“Make sure of the more important things.”—PHILIPPIANS 1:10.
1, 2. What prophecy about the last days must have made the disciples wonder, and why?
JESUS had recently told his disciples that the temple would be destroyed. His words worried Peter, James, John, and Andrew. (Mark 13:1-4) So when they were finally alone with Jesus, they asked him: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matthew 24:1-3) In his answer, Jesus told them not only about things that would happen before the destruction of Jerusalem but also about things that would happen in the last days of Satan’s world. Jesus foretold terrible things, such as wars, lack of food, and great wickedness. But Jesus also foretold something good. He said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:7-14.
2 The disciples had already been preaching the good news of the Kingdom along with Jesus. (Luke 8:1; 9:1, 2) And they may have remembered that Jesus said: “The harvest, indeed, is great, but the workers are few. Therefore beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2) But they must have wondered: ‘How will we preach “in all the inhabited earth” and give “a witness to all the nations”? Where will the workers come from?’ The disciples could never have imagined the amazing way in which these words at Matthew 24:14 would come true!
Ask yourself: ‘How am I doing? Am I putting God’s will first in my life?’
3. Why are Jesus’ words found at Luke 21:34 especially important for us today? What should we ask ourselves?
3 Jesus’ prophecy is coming true in our time. Millions are preaching the good news of the Kingdom in all the earth. (Isaiah 60:22) But Jesus also showed that it would be difficult for some to keep the preaching work first in their life. They would be too busy doing other things and would become “weighed down.” (Read Luke 21:34.) Jesus’ words are especially important for us today, because some of God’s people are not putting the most important things first. We see this when they make decisions about their job, higher education, or material things. Others are spending too much time on sports or entertainment. Some are not doing as much as they could in God’s service because of the worries of everyday life. Ask yourself: ‘How am I doing? Am I putting God’s will first in my life?’
4. (a) What did Paul pray about in connection with the Christians in Philippi? Why was this prayer needed? (b) What will we consider in this and the next article? How will these articles help us?
4 Christians in the first century had to work hard to keep God’s service first in their life. That is why the apostle Paul prayed that those in Philippi would “make sure of the more important things.” (Read Philippians 1:9-11.) Like the apostle Paul, most Christians were “showing all the more courage to speak the word of God fearlessly.” (Philippians 1:12-14) In a similar way, most of us today are courageously preaching God’s Word. Still, it will be encouraging for us to discuss in this article how Jehovah is using his organization today to make it possible for the words of Matthew 24:14 to come true. This will help us to have even more zeal in the preaching work. What is Jehovah’s organization doing, and how does this motivate us and our families? In the next article, we will consider what can help us to endure in God’s service and to follow the lead of Jehovah’s organization.
THE INVISIBLE PART OF JEHOVAH’S ORGANIZATION
5, 6. (a) Why did Jehovah give his servants visions of what is happening in heaven? (b) What did Ezekiel see in a vision?
5 There are many things that Jehovah chose not to include in the Bible. For example, he did not give us details about the human brain or the universe. Instead, Jehovah gave us information that we need so that we can understand his will and obey him. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) It is interesting that Jehovah chose to tell us about the invisible part of his organization. It is exciting for us to read this information in the Bible books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation! (Isaiah 6:1-4; Ezekiel 1:4-14, 22-24; Daniel 7:9-14; Revelation 4:1-11) Why has Jehovah allowed us to know about some of the things that are happening in heaven?
6 Jehovah wants us always to remember that we are part of a universal organization. The invisible part of Jehovah’s organization is working hard to do Jehovah’s will. For example, Ezekiel saw a vision of the invisible part of Jehovah’s organization represented by a huge chariot. This chariot was extremely fast and could change direction instantly. (Ezekiel 1:15-21) He also saw the Rider of the chariot. Ezekiel said: “I got to see something like the glow of electrum, like the appearance of fire all around.” He added: “It was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah.” (Ezekiel 1:25-28) Ezekiel must have been amazed by this vision. He saw that Jehovah is in full control of his organization and is using his holy spirit to direct it. The moving chariot in the vision is a wonderful illustration of how the invisible part of Jehovah’s organization works!
The invisible part of Jehovah’s organization is working hard to do Jehovah’s will
7. How does Daniel’s vision give us confidence?
7 Daniel too saw a vision that gives us confidence. He saw Jehovah, “the Ancient of Days,” sitting on a throne that had wheels. (Daniel 7:9) Jehovah wanted Daniel to see that His organization is moving, that is, working to do Jehovah’s will. Daniel then saw “someone like a son of man,” Jesus, receiving authority over the visible part of Jehovah’s organization. Jesus’ rule over mankind is not for just a few years. It is “an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.” (Daniel 7:13, 14) This vision moves us to trust in Jehovah and helps us to understand what he is doing. And because Jesus receives his authority from Jehovah, this vision also moves us to trust in Jesus as our Leader.
