These are the ones who . . . bear fruit with endurance.—Luke 8:15.
If you have ever felt discouraged when preaching in less responsive territories, you will relate to the apostle Paul. During his approximately 30-year-long ministry, he helped numerous individuals to become disciples of Christ. (Acts 14:21; 2 Cor. 3:2, 3) Still, he did not succeed in moving many Jews to become true worshippers. On the contrary, most rebuffed Paul, and some even persecuted him. (Acts 14:19; 17:1, 4, 5, 13) How did that adverse reaction from the Jews affect Paul? He freely admitted: “I am telling the truth in Christ . . . I have great grief and unceasing pain in my heart.” (Rom. 9:1-3) Why did Paul experience such feelings? His heart was in the preaching work. He preached to the Jews out of deep concern for them. So it pained Paul to see them reject God’s mercy. Like Paul, we preach to people out of heartfelt concern.—Matt. 22:39; 1 Cor. 11:1. w18.05 13 ¶4-5
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.—Prov. 12:25.
Paul showed that even one who has the responsibility of encouraging others needs to be built up himself. To Christians living in Rome, he wrote: “I am longing to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you for you to be made firm; or, rather, that we may have an interchange of encouragement by one another’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Rom. 1:11, 12) Yes, Paul, who gave outstanding encouragement to others, at times needed to be built up himself. (Rom. 15:30-32) Those who live a life of self-sacrifice should be commended. Brothers and sisters who remain single because they want to obey the admonition to marry “only in the Lord” make up another group that merits encouragement. (1 Cor. 7:39) Also, Christians who remain faithful through persecution or illness need to hear encouragement.—2 Thess. 1:3-5. w18.04 21 ¶3-5
Keep perceiving what the will of Jehovah is.—Eph. 5:17.
We are living in “critical times” that are “hard to deal with,” and life is going to become even more difficult before a new day dawns and true peace is restored to this earth. (2 Tim. 3:1) So we do well to ask ourselves, ‘Where am I looking for help and direction?’ Centuries ago, a psalmist acknowledged the need for us to raise our eyes to Jehovah for help in times of need. (Ps. 123:1-4) He compared our looking to Jehovah with the way a servant looks to his master. What did the psalmist mean by that? Well, not only does a servant look to his master for food and protection but the servant needs constantly to watch his master to discern his wishes and then to carry them out. In a similar way, we daily need to search God’s Word to ascertain what Jehovah’s will is for us personally and then to follow that direction. Only then can we be sure that Jehovah will show us favor in our time of need. w18.07 12 ¶1-2