Youths—Jehovah Will Not Forget Your Work!
“God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name, in that you have ministered to the holy ones and continue ministering.”—HEBREWS 6:10.
1. How do the Bible books of Hebrews and Malachi show that Jehovah appreciates your service?
HAVE you ever performed a kind deed for a friend and then received no expression of thanks? It can hurt deeply when a generous act is taken for granted or, worse yet, completely forgotten. How different it is, though, when we render wholehearted service to Jehovah! The Bible says: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name, in that you have ministered to the holy ones and continue ministering.” (Hebrews 6:10) Think about what that means. Jehovah would actually consider it an act of unrighteousness on his part—a sin—if he were to forget what you have done and what you continue to do in his service. What an appreciative God!—Malachi 3:10.
2. What makes serving Jehovah truly special?
2 You have a special opportunity to worship and serve this grateful God. Since there are only about six million of your fellow believers compared with some six billion people worldwide, your privilege is a rare one indeed. Furthermore, the fact that you are listening and responding to the message of the good news is evidence that Jehovah takes a personal interest in you. After all, Jesus said: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” (John 6:44) Yes, Jehovah helps people individually to take advantage of the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice.
Appreciating Your Grand Privilege
3. How did the sons of Korah express appreciation for the privilege of serving Jehovah?
3 As discussed in the preceding article, you are in a unique position to make Jehovah’s heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) This is something that you should never take for granted. In one of their inspired psalms, the sons of Korah expressed their appreciation for the privilege of serving Jehovah. We read: “A day in your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere. I have chosen to stand at the threshold in the house of my God rather than to move around in the tents of wickedness.”—Psalm 84:10.
4. (a) What might make some view worship of Jehovah as restrictive? (b) In what way does Jehovah show himself eager to notice and reward his servants?
4 Is that the way you feel about your privilege to serve your heavenly Father? Admittedly, at times it may seem that worship of Jehovah restricts your freedom. It is true that living according to Bible principles requires a measure of self-sacrifice. Ultimately, though, whatever Jehovah asks of you is for your benefit. (Psalm 1:1-3) In addition, Jehovah sees your efforts and demonstrates his appreciation for your faithfulness. Indeed, Paul wrote that Jehovah “becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Jehovah is looking for opportunities to do this. A righteous prophet in ancient Israel stated: “As regards Jehovah, his eyes are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him.”—2 Chronicles 16:9.
5. (a) What is one of the finest ways you can show that your heart is complete toward Jehovah? (b) Why might talking to others about your faith seem difficult?
5 One of the finest ways you can show that your heart is complete toward Jehovah is to talk to others about him. Have you ever had the opportunity to speak to some of your schoolmates about your faith? At first, doing this may seem daunting, and the very idea might cause a bit of fear. ‘What if they laugh at me?’ you may ask. ‘What if they think that my religion is strange?’ Jesus acknowledged that not everyone would listen to the Kingdom message. (John 15:20) This does not mean, however, that you are doomed to a life of ridicule and rejection. On the contrary, many Witness youths have found a listening ear and have even commanded greater respect from their peers by standing up for their convictions.
“Jehovah Will Help You”
6, 7. (a) How was one 17-year-old girl able to witness to her classmates? (b) What have you learned from Jennifer’s experience?
6 But how can you summon the courage to speak up about your faith? Why not resolve to be honest and straightforward when people ask you about your religion? Consider the experience of 17-year-old Jennifer. “I was at lunch in school. The girls at my table happened to be discussing religion, and one of the girls asked me what religion I belonged to,” she says. Was Jennifer nervous about giving a reply? “Yes,” she acknowledges, “because I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I would get.” So what did Jennifer do? “I told the girls that I was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” she continues. “At first they seemed surprised. Apparently, they had the notion that Jehovah’s Witnesses were strange people. This prompted them to ask me questions, and I was able to clear up some misconceptions they had. Even after that day, some of the girls approached me from time to time with a question.”
7 Did Jennifer regret having taken the opportunity to speak up about her beliefs? Not at all! “I felt very good about it when the lunch period was over,” she says. “Now those girls have a better idea of who Jehovah’s Witnesses really are.” Jennifer’s advice now is simple: “If you find it hard to witness to classmates or teachers, say a quick prayer. Jehovah will help you. You will be glad that you made good use of your opportunity to give a witness.”—1 Peter 3:15.
