when and where the observance will be held, type or neatly print the time and location of the Memorial at the bottom of the invitation. As April 16 draws near, give those on your list a reminder, either in person or by telephone. Let us help as many as possible to be present for this most sacred occasion.
7 Assist Those Who Attend the Memorial: The night of the Memorial is always an exciting occasion. We have the opportunity to welcome individuals who do not normally attend our meetings. Make arrangements to arrive early and stay late, as local circumstances allow. Take the initiative to get acquainted with the new ones in attendance. Be warm and hospitable.—Rom. 12:13.
8 Could some who attend the Memorial be helped to make greater spiritual progress through a home Bible study? Endeavor to obtain names and addresses of any visitors who are not currently being called on so that you can follow through. With loving assistance, some of these may progress to the point of qualifying as unbaptized publishers before next year’s Memorial. When making follow-up visits on Memorial attenders, extend an invitation to the special talk to be given on April 27.
9 Can You Auxiliary Pioneer This Spring? Each year our zeal for Jehovah moves us to exert ourselves fully in the ministry during the months of special theocratic activity. The unified efforts of an entire congregation to preach the good news zealously during the Memorial season can produce fine results.
10 One congregation of 107 publishers and 9 regular pioneers reported that they had a “phenomenal month” last April, with 53 serving as auxiliary pioneers, including all the elders and ministerial servants. How did the elders build enthusiasm for auxiliary pioneering that month? They started early, encouraging as many as possible to enroll. Meetings for field service were held at various times during the day to accommodate all in the congregation. Special emphasis was given to telephone witnessing, especially for the infirm.
11 One 86-year-old sister, who is unable to walk because of health problems, signed up to auxiliary pioneer. Starting in the morning, she would do a couple of hours of telephone witnessing while sitting at the kitchen table, rest for a few hours, and then come back and do some more. One person she contacted had lost her husband and two teenage sons in death during the past two years and could not understand why God permits such evil things to happen. A good witness was given, and a Bible study was started. Telephone witnessing in the evenings and at other times is an effective way to contact people who live in buildings or areas that are inaccessible. It also enables publishers to contact people who are not at home during the day.
12 The elders concluded their report by saying: “We had such a wonderful time and appreciate the privileges and blessings Jehovah has made possible for each of us.” With proper planning, your congregation too can enjoy such blessings.
13 Strive for 100-Percent Participation in the Ministry: Our love for God and neighbor moves us to buy out time each month to share the good news with others. (Matt. 22:37-39) Congregation Book Study overseers and their assistants should endeavor to assist those in their group to share in the ministry each month. A fine way to do this is by making arrangements in advance to work in the ministry with specific individuals in the group. Rather than waiting until the end of the month to do this, start early. This will give you more opportunities to provide loving assistance.
14 Are there infirm publishers in your book study group who have great difficulty sharing in the ministry? If some are in residential care facilities or are confined to their homes, it is understandable that their opportunities to witness will be limited. But by taking advantage of their limited opportunities to let their light shine, they may move those who see their fine works to take a real interest in the truth. (Matt. 5:16) Book study overseers should be sure that such ones know that they can report field service activity in increments of 15 minutes. Being able to report the time they spend witnessing encourages these faithful publishers, and it brings them joyful satisfaction. It also helps to ensure that the worldwide report of the activities of God’s people is accurate.
15 Youths Who Are Busy Doing What Is Good! How refreshing it is to see Christian youths use their strength and energy in the service of Jehovah! (Prov. 20:29) If you are young, how can you demonstrate your zeal for Jehovah during these special months of activity?
16 If you are not yet an unbaptized publisher in the congregation, can you reach out for that privilege? Ask yourself the following questions: ‘Do I have a basic knowledge of Bible truth? Do I want to share in Kingdom service? Am I exemplary in my conduct? Am I able to make a personal expression of my faith by speaking to others about the good news? Am I moved from my heart to do so?’ If you can answer yes to those questions, then speak to your parents about your desire to become a publisher. Your parents can approach one of the elders on the service committee.
17 If you are already a publisher of the good news, can you take advantage of time off from school to expand your share in the ministry? With a good schedule and assistance from parents and others, many baptized youths have been able to auxiliary pioneer. If that is not possible, then be determined to increase your share in the field ministry. Set a goal for yourself. In addition to an hour goal, set another goal related to the quality of your ministry. Perhaps you can strive to share a scripture at each door, improve the quality of your return visits, start a Bible study, or expand your ministry to include telephone witnessing or some other feature of the service. What about the goal of having a neighbor, schoolmate, or relative accompany you to the Memorial this year? Having a full share in theocratic activities will be rewarding and will surely encourage others in the congregation.—1 Thess. 5:11.
