“Be courageous and strong and go to work. Do not be afraid or be terrified, for Jehovah . . . is with you.”—1 CHRONICLES 28:20.
1, 2. (a) What important assignment did Solomon receive? (b) Why was David concerned about Solomon?
SOLOMON received a special assignment. Jehovah chose him to oversee the building of the temple in Jerusalem, one of the most important construction projects of all time! The temple was going to be “exceedingly magnificent,” and it would be famous for its beauty. More important, it would be “the house of Jehovah the true God.”—1 Chronicles 22:1, 5, 9-11.
2 King David was confident that God would support Solomon. But Solomon was “young and inexperienced.” Would he have the courage to accept the assignment of building the temple? Or would his youth and inexperience prevent him from doing so? To succeed, Solomon would need to be courageous and go to work.
3. What could Solomon learn about courage from his father?
3 Solomon must have learned much about courage from his father, David. Even when David was very young, he fought wild animals that attacked his father’s sheep. (1 Samuel 17:34, 35) He also showed great courage when he fought a tough and fearsome soldier, the giant Goliath. Yes, with God’s help and a smooth stone, David defeated Goliath.—1 Samuel 17:45, 49, 50.
4. Why did Solomon need to be courageous?
4 We can understand why David was the right person to urge Solomon to be courageous and build the temple. (Read 1 Chronicles 28:20.) If Solomon did not show courage, fear could paralyze him, that is, prevent him from even starting the work. And that would be worse than failing at his assignment.
We need help from Jehovah to be courageous and do the work he gives us
5. Why do we need courage?
5 Like Solomon, we need help from Jehovah to be courageous and do the work that he gives us. So let us study the examples of some people who showed courage in the past. Then we can think about how we can show courage and accomplish our work.
EXAMPLES OF COURAGE
6. What impresses you about Joseph’s courage?
6 Joseph showed courage when Potiphar’s wife tempted him to commit sexual immorality. He must have known that his life could be in danger if he refused. But rather than give in, he showed courage and immediately rejected her.—Genesis 39:10, 12.
7. How did Rahab show courage? (See opening picture.)
7 Rahab is another example of courage. When Israelite spies went to her home in Jericho, she could have given in to fear and refused to help them. But because she trusted in Jehovah, she courageously hid the two men and helped them to escape safely. (Joshua 2:4, 5, 9, 12-16) Rahab believed that Jehovah is the true God, and she was confident that somehow he would give the land to the Israelites. She did not allow fear of others, including the king of Jericho and his men, to paralyze her. Instead, she acted courageously and saved herself and her family.—Joshua 6:22, 23.
8. How did Jesus’ courage affect the apostles?
8 Jesus’ faithful apostles also showed great courage. They had seen the courage that Jesus showed, and this helped them to imitate him. (Matthew 8:28-32; John 2:13-17; 18:3-5) When the Sadducees tried to stop them from teaching about Jesus, the apostles refused to do so.—Acts 5:17, 18, 27-29.
9. How does 2 Timothy 1:7 help us to understand where courage comes from?
9 Joseph, Rahab, Jesus, and the apostles were determined to do what was right. They showed courage, not because they were confident in their own abilities, but because they relied on Jehovah. At times when we need courage, we too must rely on Jehovah, not on ourselves. (Read 2 Timothy 1:7.) Let us consider two areas of life where we need courage: in our family and in the congregation.
SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE COURAGE
10. Why do young Christians need courage?
10 There are many situations where young Christians need to show courage to serve Jehovah. They can learn from and follow the example of Solomon, who showed courage when he made wise decisions to finish building the temple. Even though young ones can and should be guided by their parents, they have their own important decisions to make. (Proverbs 27:11) They need courage to make wise decisions about who their friends will be, what they will do for entertainment, how they will remain morally clean, and when they will get baptized. They need such courage because they are going against the will of Satan, the one who taunts God.
11, 12. (a) How did Moses show courage? (b) How can young ones imitate Moses’ example?
11 One important decision young ones must make is what goals they will set. In some countries, young ones are pressured to focus on higher education and to get a job that will pay them a lot of money. In other countries, the economic situation is difficult, and young ones may feel that their main focus must be working to help their families. If you are in either situation, think of Moses’ example. He was raised by the daughter of Pharaoh, so he could have set the goal of becoming very rich or important. Imagine the pressure he must have felt from his Egyptian family, teachers, and counselors! But Moses was courageous and chose to be with God’s people. After he left Egypt and its riches, he relied completely on Jehovah. (Hebrews 11:24-26) As a result, Jehovah blessed him greatly, and he will bless him even more in the future.
12 When young ones courageously set goals in Jehovah’s service and put Kingdom interests first in their lives, he will bless them. He will help them provide for the needs of their families. In the first century, the young man Timothy focused his life on serving God, and you can too.* (See footnote.)—Read Philippians 2:19-22.
