Skip to content

Skip to table of contents


Imitate Jesus by Serving Others

Imitate Jesus by Serving Others

“There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”​—ACTS 20:35.

SONG 17 “I Want To”


1. What fine spirit do we see among Jehovah’s people?

LONG ago, the Bible foretold that God’s people would “offer themselves willingly” in Jehovah’s service under the direction of his Son. (Ps. 110:3) That prophecy is certainly being fulfilled today. Each year, Jehovah’s zealous servants devote hundreds of millions of hours to the preaching work. They do so voluntarily and at their own expense. They also take time to support their fellow believers physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Appointed brothers spend countless hours preparing meeting parts and shepherding fellow believers. What is the motivation behind all this work? It is love​—love for Jehovah and love for neighbor.​—Matt. 22:37-39.

2. As described at Romans 15:1-3, what example did Jesus set?

2 Jesus set an outstanding example in putting the interests of others ahead of his own. We are trying our best to follow his footsteps. (Read Romans 15:1-3.) Those who imitate him will reap benefits. Jesus said: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”​—Acts 20:35.

3. What will we consider in this article?

3 In this article, we will review some of the sacrifices that Jesus made to serve others and we will consider how we can imitate his example. We will also discuss how we can increase our desire to serve others.


Despite being tired, how did Jesus react when a crowd came to him? (See paragraph 4)

4. How did Jesus put the needs of others ahead of his own?

4Jesus gave of himself even when he was tired. Think of Jesus’ reaction when a multitude of people went to meet him on a mountainside, likely near Capernaum. Jesus had spent the whole night in prayer. He must have been very tired, but when he saw the crowds, his heart went out to the poor and the sick among them. He not only healed them but also delivered one of the most motivating public discourses of all time​—the Sermon on the Mount.​—Luke 6:12-20.

In what ways can we imitate Jesus’ self-sacrificing spirit in our life? (See paragraph 5)

5. How are family heads imitating Jesus’ self-sacrificing attitude when they are tired?

5How family heads are imitating Jesus. Imagine this scenario: At the end of a long day’s work, a family head arrives home exhausted. Although he is tempted to cancel the Family Worship session scheduled for that evening, he begs Jehovah for the strength to conduct the study. Jehovah answers his prayer, and the study is held as usual. The children learn an important lesson that evening, namely, that for their parents, spiritual things take priority over everything else.

6. Give an example of how Jesus sacrificed his personal time to help others.

6Jesus was generous with his personal time. Can you imagine how Jesus felt when he learned that his friend John the Baptizer had been beheaded? Jesus must have been deeply saddened. The Bible says: “At hearing [about the death of John], Jesus departed from there by boat into an isolated place to be alone.” (Matt. 14:10-13) We can understand why he wanted to be by himself. Many of us prefer to grieve in private. But for Jesus, that was not to be. A large crowd arrived at that isolated place before he did. How did Jesus react? He thought about the needs of the crowd, and he “was moved with pity” for them. He could see that they desperately needed spiritual refreshment, and he was quick to fill that need. In fact, “he started to teach them [not a few things, but] many things.”​—Mark 6:31-34; Luke 9:10, 11.

7-8. Give an example that shows how loving elders imitate Jesus when a need arises.

7How loving elders imitate Jesus. We deeply appreciate the work that our self-sacrificing elders do in our behalf! Much of that work is unseen by the congregation in general. For example, when there is a medical emergency, members of the Hospital Liaison Committee rush to the aid of their fellow believers. Often such emergencies arise in the middle of the night! But moved with compassion for their brother or sister in distress, those dear elders, along with their families, put the interests of their fellow believers ahead of their own.

8 Elders also share in the construction of Kingdom Halls and other facilities as well as in disaster relief. And much could be said about the countless hours elders in our own congregation spend on instructing, encouraging, and supporting us. All these brothers and their families deserve our sincere commendation. May Jehovah be with the spirit they show! Of course, like everyone else, elders need to be balanced. They should not spend so much time in such theocratic activities that the well-being of their family suffers.


9. According to Philippians 2:4, 5, what mental attitude should all Christians develop?

9 Read Philippians 2:4, 5. Granted, not all of us are elders, but all of us can learn to imitate Jesus’ self-sacrificing spirit. The Bible says that he “took a slave’s form.” (Phil. 2:7) Think of the significance of that statement. A valued slave, or servant, would look for opportunities to please his master. As a slave of Jehovah and a servant to your brothers, no doubt you desire to become even more useful to Jehovah and to your fellow believers. You can do so by considering the following suggestions.

10. What questions can we ask ourselves?

10Analyze your attitude. Ask yourself such questions as these: ‘How willing am I to make personal sacrifices to help others? For example, how do I respond if I am asked to visit an elderly brother in a nursing home or to take an older sister to the meetings? Am I quick to offer my help when there is a need for volunteers to clean a convention site or to maintain the Kingdom Hall?’ Jehovah is pleased when we unselfishly give of our time and resources​—all of which are dedicated to him—​to assist others. If we see the need to improve, what can we do?

