“You young men and young women, . . . praise the name of Jehovah.”—PSALM 148:12, 13.
1. What wonderful experiences are many young people enjoying?
WE LIVE in exciting times. As never before in history, millions from all nations are choosing to worship Jehovah. (Revelation 7:9, 10) Many young people are having thrilling experiences inviting others to “take life’s water free.” (Revelation 22:17) These young ones help people to study the Bible and to improve their lives. Some zealously accept the challenge of learning a new language and share the good news in foreign-language territories. (Psalm 110:3; Isaiah 52:7) What must you do to have a part in this satisfying work?
2. How does Timothy’s example show that Jehovah wants to give young people responsibilities? (See opening picture.)
2 You can make decisions now that will later open the door to further opportunities for serving Jehovah. For example, Timothy made good decisions while he was young, and by his late teens or early 20’s, he was already qualified to be a missionary. (Acts 16:1-3) It may have been only a few months later when Paul asked Timothy to go to the new congregation in Thessalonica where the brothers were violently persecuted. Paul was forced to leave there, but he trusted that Timothy would strengthen the brothers. (Acts 17:5-15; 1 Thessalonians 3:1, 2, 6) Imagine how excited Timothy must have been to be given that assignment!
YOUR MOST IMPORTANT DECISION
3. What is the most important decision you will make in life, and when should you make it?
3 The time to make important decisions is now, while you are young. What is the most important decision you will make? Your decision to serve Jehovah. When is the best time to make that decision? Jehovah tells you to remember him while you are young. (Ecclesiastes 12:1) The only way to remember Jehovah is to serve him with all your heart. (Deuteronomy 10:12) It is the most important decision you will ever make. It will affect the rest of your life.—Psalm 71:5.
The time to make important decisions is now, while you are young
4. What important decisions will affect how you serve God?
4 Of course, your choice to serve Jehovah is not the only choice that affects your future. You will also need to decide if you will get married, whom you will marry, and what job you will have. These are very important decisions, but you must first decide to serve Jehovah with all your heart. (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) Why? Because all these decisions are closely connected. What you decide about marriage and work will affect how you serve God. And your desire to serve God will affect the choices you make about marriage and work. (Compare Luke 14:16-20.) So decide what will be most important in your life.—Philippians 1:10.
Decide now what will take priority in your life
WHAT WILL YOU DO WHILE YOU ARE YOUNG?
5, 6. How does Yuichiro’s experience show us that making right decisions can open the door to further opportunities for serving Jehovah? (See also the article “What I Chose as a Child” in this issue.)
5 Decide to serve Jehovah, find out what he wants you to do, and then decide how you will live your life. A Japanese brother writes: “When I was 14, I was out preaching with a congregation elder who noticed that I was not enjoying the ministry. Gently, he said to me: ‘Go home, Yuichiro. Sit down at your desk and think carefully about what Jehovah has done for you.’ I did as he said. In fact, I continued thinking and praying for some days. Gradually, my attitude changed. Soon, I found that I enjoyed serving Jehovah. I enjoyed reading about missionaries, and I began to think about serving God more fully.”
6 Yuichiro started making good decisions. Because of this, he later was able to serve Jehovah in another country. He says: “For example, I chose to take a course in English. When I left school, I chose part-time work teaching English so that I could pioneer. When I was 20, I started learning Mongolian and I had a chance to visit a Mongolian group of publishers. Two years later, in 2007, I visited Mongolia. When I went out preaching with some of the pioneers and saw that many people were seeking the truth, I wanted to move there and help. I returned to Japan to make my plans. I have been pioneering in Mongolia since April 2008. Life is not easy here. But people are responding to the good news, and I am able to help them to draw close to Jehovah. I feel that what I chose is the very best way of life.”
7. What decisions must you make for yourself, and what can we learn from Moses?
7 You must make your own decisions about how you will use your life in serving Jehovah. (Joshua 24:15) We cannot tell you if you should marry or whom you should marry. We cannot tell you what work you should do. Will you get a job requiring only a little training? Some of you live in poor villages, and others live in wealthy cities. You have different personalities, skills, training, interests, and faith. In ancient times, the young people who served Jehovah also had different backgrounds. For example, Moses, who grew up in Egypt, was wealthy, but the other young Hebrews were slaves. (Exodus 1:13, 14; Acts 7:21, 22) Like you, they lived in very exciting times. (Exodus 19:4-6) But each one had to decide what he would do with his life. Moses made the right decision to do Jehovah’s will.—Read Hebrews 11:24-27.
8. Where can you find help to make good decisions?
8 Jehovah gives you advice to help you make right decisions. How does he do this? He teaches you Bible principles that you can use no matter what your circumstances are. (Psalm 32:8) If you are not sure how to apply these principles, you can ask your parents or the elders to help you. (Proverbs 1:8, 9) Let us look at three Bible principles that can help you make good decisions now.
THREE BIBLE PRINCIPLES TO HELP YOU
9. (a) How does Jehovah honor us by giving us the freedom to make decisions? (b) How will you benefit if you seek the Kingdom first?
