“Make sure of the more important things.”
1, 2. What prophecy regarding the last days must have intrigued Jesus’ disciples, and why?
PETER, James, John, and Andrew were finally alone with their Master. Jesus’ earlier comments regarding the destruction of the temple weighed heavily on their minds. (Mark 13:1-4) Thus, they asked: “Tell us, When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matt. 24:1-3) Jesus began to tell them about events, or conditions, that would not only result in great changes to life but also identify the last days of Satan’s wicked system of things. One particular event must have intrigued Jesus’ disciples. After telling of such distressing matters as wars, food shortages, and an increase of lawlessness, Jesus foretold that something positive would also mark the last days. He said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”
2 Jesus’ disciples had enjoyed preaching the good news of the Kingdom along with Christ. (Luke 8:1; 9:1, 2) They may have recalled that he said: “The harvest, indeed, is great, but the workers are few. Therefore beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2) But how would they preach “in all the inhabited earth” and give “a witness to all the nations”? Where would the workers come from? If only they could have looked into the future while sitting with Jesus that day! They would no doubt have been amazed to see the fulfillment of those few words that we now read at Matthew 24:14.
3. How is Luke 21:34 being fulfilled today, and what self-examination should we make?
3 We are living in the time of the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy. Millions have joined together to fill the earth with the preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. (Isa. 60:22) Jesus indicated, though, that some would find it challenging to maintain their focus in these last days. They would be distracted and become “weighed down.” (Read Luke 21:34.) We are seeing the fulfillment of those words as well. Some among God’s people are getting sidetracked. This may be seen in the decisions they make with regard to secular work, higher education, and acquisition of material possessions, as well as the amount of time spent in sports and entertainment. Others are tiring out because of the pressures and anxieties of everyday life. Ask yourself: ‘How am I doing? What do my decisions say about my focus in life?’
4. (a) What did Paul pray about for the Christians in Philippi, and why? (b) What will we consider in this and the following article, and with what objective?
4 Christians living in the first century had to put forth effort to maintain their spiritual priorities. The apostle Paul saw the need for praying that those in Philippi would “make sure of the more important things.” (Read Philippians 1:9-11.) Like the apostle Paul, most back then were “showing all the more courage to speak the word of God fearlessly.” (Phil. 1:12-14) In a similar manner, by far most of us today courageously preach God’s Word. Still, can a consideration of what is now being accomplished in Jehovah’s organization help us to focus even more on the all-important preaching work? Indeed it can! In this article, let us reflect on the arrangement that Jehovah has in place to facilitate the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14. What is the focus of his organization, and how can knowing this motivate us and our families? In the article that follows, we will consider what can help us to endure and to remain in step with Jehovah’s organization.
THE HEAVENLY PART OF JEHOVAH’S ORGANIZATION IS ON THE MOVE
5, 6. (a) Why did Jehovah provide visions of the heavenly part of his organization? (b) What did Ezekiel see in vision?
5 There are many things that Jehovah chose not to include in his written Word. For example, he did not provide details about how the brain works or how the universe functions, even though such information would have been very fascinating! Rather, Jehovah provided information that we need in order to understand his purposes and to live our lives in harmony with them. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) How interesting, then, that the Bible does provide glimpses of the invisible part of Jehovah’s organization! We thrill at reading the descriptions of Jehovah’s heavenly arrangement written by Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel and in John’s Revelation account. (Isa. 6:1-4; Ezek. 1:4-14, 22-24; Dan. 7:9-14; Rev. 4:1-11) It is as if Jehovah pulled back a curtain and allowed us to peer into the heavens. Why did he provide this information?
6 Jehovah wanted us never to forget that we are part of a universal organization. There is much more going on in support of Jehovah’s purposes than what we can see. For example, Ezekiel saw the invisible part of Jehovah’s organization depicted by a colossal celestial chariot. This chariot could move swiftly and change direction in an instant. (Ezek. 1:15-21) With each revolution of its wheels, the chariot could cover great distances. In vision, Ezekiel was also able to get a glimpse of the Rider of the chariot. He said: “I got to see something like the glow of electrum, like the appearance of fire all around . . . It was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah.” (Ezek. 1:25-28) How awe-inspiring it must have been for Ezekiel to see this vision! He saw Jehovah in full control of his organization, directing its movement through his holy spirit. What an amazing representation of the heavenly part of Jehovah’s organization on the move!
7. How does the vision given to Daniel fill us with confidence?
7 Daniel too saw much to give us confidence. He was allowed to see Jehovah depicted as “the Ancient of Days” sitting on a throne with flames of fire. The throne was on wheels. (Dan. 7:9) Jehovah wanted Daniel to see that His organization is in motion, accomplishing His purpose. Daniel also saw “someone like a son of man,” Jesus, being given oversight of the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization. Christ’s perfect rule does not exist for just a few short years. Rather, it is “an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.” (Dan. 7:13, 14) We are moved to trust in Jehovah and to recognize what he is accomplishing. He gave “rulership and dignity and kingdom” to his tried and proven Son, Jesus. Jehovah puts trust in his Son. Thus, we can have confidence in Jesus’ leadership as well.