11. How can prayer help us to cultivate a self-sacrificing spirit?

11Pray earnestly to Jehovah. Suppose you discern that you need to improve in some aspect, but you lack the motivation to make the necessary changes. In that case, turn to Jehovah in earnest prayer. Be honest. Tell Jehovah how you feel, and ask him to give you “both the desire and the power to act.”​—Phil. 2:13.

12. What need could a young, baptized brother fill?

12 If you are a young, baptized brother, ask Jehovah to help you cultivate the desire to be of greater service to the congregation. In some countries, there are more elders than there are ministerial servants, and many of those ministerial servants are middle-aged or older. As the organization keeps growing in size, we need more young brothers to help us look after Jehovah’s people. If you are willing to serve wherever you are needed, you will be happy. Why? Because you will please Jehovah, you will gain a good reputation, and you will have the satisfaction that comes from helping others.

Christians from Judea fled across the Jordan River to the city of Pella. Those who had reached the city earlier are distributing food supplies to fellow Christians who have just arrived (See paragraph 13)

13-14. What practical steps can we take to help our brothers and sisters? (See cover picture.)

13Be alert to the needs of others. The apostle Paul admonished the Hebrews: “Do not forget to do good and to share what you have with others, for God is well-pleased with such sacrifices.” (Heb. 13:16) That was practical advice! Not long after receiving this letter, Christians in Judea had to leave their homes, their businesses, and their unbelieving relatives and had to “begin fleeing to the mountains.” (Matt. 24:16) At that time, there was no doubt an urgent need for them to help one another. If prior to this they had been applying Paul’s advice to share what they had with one another, they would have found it easier to adapt to their new way of life.

14 Our brothers and sisters may not always let us know about their needs. For example, a sister falls asleep in death, leaving behind her grieving husband. Does our brother need help with meals, transportation, or household chores? He may not say anything for fear of imposing on us. But he may deeply appreciate it if we take the initiative and offer to provide the needed assistance. We should not assume that somehow everything will be taken care of or that the one who is in need will always let us know how we can help. Ask yourself, ‘If I were in such a situation, what help would I appreciate receiving?’

15. To be self-sacrificing, what must we be resolved to do?

15Be approachable. No doubt you know brothers and sisters in your congregation who are always ready to help others. They never make us feel that we are imposing on them. We know that we can count on them when a need arises, and we would love to be just like them! Alan, an elder in his 40’s, wants to be approachable. Reflecting on Jesus’ example, Alan says: “Jesus was busy, but people of all ages were drawn to him and felt comfortable asking him for help. They saw him as a man who really cared about them. I wholeheartedly want to reflect Jesus’ attitude and be known as someone who is approachable, warm, and caring.”

16. How can applying Psalm 119:59, 60 help us to follow Jesus’ example closely?

16 We should not be discouraged if we fail to imitate Jesus perfectly. (Jas. 3:2) A student artist cannot perfectly imitate the work of a master artist. But as the student learns from his mistakes and strives to follow the example of the master artist as closely as possible, he will keep improving. Similarly, if we act on what we have learned through personal Bible study, doing our best to correct any flaws we may have, we can successfully follow the model that Jesus left for us.​—Read Psalm 119:59, 60.


By imitating Jesus’ self-sacrificing attitude, elders set an example for young ones to follow (See paragraph 17) *

17-18. As we imitate Jesus’ self-sacrificing attitude, what benefits will result?

17 Our self-sacrificing attitude can be contagious. An elder named Tim says: “We have young brothers who have progressed and have been appointed as ministerial servants​—some at a very young age—​in part because they imitated the willing-to-serve attitude that they saw in others. Their unselfish efforts help our congregation and provide more support to the elders.”

18 We live in a world that is dominated by selfishness. But Jehovah’s people stand out as different. We have been touched by the self-sacrificing spirit of Jesus, and we are determined to follow his example. No, we cannot follow his steps perfectly, but we can “follow his steps closely.” (1 Pet. 2:21) As we do our best to imitate Jesus’ self-sacrificing attitude, we too will experience the joy of gaining Jehovah’s approval.

SONG 13 Christ, Our Model

^ par. 5 Jesus always put the welfare of others ahead of his own. In this article, we will consider ways in which we can imitate his example. We will also consider how imitating Jesus’ self-sacrificing attitude will bring us long-lasting benefits.

^ par. 57 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A young brother, Dan, observes how two elders visit his father in the hospital. Dan is influenced by the loving example that the elders set. He is also moved to be alert to the needs of others in the congregation. Another young brother, Ben, observes the concern that Dan shows. Dan’s example encourages Ben to help with cleaning the Kingdom Hall.