9 Seek first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness. (Read Matthew 6:19-21, 24-26, 31-34.) Jehovah honors you by giving you the freedom to decide what you will do with your time. He does not tell you that you must spend all your time preaching. However, Jesus did teach us the importance of seeking the Kingdom first. When you seek the Kingdom first, many doors will be opened to you. For example, you will have many opportunities to show your love for Jehovah and your neighbors and to show that you are thankful for the hope of everlasting life. Will your decisions about marriage and work show that you worry more about your possessions than about “seeking first the Kingdom and his righteousness”?
10. What made Jesus happy, and what must you do to be happy?
10 Find happiness in serving others. (Read Acts 20:20, 21, 24, 35.) This is a basic principle of life. Jesus knew this, so he served his Father by doing His will and served others by teaching them the good news. This made him happy. (Luke 10:21; John 4:34) You probably have felt that same happiness when you serve others. So base your decisions on the principles that Jesus taught. Doing this will make you happy, and it will make Jehovah happy too.—Proverbs 27:11.
11. Why did Baruch lose his joy, and what counsel did Jehovah give him?
11 The greatest happiness comes from serving Jehovah. (Proverbs 16:20) It seems that Baruch, the secretary of Jeremiah, lost his joy at one point in his life. Baruch started to think more about what he wanted than about what Jehovah wanted. Jehovah saw this, so he told Baruch to stop “seeking great things” for himself. If he obeyed, he would survive the destruction of Jerusalem. (Jeremiah 45:3, 5) What would have made Baruch happier? Doing what he wanted and being destroyed, or doing what Jehovah wanted and surviving Jerusalem’s destruction?—James 1:12.
The greatest happiness comes from serving Jehovah
12. What decisions did Ramiro make that helped him to be happy?
12 One brother who found happiness in serving others is Ramiro. He says: “I come from a poor family living in a village in the Andes Mountains. So when my older brother offered to pay for my university education, it was a big opportunity. But I had recently been baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I had received another offer—a pioneer invited me to preach with him in a small town. I went there, learned how to cut hair, and opened a barbershop to support myself.” Many people in that town accepted Bible studies. Later, a new congregation was started in a local language. So Ramiro decided to join the congregation and has been serving there for ten years. He says that no other work could give him more joy than helping people learn the Bible in their own language.
13. Why is now a good time for you to serve Jehovah with all your heart?
13 Enjoy serving Jehovah. (Read Ecclesiastes 12:1.) Do not feel that you must first get a good job before you can start pioneering. The best time to start serving Jehovah with all your heart is now, before you have family responsibilities. You have the health and energy to tackle challenging assignments. What would you like to do for Jehovah? Maybe your goal is to pioneer, or maybe you want to preach to people in another language. Maybe you can do more in your own congregation. Whatever your goal is, you need to earn a living. Ask yourself: ‘What job will I choose, and how much training do I need for it?’
USING BIBLE PRINCIPLES TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS
14. What must you be careful of when looking for a job?
14 The three Bible principles we have talked about will guide you when you decide which jobs may be acceptable for you. Your school counselors or government agencies probably know what jobs are available in your area or in the area where you hope to serve. These people may be helpful, but be careful. People who do not love Jehovah may try to plant love for the world in your heart. (1 John 2:15-17) When you look at what the world offers, do not forget that your heart can easily mislead you.—Read Proverbs 14:15; Jeremiah 17:9.
15, 16. Who can give you wise advice about employment?
15 Once you know what jobs are available to you, you need practical advice. (Proverbs 1:5) Who can help you to evaluate your job options using Bible principles? Listen to people who love Jehovah, love you, and know you and your circumstances well. They will help you to be honest with yourself about what you can do and what you want to do. Maybe what they say will help you to rethink your goals. If your parents love Jehovah, they can be a great help to you. Also, the elders in your congregation will give you good advice. Ask pioneers and traveling overseers why they decided to serve Jehovah full-time. How did they get started? What did they do for work? What blessings have they received?—Proverbs 15:22.
16 Those who really know you well can give you wise advice. For example, what if you want to quit high school and start pioneering because you do not like the hard work that school requires? A person who loves you may clearly see why you want to quit school. So he can help you to understand that persevering in school will help you to learn not to give up easily. This quality is necessary if you want to serve Jehovah forever.—Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 6:6-10.
17. What kind of work should you avoid?
17 Everyone who serves Jehovah will face situations that can weaken his faith and draw him away from Jehovah. (1 Corinthians 15:33; Colossians 2:8) Some types of employment may be more dangerous to your faith than others. You probably have noticed that some have lost their faith after choosing a particular type of employment. (1 Timothy 1:19) It is wise to avoid any kind of work that could damage your friendship with Jehovah.—Proverbs 22:3.
ENJOY BEING A YOUNG CHRISTIAN
18, 19. If you do not yet want to pioneer, what can you do?
18 If you have a sincere desire to serve Jehovah, use the opportunities offered to you while you are young. Make the kind of decisions that will allow you to enjoy serving God in these exciting times.—Psalm 148:12, 13.
Make decisions that will allow you to enjoy serving Jehovah in these exciting times
19 What if you do not yet feel like serving Jehovah? Do not give up trying to build strong faith in Jehovah. Paul explained what he did to have Jehovah’s blessing. He said: “If you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above attitude to you. At any rate, to the extent we have made progress, let us go on walking orderly in this same course.” (Philippians 3:15, 16) Remember that Jehovah loves you. His advice is the best. Let him help you to make the best decisions now while you are young.