8. (a) How did prayer help Nehemiah when he faced an unexpected situation? (b) What are some situations at school when you might need to offer a brief, silent prayer to Jehovah?
8 Note that Jennifer recommends ‘saying a quick prayer’ to Jehovah when an opportunity presents itself to give a witness about your faith. This is precisely what Nehemiah, cupbearer to Persian King Artaxerxes, did when he faced an unexpected situation. Nehemiah was visibly distressed because he had been informed about the plight of the Jews and had learned that the wall and gates of Jerusalem were in ruins. The king noticed that Nehemiah seemed anxious, so he asked Nehemiah what was wrong. Before answering, Nehemiah prayed for guidance. Then he boldly requested permission to return to Jerusalem and help rebuild the fallen city. Artaxerxes granted Nehemiah’s request. (Nehemiah 2:1-8) The lesson? If you feel nervous when an opportunity arises to give a witness concerning your faith, do not neglect your opportunity to offer a silent prayer. “Throw all your anxiety upon [Jehovah],” wrote Peter, “because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22.
“Ready to Make a Defense”
9. How was 13-year-old Leah able to place 23 copies of the Young People Ask book?
9 Consider another experience. Leah, aged 13, was reading the book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work * during her lunch break at school. “Others were watching me,” she says, “and soon a crowd was hovering over my shoulder. They began asking what the book was all about.” By the end of the day, four girls had asked Leah for a copy of the Young People Ask book. Soon these girls were sharing the book with others, and then they too wanted a copy. Over the next few weeks, Leah placed 23 copies of the Young People Ask book with her schoolmates and their friends. Was it easy for Leah to speak up when others initially inquired about the book she was reading? Hardly! “At first, I was nervous,” she admits. “However, I prayed, and I knew that Jehovah was with me.”
10, 11. How was a young Israelite girl able to help a Syrian army chief learn about Jehovah, and what changes did he thereafter make?
10 Leah’s experience may remind you of a similar situation that confronted a young Israelite girl who had been taken captive to Syria. Naaman, a Syrian army chief, was a leper. His wife might well have initiated the conversation that prompted this little girl to speak up about her faith. “If only my lord were before the prophet that is in Samaria!” she said. “In that case he would recover him from his leprosy.”—2 Kings 5:1-3.
11 As a result of this young girl’s boldness, Naaman came to know that “there is no God anywhere in the earth but in Israel.” He even resolved that he would “no more render up a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any other gods but to Jehovah.” (2 Kings 5:15, 17) Jehovah certainly blessed the courage of that little girl. He can and will do the same for young ones today. Leah found that to be true. In time, some of her schoolmates approached her and said that the Young People Ask book was helping them with their behavior. “I was glad,” Leah says, “because I knew that I was helping others to learn more about Jehovah and helping them to change their life.”
12. How can you be strengthened to make a defense of your faith?
12 You can have experiences similar to those of Jennifer and Leah. Follow the admonition of Peter, who wrote that as a Christian you should always be “ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Peter 3:15) How can you do that? Imitate the course of the first-century Christians who prayed to Jehovah that he would help them to preach “with all boldness.” (Acts 4:29) Then be courageous in talking to others about your beliefs. You may be surprised at the results. Moreover, you will make Jehovah’s heart rejoice.
Videos and Special Projects
13. What opportunities have some youths taken advantage of to give a witness? (See boxes on pages 20 and 21.)
13 Many youths have explained their faith to schoolmates or teachers by using videos. At times, school projects have also opened up opportunity to bring praise to Jehovah. For example, two 15-year-old boys, both Jehovah’s Witnesses, received an assignment as part of their world history class to write a report on one of the world’s religions. These two teamed up to write their report on Jehovah’s Witnesses, using the book Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom as their source. * They also had to present a five-minute oral report. Afterward, the teacher and students had so many questions that the boys were in front of the class for an additional 20 minutes. For several weeks thereafter, their classmates continued to ask questions about Jehovah’s Witnesses!
14, 15. (a) Why is fear of man a snare? (b) Why should you feel confident about sharing your beliefs with others?