13. How did courage help a young sister to achieve her goals?
13 A sister in Alabama, U.S.A., needed courage to set goals in God’s service. She writes: “Growing up, I was really shy. I could barely talk to people at the Kingdom Hall, much less knock on the doors of complete strangers.” With the help of her parents and others in the congregation, this young Christian achieved her goal of becoming a regular pioneer. She says: “Satan’s world promotes higher education, fame, money, and having a lot of material things as good goals.” But she also realized that most people can never achieve those goals and that they only bring stress and pain. She adds: “Serving Jehovah, though, has brought me the greatest happiness and sense of accomplishment.”
14. When do Christian parents need courage?
14 Christian parents also need courage. For example, your employer may regularly ask you to work overtime on days that you already set aside for family worship, field service, and congregation meetings. You need courage to say no to your employer and set the right example for your children. Or perhaps a few parents in the congregation allow their children to do things that you do not want your children to do. When those parents ask you for the reason, will you be courageous and explain it to them in a respectful way?
15 It takes courage to help our children set and achieve goals in God’s service. For example, some parents may be afraid to encourage their children to make pioneering their career, to serve where the need is greater, to serve at Bethel, or to help with the construction of Kingdom Halls and Assembly Halls. Perhaps they fear that their children will not be able to care for them when they are old. However, wise parents show courage and have faith that Jehovah will keep his promises. (Read Psalm 37:25; Hebrews 13:5.) Parents who show such courage and rely on Jehovah help their children to do the same.—1 Samuel 1:27, 28; 2 Timothy 3:14, 15.
16. How have some parents helped their children to set goals in God’s service, and how has this benefited their children?
16 A couple in the United States helped their children to focus on serving Jehovah. The husband says: “Before our children could walk and talk, we would speak to them about the joys of pioneering and serving the congregation. Now this is their goal.” He adds that because their children have set and achieved such goals, it has helped them to fight against the temptations of Satan’s system and to focus on serving Jehovah. A brother who has two children wrote: “Many parents expend much effort and resources helping their children reach goals in such areas as sports, recreation, and education. It makes so much more sense to expend effort and resources in helping our children reach goals that will help them to maintain a good standing with Jehovah. It has been a great source of satisfaction not only to see our children reach spiritual goals but to share the journey with them.” You can be sure that parents who help their children to set and achieve goals in God’s service have his approval.
COURAGE IN THE CONGREGATION
17. Give examples of courage in the Christian congregation.
17 We also need to show courage in the congregation. For example, elders need courage when they handle cases of serious sin or when they help those whose life is in danger because of a medical emergency. Some elders visit prisons to study with interested ones or to conduct meetings. And what about single sisters? They have many opportunities to show courage and serve Jehovah. They can pioneer, move to where the need is greater, work with the Local Design/Construction program, and apply for the School for Kingdom Evangelizers. Some are even invited to attend Gilead School.
18. How can older sisters show courage?
18 We love our older sisters, and we are grateful to have them in the congregation! Even though some may not be able to do as much as they once did in God’s service, they can still show courage and go to work. (Read Titus 2:3-5.) For example, an older sister needs to show courage if the elders ask her to talk to a younger sister about dressing modestly. She will not scold the sister about the clothes she wears, but in a kind way, she will help her to think about how her choices may affect others. (1 Timothy 2:9, 10) When older sisters show their love in such ways, they can strengthen the congregation.
19 Baptized brothers also need to be courageous and go to work. When they are willing to serve as ministerial servants and elders, the congregation greatly benefits. (1 Timothy 3:1) However, some may hesitate to do so. Perhaps a brother made mistakes in the past, and now he feels that he is not worthy of being a ministerial servant or an elder. Another brother may feel that he does not have the abilities needed to serve. If you feel that way, Jehovah can help you to become courageous. (Read Philippians 2:13; 4:13.) Remember the example of Moses. He too felt that he was not able to do what Jehovah asked him to do. (Exodus 3:11) But Jehovah helped him to become courageous and do what was necessary. How can a baptized brother find such courage? He can pray to Jehovah for help and read the Bible daily. He can meditate on the examples of Bible characters who showed courage. He can humbly ask the elders for training and offer to help in the congregation in any way that is needed. We urge all baptized brothers to be courageous and work hard for the congregation!
“JEHOVAH . . . IS WITH YOU”
20, 21. (a) Of what did David remind Solomon? (b) Of what can we be sure?
20 King David reminded Solomon that Jehovah would be with him until he finished building the temple. (1 Chronicles 28:20) Solomon surely meditated on these words, and he did not allow his youth and inexperience to prevent him from doing the work. Instead, he showed great courage and, with Jehovah’s help, completed the magnificent temple in seven and a half years.
21 Jehovah helped Solomon, and he can also help us to be courageous and accomplish our work, both in our family and in the congregation. (Isaiah 41:10, 13) If we show courage as we serve Jehovah, we can be sure that he will bless us now and in the future. Therefore, “be courageous . . . and go to work.”
You will find some suggestions on how to set goals in God’s service in the article “Use Spiritual Goals to Glorify Your Creator,” published in The Watchtower of July 15, 2004.