18 Help New Ones Progress: During the past service year, an average of over 463,000 home Bible studies were conducted each month in the United States. In time, many of these students will progress to the point of dedication and baptism. However, before they reach that goal, we need to help them to qualify as publishers of the good news. This is an important step in teaching new ones to be followers of Jesus Christ. (Matt. 9:9; Luke 6:40) Do you have a Bible student who is ready to take that step?
19 If you are unsure of your student’s progress, seek the assistance of your book study overseer or the service overseer. Perhaps you can invite him to sit in on the study. These brothers have valuable experience that can be drawn upon to evaluate the student’s spiritual progress. They may have suggestions that will help the student to continue growing spiritually.
20 When your student expresses an interest in becoming an unbaptized publisher and you feel that he qualifies, speak with the presiding overseer. He will arrange to have two elders meet with you and the student to consider whether he qualifies, using the information on pages 98-9 of the Our Ministry book. (See The Watchtower, November 15, 1988, page 17.) If the student is approved to be a publisher, you should begin his training right away. Once he turns in a field service report, the congregation will be informed that the student is an unbaptized publisher. It is our hope that thousands of new publishers, both young and old, can reach this important milestone during these special months of activity.
21 Planning Helps to Accomplish the Most Good: Advance planning will contribute to the success of our theocratic activities during this Memorial season. (Prov. 21:5) There are many matters that need attention on the part of the elders.
22 To help the congregation accomplish the most in the field ministry, elders should make practical arrangements to hold meetings for field service throughout the week and on the weekend. The service overseer should take the lead in making these arrangements. Could additional meetings be arranged for early morning, late afternoon, or early evening? The congregation should be informed of the arrangements. It may be helpful if the schedule is posted on the information board.
23 The elders should see to it that arrangements for the Memorial are in place well in advance of April 16. These include coordinating the use of the Kingdom Hall with other congregations that may meet there, cleaning the Kingdom Hall, selecting attendants and servers, and obtaining the emblems. The congregation should be informed of the time and location of the Memorial and of any adjustments in the meeting schedule for the week. Diligently caring for these things will allow the observance to “take place decently and by arrangement.”—1 Cor. 14:40.
24 Family heads may want to use part of their family study to discuss how the family can share in the increased activity during the Memorial season. Can your entire family auxiliary pioneer? Or could the family support one or more members in doing so? If that is not possible, set specific goals as a family to spend more time in the ministry. Is there a younger member of the family who, with a little encouragement and assistance, could qualify as an unbaptized publisher? How many can your family invite to the Memorial this year? Good planning will bring many blessings and joys to your family.
25 Take Full Advantage of Time Remaining: In writing to the first-century Christians, the apostle Peter reminded them of the urgency of the times because the end of the Jewish system of things had drawn close. (1 Pet. 4:7) Today all the evidence indicates that the end of the present global system of things is at hand. Day by day, our pattern of life should reflect that conviction. As zealous servants of Jehovah, we should be focused on the urgent work of declaring the good news.—Titus 2:13, 14.
26 Now is a time for zeal and action! Meditate on what Jehovah has done for you, your family, and the congregation. Although we can never repay him for the many ways he has benefited us, we can give Jehovah whole-souled worship. (Ps. 116:12-14) Our diligent efforts will be rewarded with blessings from on high. (Prov. 10:22) May we all be “zealous for what is good” during this special time of increased activity, “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”—1 Pet. 3:13; 4:11.
[Box on page 3]
Memorial Attendance Worldwide
[Box on page 4]
Who Will You Invite to the Memorial?
□ Immediate family and relatives
□ Neighbors and acquaintances
□ Workmates and schoolmates
□ Return visits and Bible students
[Box on page 5]
Assist Those Who Attend the Memorial
□ Extend a warm welcome
□ Make follow-up visits
□ Offer them a Bible study
□ Invite them to the special talk
[Box on page 6]
What Are Your Goals for the Memorial Season?
□ Have someone you invited attend the Memorial
□ Qualify as a publisher of the good news
□ Spend a certain number of hours in the ministry
□ Improve in a certain feature of the ministry
□ Serve as an auxiliary pioneer