You, though, keep your senses in all things, suffer evil, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry.”—2 Timothy 4:1-5.
5. Why is Paul’s counsel of special interest to us?
5 That fine counsel must have considerably benefited Timothy, but will we, too, benefit from it? We are living in “the last days” about which Paul wrote. Many people today have ‘a form of godly devotion but prove false to its power.’ (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Such ones are inclined to listen only to “teachers” who will tickle their ears. Yet, in addition to preaching the word in a congregational setting, true Christians have an obligation to preach to all publicly, seeking those who will respond to “the word.” So this counsel is relevant today to Christian witnesses of Jehovah.
How to Accomplish the Ministry Fully
6. (a) Why should we “preach the word”? (b) What benefits come from paying attention to how we perform our ministry?
6 The ministry has varied facets; there are many things for the minister to do. First, Paul mentioned, “preach the word.” This is the word that Jehovah has chosen to reveal to his servants. It is the word of truth about which Jesus spoke. Jehovah lets it be known what his message is for mankind at a given time, having his witnesses upon the earth to present his side of the issue. Jehovah’s way is to give the message of warning before he takes action. (2 Chronicles 36:15, 16; Isaiah 42:9; 43:12; Jonah 3:2-4) His message will result in good for those who listen to it; they can gain a place of safety. Those who do not give heed have to pay the consequences when Jehovah goes into action to execute his judgment. They must bear their own responsibility. (Acts 20:20, 21, 26, 27) Yet, the course of wisdom for a minister of God is: “Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching. Stay by these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”—1 Timothy 4:16.
7. Why is it an urgent work even if conditions seem unfavorable?
7 The preaching work is done under varying conditions, but it must go forward. “Be at it urgently in favorable season, in troublesome season,” Paul wrote. The message can mean life for people. Therefore, in whatever circumstances the faithful minister finds himself, he views the message as urgent and finds ways to let the word be heard, even if some opposition to the preaching work arises. We can see this clearly by the example of Jesus and the record in the Bible book of Acts.
8. (a) What can help the minister to preach the word? (b) Why may reproving be part of the ministry?
8 In order to preach the word, whether inside or outside the congregation, the minister must be familiar with the Word of God, being a student of it. He must give time to study, reflection and meditation, seeking to understand it well. The preaching must be on the basis of familiarity with the teachings of truth. Paul told Titus that the overseer must be “holding firmly to the faithful word as respects his art of teaching, that he may be able both to exhort by the teaching that is healthful and to reprove those who contradict.” (Titus 1:9) God’s Word serves as a means of giving reproof to those out of line with what Jehovah requires, correcting the offender for his own good. This is all part of fully accomplishing the ministry.
It often is necessary to pass through some sort of persecution in fully accomplishing our ministry. It is a privilege to keep integrity under test and to make Jehovah’s heart glad. (Proverbs 27:11) A witness can result to Jehovah’s praise!
The Work of an Evangelizer
15. Why must evangelizing be shared in as we fully accomplish our ministry?
15 Evangelizing takes up a good part of the faithful Christian minister’s time. Jesus said: “In all the nations the good news has to be preached first.” (Mark 13:10) He made it clear that the end will not come until the good news has been sufficiently preached. Paul was privileged to share the good news with many believers throughout the Roman Empire. This resulted in new congregations being formed and overseers being appointed. They, in turn, participated with their Christian brothers and sisters in the evangelizing work and so extended the preaching work far and wide. Much of the work is done as Paul described it, ‘teaching publicly and from house to house.’ (Acts 20:20) There were good results then, and there are excellent results today when the Christian preaching is being done worldwide.—John 14:12.
16. What evidence shows that many are applying Paul’s counsel at 2 Timothy 4:5?
16 With faith, many are taking hold of opportunities to enlarge their activities in the evangelizing work. Thousands have entered the missionary field, and hundreds of thousands share in forms of the pioneer service. In 205 lands there are now more than 2,650,000 serving as evangelizers in over 46,000 congregations, and the numbers are increasing. These wonderful things are evidence that Jehovah’s dedicated servants take to heart the divine charge to them and “fully accomplish” their ministry.
Accomplishing the Work
17. What does Jehovah desire to see his servants do regarding the work assigned them today?
17 Jehovah has assigned his anointed ones to a ministry, and the “great crowd” work side by side with them. Prophetically, in Ezekiel chapter 9, the work is likened to putting a mark on the foreheads of those sighing and groaning. We know from that prophecy that the time will come when the man with the secretary’s inkhorn will say: “I have done just as you have commanded me.” Jehovah is pleased with his servants when they do as he commands them.—Ezekiel 9:4, 11; Genesis 6:22; 1 Corinthians 4:2.
18, 19. What are some ways you can now apply Paul’s exhortation at 2 Timothy 4:1-5?
18 As we watch world conditions developing in line with the prophecies concerning these last days, we cannot help but feel the urgency of the preaching work assigned to us. Lives are involved. The ingathering is taking place and Jehovah is speeding it up in its time. (Isaiah 60:22) Therefore, whatever your responsibility as a dedicated servant of Jehovah, work at it to please him fully. (Colossians 1:10; 3:23, 24) Keep in mind the work that you have been given to do and try to accomplish it fully. If you are looking after some duties at the Kingdom Hall, do the work thoroughly. If you are assigned to activities with a Congregation Book Study group, work closely with it and exhort and encourage one another. If you are a pioneer or a missionary, be sure to work hard to meet your service goals.—Romans 12:6-9.
19 You can also ask yourself, Can I be doing something more to help other Christians, especially new ones in the congregation, to be upbuilding to them? If part of your ministry is being an elder in the congregation, know the appearance of “the flock” and take good care of all those associated. Pay attention so that none will be inactive or unfruitful regarding the accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8) Above all, be alert to what you are doing in the evangelizing work to the end that you “fully accomplish your ministry.”