The example of Jehovah’s organization moves us to do more in God’s service
8. How did visions of Jehovah’s organization make Ezekiel and Isaiah feel? How should these visions make us feel?
8 How should these visions of Jehovah’s organization make us feel? Like Ezekiel, we are deeply impressed by what Jehovah is doing. (Ezekiel 1:28) The prophet Isaiah too saw a vision of what is happening in heaven. When he was invited to tell others about what Jehovah is doing, he immediately accepted the invitation. (Read Isaiah 6:5, 8.) Because he had Jehovah’s help, Isaiah knew that nothing could stop him from doing his work as a prophet. Like Isaiah, we are moved to support Jehovah’s organization by doing more in God’s service. It is so encouraging to know that we are part of an organization that is constantly busy doing Jehovah’s will!
THE VISIBLE PART OF JEHOVAH’S ORGANIZATION
9, 10. Why is there a need for a visible part of Jehovah’s organization?
9 Through his Son, Jehovah formed an earthly part of his organization that works together with the part that is in heaven. This was needed so that the work foretold at Matthew 24:14 could be done. Why? Consider three reasons.
10 First, Jesus said that his disciples would preach even in “the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Second, those who would do the preaching work would need Bible instruction and encouragement. (John 21:15-17) Third, they would need meetings where they could gather to worship Jehovah and to learn how to preach. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) For all of this to be done, Jesus’ disciples would need to be well-organized.
11. How can we support Jehovah’s organization?
11 How can we support Jehovah’s organization? One important way is by trusting the brothers who are taking the lead in the preaching work. Jehovah and Jesus trust these brothers, and so should we. These brothers could be using their time and energy trying to solve the problems in this world. But they are not doing that. Let us discuss what the focus of the visible part of the organization has always been.
THEY PUT “THE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS” FIRST
12, 13. How do elders care for their responsibility? Why is that encouraging to you?
12 Experienced elders around the world have been given the responsibility to organize and take the lead in the preaching work in the countries where they serve. When they make decisions, they look for direction from the Bible. In this way, they make the Bible ‘a lamp to their foot and a light to their roadway.’ They also pray for Jehovah’s guidance.—Psalm 119:105; Matthew 7:7, 8.
13 Just as elders in the first century did, elders who organize the preaching work today put “the ministry of the word” first. (Acts 6:4) It makes them very happy to see the progress of the preaching work in their own country and throughout the world. (Acts 21:19, 20) Instead of making many rules for God’s people, they focus on doing what is needed to spread the good news with the guidance of the Bible and of the holy spirit. (Read Acts 15:28.) In this way, these brothers set an excellent example for all in the local congregations.—Ephesians 4:11, 12.
Many more people are now able to learn about Jehovah in their own language
14, 15. (a) What is being done to help us preach throughout the earth? (b) How do you feel about what you are doing to support the preaching work?
14 Many of our brothers are working every day to prepare publications, meetings, and conventions. For example, thousands of volunteers work very hard to translate the publications into more than 600 languages. As a result, many people are able to learn “the magnificent things of God” in their own language. (Acts 2:7-11) Young brothers and sisters work hard at making the publications on printing and binding machines. These publications are then sent to congregations even in faraway places.
Can you simplify your life so that you can do more in the preaching work?
15 In our local area too, many are doing work that helps us focus on preaching the good news. For example, thousands volunteer to build new Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls. Others help those affected by natural disasters and medical emergencies. Some organize our assemblies and conventions, and others teach Bible schools. What is the purpose of all this work? It is done to help us preach the good news, progress in the truth, and help even more people to become worshippers of Jehovah. The visible part of Jehovah’s organization has certainly put the more important things first!
FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JEHOVAH’S ORGANIZATION
16. What could you research for family worship or personal study?
16 Do we sometimes take the time to think about what Jehovah’s organization has been doing? You could do research on the organization during your family worship or personal study and meditate on what you learn. For example, it would be exciting to study the visions given to Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and John. The book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom and other publications or DVDs also teach us many interesting things about God’s organization.
17, 18. (a) How has this article helped you? (b) What questions should you ask yourself?
17 It is good for us to meditate on how Jehovah is using his organization to support the preaching work. Together with this wonderful organization, let us put the more important things first. We will feel as Paul did, who wrote: “Since we have this ministry according to the mercy that was shown us, we do not give up.” (2 Corinthians 4:1) He also encouraged his brothers: “Let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due season we shall reap if we do not tire out.”—Galatians 6:9.
18 Do you or your family need to make some changes so that you can put the more important things first in your everyday life? Can you simplify your life so that you can do more in the preaching work? In the next article, we will consider five things that will help us to follow the example of Jehovah’s organization and keep our zeal in God’s service.