when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” (Matt. 13:44) Nothing we now might own or hope to obtain in the future could be compared in value to the kingdom of God and the blessings it will bring to those who live in it. Even though one might give his life for the Kingdom it would be profitable “for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:25) Christ can and will resurrect those from death who faithfully devote their time to his service.—John 5:28, 29.
Turning the Remaining Time to Profit
1. For the Kingdom what earthly opportunities did Jesus give up?
JESUS did not preach one thing and do another. His course of action was consistent with his words. Everything he had, Jesus gave up for the sake of the Kingdom, even to life itself. But he gave up a great deal before his life was given in sacrifice. First he gave up his heavenly existence as the Master Worker and Spokesman of the Creator. Then consider his earthly prospects. This brilliant young man (indeed his mind was perfect) might have devoted his time to advancing science, to lengthening the life span of the people through medical and social researches; he might have built up great cities with model housing or huge commercial organizations. With his perfect body he might have devoted his time to physical feats wherein he could certainly have excelled, a huntsman without a peer, an artist with unsurpassed skill; yes, whatever he had set his mind to he could undoubtedly have been the best. He was the only perfect man on earth. But Jesus turned his back upon all these things, and his decision hinged around what he, with perfect perception, considered to be the most profitable use of time.
2. Why is especially Jesus an example to us of redeeming time?
2 What Jesus chose to do himself was the same that he directed his followers to do. He preached. Yes, he preached about the kingdom of God; by the seashore, in the wilderness, on the mountains, in the temple, on the streets and in the homes of the people, at every opportunity he magnified the name and purpose of his Father. Because of having chosen this course he knew that his days were numbered, but he redeemed the time, bought up every opportunity, profitably used the time that remained for him. Seeing, then, that Jesus, who had such great potentialities in every field of human endeavor, chose to devote his time to the ministry of God, does it not follow that our prime objective should be the same? Most assuredly! Jesus instructed any who sought his favor to ‘take up his torture stake daily and follow me’. (Luke 9:23) Daily service, yes, full-time service should be the goal of every servant of God.
3. Of what devoting of time does God approve? But what is ideal?
3 It is true that not all will be able to attain to this goal. Jesus was a single man; he had no obligations to family, no encumbrances. God knows the circumstances of each one of his servants and he is pleased with the service of each one, no matter how small that service might be, if the servants give all they can. Jesus showed that this is true when he called the attention of his disciples to God’s approval of the widow who gave all she had even though it was a very small amount. (Mark 12:41-44) This does not detract from but supports the truth, however, that full-time service to God is the ideal situation for any Christian. Each one, then, can profitably use a little of his time to consider thoughtfully and prayerfully his circumstances to determine whether or not there is the possibility of full-time service for him.
4. By what constant attitude do we not let opportunities slip by?
4 For the full-time worker or the part-time workers who make up the majority of those now preaching about Jehovah’s kingdom, the Scriptural requirements are the same. God is no respecter of persons. All do not have the same opportunities, but all can buy up their opportunities, ever alert for an opening to enlighten another. Not only during time set aside specifically for preaching, but throughout the day’s activities occasions will arise to present or defend the truth. Peter counsels concerning such: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that you have. But do so gently and respectfully.” (1 Pet. 3:15, An Amer. Trans.) Is not this constant readiness the only way to be sure not to let opportunities slip by, to be certain that every moment is put to profitable use? Great joy is frequently derived from speaking about the truth to a person you might have been prone to let go without including it in your conversation. “Happy are they who hold to what is right, who do their duty at all times!”—Ps. 106:3, Moffatt.
5. Why is it not right, when not preaching, to indulge oneself?
5 To “hold to what is right” does not restrict itself to mean that the Christian should preach at every opportunity and then feel free to spend other time carelessly. Paul counsels with respect to this, saying: “I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.” And again, he says: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 9:27, A.S.V.; 1Co 10:12) It is not how time has been spent in the past that marks one as a profitable or unprofitable servant, but how he is spending it now and in the future. One cannot mix service of God with careless living. The Devil is