8. What impact did visions from Jehovah have on Ezekiel and Isaiah, and how should we be affected?
8 How should this view of the invisible part of Jehovah’s organization impact us? Like Ezekiel, we are surely awed and humbled by what Jehovah is accomplishing. (Ezek. 1:28) Meditating on Jehovah’s organization can move us to action, just as it did Isaiah. When the opportunity arose for him to tell others about what Jehovah is doing, he seized it without hesitation. (Read Isaiah 6:5, 8.) Isaiah was confident that with Jehovah’s backing, he could successfully face any challenge. Similarly, this glimpse of the invisible part of Jehovah’s organization should fill us with awe and spur us to action. How motivating to contemplate that organization, ever on the move and completely focused on accomplishing Jehovah’s purposes!
THE EARTHLY PART OF JEHOVAH’S ORGANIZATION
9, 10. Why is there a need for a visible part of Jehovah’s organization?
9 Through his Son, Jehovah established an arrangement here on earth that works in harmony with the invisible part of the organization. Why is a visible arrangement needed to accomplish the work described at Matthew 24:14? Consider three reasons.
10 First, Jesus stated that this preaching work would take his disciples “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Second, arrangements would be needed to provide spiritual food and to care for those engaged in this work. (John 21:15-17) Third, provisions would have to be made so that those preaching the good news could gather together to worship Jehovah and be taught how to carry out the work. (Heb. 10:24, 25) Accomplishing these goals could not be done by accident. For Christ’s followers to be successful, the work would need to be well-organized.
11. How do we demonstrate our support for the arrangements made by Jehovah’s organization?
11 How do we demonstrate our support for the arrangements made by Jehovah’s organization? One important way is by always putting our confidence in the ones whom Jehovah and Jesus are trusting to lead us in our preaching work. There are many activities or causes in the world today that could vie for the attention of those taking the lead among us. Yet, what has consistently been the focus of the visible part of Jehovah’s organization?
FOCUSED ON “THE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS”
12, 13. How do Christian elders carry out their assignment, and why is that encouraging to you?
12 Experienced Christian elders around the world have been appointed to oversee and give impetus to the Kingdom-preaching work in the lands where they serve. As these brothers make decisions, they seek direction from God’s Word, making it ‘a lamp to their foot and a light to their roadway,’ and they earnestly pray for Jehovah’s guidance.
13 Like those who took the lead in the first century, Christian elders who oversee the preaching work today are devoted “to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4) They rejoice greatly at the progress that is being made in the preaching of the good news locally and throughout the world. (Acts 21:19, 20) They do not set out endless rules and procedures. Instead, they follow the Scriptures and the leadings of God’s holy spirit as they make arrangements that are needed to help the preaching work go forward. (Read Acts 15:28.) By doing so, these responsible brothers set a fine example for all in the local congregations.
14, 15. (a) What arrangements are in place for supporting the preaching work earth wide? (b) How do you feel about the share you have in supporting the Kingdom-preaching work?
14 Unseen to many are the constant labors of preparing the spiritual food for our publications, meetings, and conventions. Thousands of volunteers work tirelessly to translate this spiritual food into some 600 languages so that as many as possible can learn about “the magnificent things of God” in their own language. (Acts 2:7-11) Young brothers and sisters work at producing our literature on high-speed printing presses and bindery equipment. This literature is then distributed to congregations even in the remotest regions of the earth.
15 Numerous arrangements are in place so that we can focus on preaching the good news with our local congregation. For example, thousands volunteer to assist with Kingdom Hall and Assembly Hall construction, to help those affected by natural disasters or who are facing medical emergencies, to organize our assemblies and conventions, and to teach theocratic schools, just to name a few activities that go on behind the scenes. What is the purpose of all this work? To facilitate the preaching of the good news, to enhance the spiritual welfare of those carrying out this work, and to advance true worship. Has the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization remained focused on the more important things? Indeed it has!
FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JEHOVAH’S ORGANIZATION
16. What would be a good Bible study project for you or your family?
16 Do we periodically take the time to reflect on the workings of Jehovah’s organization? Some have chosen to include time in their family worship or personal study to do research on these matters and to meditate on them. The visions given to Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and John make an exciting study. The book Jehovah’s Witnesses
17, 18. (a) How has this discussion benefited you? (b) What questions should we consider?
17 Meditating on what Jehovah is accomplishing through his organization is good for us. Along with this wonderful organization, may we be resolved to keep focused on the more important things. Doing so will fortify us to have the same determination as Paul, who wrote: “Since we have this ministry according to the mercy that was shown us, we do not give up.” (2 Cor. 4:1) He also encouraged his fellow workers: “Let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due season we shall reap if we do not tire out.”
18 Are there adjustments that we need to make as individuals or as families so as to make sure of the more important things in our daily routine? Can we simplify our lives or reduce distractions so that we can give more attention to the all-important preaching work? In the next article, we will consider five things that will assist us to keep in step with Jehovah’s organization.