14 As the foregoing experiences illustrate, great blessings can be experienced by telling others about your beliefs and convictions as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Do not let fear of man deprive you of the privilege and joy of helping others come to know Jehovah. The Bible states: “Trembling at men is what lays a snare, but he that is trusting in Jehovah will be protected.”—Proverbs 29:25.
15 Remember, as a Christian youth, you have something that your peers sorely need—the best way of life now and the promise of everlasting life for the future. (1 Timothy 4:8) Interestingly, in the United States—where you might think that people in general are apathetic or secular-minded—one poll revealed that fully half of the youths take religion very seriously, and a third say that religious faith is “the most important influence” in their life. The situation likely is similar in many other parts of the world. It may well be, then, that your peers at school would be glad to listen to what you have to say about the Bible.
As a Youth, Draw Close to Jehovah
16. What is involved in pleasing Jehovah besides talking to others about him?
16 Of course, making Jehovah’s heart glad involves more than simply talking about him. You also need to conform your conduct to his standards. The apostle John wrote: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3) You will find this to be true if you draw close to Jehovah. How can you do that?
17. How can you draw close to Jehovah?
17 Take time to read the Bible and Bible-based publications. The more you learn about Jehovah, the easier it will be to obey him and to talk to others about him. “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart,” said Jesus, “for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) So fill your heart with good things. Why not set goals in this regard? Perhaps you can improve as to preparing for congregation meetings this coming week. Your next goal could be to participate by offering a brief but heartfelt comment. Of course, it is vital that you also put into practice the things you learn.—Philippians 4:9.
18. Even if you suffer some opposition, of what can you be confident?
18 The blessings that come from serving Jehovah are long-lasting—indeed, everlasting. True, you occasionally may experience a degree of opposition or ridicule for being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But think of Moses. The Bible says that “he looked intently toward the payment of the reward.” (Hebrews 11:24-26) You too can be confident that Jehovah will reward you for the efforts you make to learn about him and talk about him. Indeed, he will never “forget your work and the love you showed for his name.”—Hebrews 6:10.
^ par. 9 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
^ par. 13 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Do You Recall?
• Why can you be sure that Jehovah values your service?
• What methods of witnessing at school have some found to be successful?
• How can you be strengthened to witness to classmates?
• How can you draw close to Jehovah?
[Box/Pictures on page 20]
Even the Very Young Praise Jehovah!
Even preteens have been able to give a witness at school. Consider these experiences.
Ten-year-old Amber’s fifth-grade class was reading a book on the Nazi assault on Jews during World War II. Amber decided to bring the video Purple Triangles to her teacher. The teacher was surprised to learn that Jehovah’s Witnesses were also persecuted under the Nazi regime. The teacher showed the video to the entire class.
At eight years of age, Alexa wrote a letter to her class explaining why she could not take part in their Christmas celebration. Her teacher was so impressed that she had Alexa read the letter out loud to her own class and to two other classes as well! “I have been taught to be respectful of others whose beliefs differ from mine,” she said toward the conclusion, “and I thank you for respecting my decision not to celebrate Christmas.”
Shortly after beginning first grade, Eric took My Book of Bible Stories to school and asked permission to show it to his classmates. “I have a better idea,” said his teacher. “Why don’t you read a story to the class?” Eric did so. Afterward, he invited all who wanted a copy of the book to raise their hand. Eighteen people—including the teacher—did so! Eric now feels that he has his own special witnessing territory.
Nine-year-old Whitney is grateful for the brochure Jehovah’s Witnesses and Education. * “My mom usually gives this brochure to my teachers every year,” she says, “but this year I did it myself. Thanks to that brochure, my teacher nominated me ‘student of the week.’”
^ par. 56 All the publications mentioned are produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
[Box/Pictures on page 21]
Situations Some Have Used to Speak About Their Faith
When assigned a school report or project, some have chosen a subject that allowed them to give a witness
A number of youths have given their teacher a video or a publication that relates to a subject being discussed in class
Some youths when reading the Bible or a Bible-based publication during recess have been approached by other youths who have asked questions
[Picture on page 18]
Experienced ones can help to train youths to serve Jehovah