WHEN God’s people left Babylon in 537 B.C.E., Jehovah took an interest in their route to Jerusalem. He told them: “Clear the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway. Rid it of stones.” (Isa. 62:10) Imagine how some Jews may have gone about doing that. Advance parties may have built up the road, perhaps filling in gullies and smoothing out rough spots. Doing so would have been of help to their brothers who followed them on the route back to their homeland.
We might take that as an illustration of a path leading to spiritual goals. Jehovah wants all of his servants to move along that path without any unnecessary hindrances. His Word exhorts us: “Smooth out the course of your feet, and all your ways will be sure.” (Prov. 4:26) Whether you are young or not so young, you can see the wisdom of that divine advice.
PREPARE THE WAY WITH GOOD DECISIONS
You may have heard people say something like this about a teenager: ‘She has so much going for her’ or, ‘He is going places.’ Young people generally have good health, quick minds, and a keen desire to succeed. The Bible accurately says: “The glory of young men is their strength.” (Prov. 20:29) A young person who uses his or her talents and energy to serve Jehovah can achieve spiritual goals and gain true happiness.
As you realize, though, the abilities of our young people are highly valued in the world. When a young Witness does well in school, a guidance counselor, a teacher, or a fellow student may pressure the Witness to pursue higher education as a step toward success in this system of things. Or a young brother or sister who has athletic ability may find that recruiters try to entice him or her into a sports career. Have you found yourself in such a situation, or do you know someone who faces such pressure? What will help a Christian to choose wisely?
Bible teachings can help one prepare for traveling on the best road in life. “Remember, then, your Grand Creator in the days of your youth,” states Ecclesiastes 12:1. How can you or a young acquaintance best ‘remember your Grand Creator’?
Give some thought to what happened to Eric * in West Africa. He loved to play soccer. By the time Eric was 15, he had been selected to play on a national team. That meant that before long, he could expect to receive elite sports training in Europe, perhaps leading to a professional career. But how would the advice to ‘remember your Grand Creator’ come into play? And what lesson might this contain for you or for some young friend?
During his school years, Eric began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. He thus began to learn that his Creator would permanently solve mankind’s problems. Eric came to see the importance of using his time and energy to do God’s will. In view of that wise reality, Eric chose not to strive for a career in professional sports. Rather, he got baptized and applied himself spiritually. In time, he became a ministerial servant and later was invited to the Bible School for Single Brothers.
Had he pursued a career in sports, Eric might have gained fame and wealth. But he realized the truth of a Bible principle: “The wealth of the rich is his fortified city; it is like a protective wall in his imagination.” (Prov. 18:11) Yes, the security that a person might seem to gain through wealth is actually an illusion. Moreover, those who avidly pursue riches usually ‘stab themselves all over with many pains.’
Happily, many young people have found joy and lasting security by taking up the full-time service. Eric says: “I have joined a large ‘team’ of full-time servants of Jehovah. That is the best team I can belong to, and I thank Jehovah for showing me the only way to true happiness and success in life.”
What about you? Rather than pursue worldly goals, why not firmly establish “your ways” before Jehovah by sharing in the pioneer ministry?
REMOVING OBSTACLES FROM YOUR WAY
While making a visit to the United States branch office, a couple sensed the happiness of the Bethelites who serve Jehovah there. The sister later wrote: “We had become too comfortable in our routine.” The couple decided that they would free up time and energy for greater privileges of service.
At one point, the changes this couple wanted to make seemed a bit overwhelming. But one day, they reflected on the Scriptural text for that day. It was John 8:31, where we read Jesus’ words: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples.” With that in mind, they reasoned: “Whatever we do to simplify life is worth the sacrifice.” They sold their large house, rid themselves of other burdens, and moved to a congregation needing help. They are now pioneering, but they also help build Kingdom Halls and volunteer at district conventions. How do they feel? “We are amazed at the joy we have from living a simpler life, doing just what Jehovah’s organization encourages us to do.”
STAY ON THE ROAD TO SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
Solomon wrote: “Your eyes should look straight ahead, yes, fix your gaze straight ahead of you.” (Prov. 4:25) Like a driver focused on the road ahead, we should avoid distractions that could keep us from setting spiritual goals and reaching them.
What spiritual goals might you set and reach? Being in the full-time service is certainly a good one. Another may be that of serving with a nearby congregation in need of experienced preachers to help cover its large territory. Or a congregation may have many fine publishers, but it lacks enough elders and ministerial servants. Could you help out in one of those ways? Why not talk to the circuit overseer to see whether you might be able to assist? If you are interested in going farther afield, you can request information about distant congregations that need help. *
Let us go back to the scene described at Isaiah 62:10. Some of the Jews may have worked hard to level and clear the road back to their homeland so that God’s people could reach their destination. If you are exerting yourself to achieve goals in sacred service, do not give up. With God’s help, you too may reach those goals. Continue to ask Jehovah for wisdom as you try to remove barriers before you. In due course, you will likely see how he can help you “smooth out the course of your feet.”