“Continue applying yourself to public reading, to exhortation, to teaching.”
SONGS: 45, 70
1, 2. (a) How has Isaiah 60:22 come true in this time of the end? (b) What needs now exist in the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization?
“THE little one will become a thousand and the small one a mighty nation.” (Isaiah 60:22) Those words are being fulfilled now in this time of the end. In fact, during 2015, there were 8,220,105 of Jehovah’s servants who preached the good news of the Kingdom around the world! God said about the increase among his people: “I myself, Jehovah, will speed it up in its own time.” So as time goes on, there will be more work for all of us to do. Are we doing all we can now to preach and teach the good news? Many brothers and sisters are already serving as regular or auxiliary pioneers. Some have moved to another place to help with the preaching work, and others are working hard to build Kingdom Halls.
2 Every year, about 2,000 new congregations are formed. These congregations need elders and ministerial servants. Each year, thousands of ministerial servants need to become elders and thousands of other brothers need to become ministerial servants. Clearly, there is “plenty to do in the work of the Lord,” and not just for brothers, but for sisters too.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO MAKE SPIRITUAL PROGRESS?
3, 4. What does making spiritual progress mean to you?
3 Read 1 Timothy 3:1. The apostle Paul commended brothers who were “reaching out” to be overseers. For someone to reach something that is far away, he would need to make an effort and perhaps stretch out his arm to get it. Now imagine a brother who would like to qualify as a ministerial servant. He realizes that he needs to make an effort to improve his Christian qualities. Then, after he begins serving as a ministerial servant, he continues to work hard so that he can qualify to become an overseer.
4 Some brothers and sisters are making changes in their lives because they want to do more in Jehovah’s service. For example, they may want to pioneer, work at Bethel, or help to build Kingdom Halls. Let us see how the Bible can help all of us to keep making progress.
KEEP MAKING SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
5. How can young people use their strength in Kingdom service?
5 Young people can do much in Jehovah’s service because they are strong and healthy. (Read Proverbs 20:29.) Some young brothers in Bethel help to print and bind books and Bibles. Many young brothers and sisters build Kingdom Halls or help to repair them. Some volunteer to help when there is a natural disaster. And many young pioneers learn another language or travel to another place to preach the good news.
6-8. (a) How did one young man change his view of God’s service, and with what result? (b) How can we “taste and see that Jehovah is good”?
6 We love Jehovah and want to give him our best. Even so, we may feel the same way a brother named Aaron felt. He wanted to enjoy serving God, but he was not happy. Although Aaron had attended meetings and had gone out in field service since he was young, he said, “I found the meetings and field service boring.” So, what did he do?
7 Aaron made an effort to read the Bible regularly, prepare for the meetings, and give comments at them. He also started praying more often. All of this helped him to make spiritual progress. He got to know Jehovah better and began to love him even more. As a result, Aaron felt happier. He pioneered, helped others when there were natural disasters, and went to preach in another country. Now he is an elder and serves at Bethel. How does he feel about his life? Aaron said: “I have ‘tasted and seen that Jehovah is good.’ Because of his blessing, I feel indebted to him and am moved to do more in his service, and this results in more blessings.”
8 The psalmist said: “Taste and see that Jehovah is good.” He added: “Those seeking Jehovah will lack nothing good.” (Read Psalm 34:8-10.) Yes, when we give Jehovah our best, we feel truly happy because we know that we are pleasing him. And he will keep his promise to look after us.
DO NOT GIVE UP
9, 10. Why is it important for you to have “a waiting attitude”?
9 We may desire to do more in Jehovah’s service. But what if we have been waiting a long time for a certain privilege in the congregation or for our circumstances to change? We may need to be patient. (Micah 7:7) And even though Jehovah may allow the situation we are in to continue, we can be sure that he will always support us. We can learn from the example of Abraham. Jehovah promised him that he would have a son, but he had to wait for many years before Isaac was born. During that time, Abraham was patient and never lost his faith in Jehovah.
10 Of course, it is not easy to wait. (Proverbs 13:12) But if we keep thinking about our situation and about how disappointed we are, we will feel very discouraged. Instead, we could use the time to improve the qualities we will need in order to care for certain responsibilities in the congregation.
By meditating on what we read in the Bible, we learn to be wise and to make good decisions
11. What spiritual qualities can we work to develop, and why are they important?
11 Develop the qualities and abilities you need. By reading the Bible and meditating on what you read, you can learn to be wise, to think and reason clearly, and to make good decisions. In fact, brothers need qualities and abilities like these to take care of the congregation. (Proverbs 1:1-4; Titus 1:7-9) When we study the Bible, we can find out how Jehovah feels about many matters. Then each day, we can use what we learn in order to make decisions that please Jehovah. For example, we will know how to treat others, how to use money, and how to choose entertainment and clothing.
12. How can members of the congregation prove themselves trustworthy?
12 Work hard at any assignment you are given. When God’s people were rebuilding the temple, Nehemiah needed men to care for various responsibilities. He chose ones who had a good reputation. He knew that those men loved God and that they would work hard at whatever job they were given to do. (Nehemiah 7:2; 13:12, 13) In the same way today, those who are faithful and work hard will have a good reputation and may be given more responsibilities. (1 Corinthians 4:2) So whether we are brothers or sisters, we should always do our best at any work we are given.
13. How can you follow Joseph’s example if others treat you unfairly?
13 Rely on Jehovah. What can you do if others treat you unfairly? You may be able to explain to them how you feel. But if you keep defending yourself and insisting that you are right, you could make the problem worse. We can learn much from the example of Joseph. His brothers treated him badly. People lied about him, and he was put in prison for something he had not done. But Joseph relied on Jehovah. He thought about Jehovah’s promises, and he remained faithful. (Psalm 105:19) In those difficult times, he developed many good qualities that helped him later when he was given important work to do. (Genesis 41:37-44; 45:4-8) If others have treated you unfairly, pray to Jehovah for wisdom. He will help you to remain calm and to treat them kindly when you speak to them.
MAKE PROGRESS IN THE MINISTRY
14, 15. (a) Why do we have to “pay constant attention” to the way we preach? (b) How might you adjust to changing conditions? (See opening picture and the box “Are You Willing to Try a Different Method?”)
14 Paul told Timothy to continue to improve the way he explained the Scriptures. Paul said: “Pay constant attention to yourself and to your teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13, 16) Timothy had already been preaching for many years. So why did he need to improve? Timothy knew that people and circumstances change. He wanted people to keep listening to him, so he had to continue to improve and change the way he taught them. As we preach today, we need to do the same.
15 In some places, we find that many people are not at home when we preach from door to door. In other places, people may be at home, but we cannot get to their doors, perhaps because we cannot enter the building they are living in. If that is true in your territory, can you try another method to find people?
16. How can public witnessing prove to be effective?
16 Many brothers and sisters enjoy public witnessing. For example, they go to train stations, bus stations, markets, and parks to find people to talk to. A Witness may start a conversation with someone about a recent news report. Or the Witness might say something nice about the person’s children or ask a question about his work. If the person seems to be enjoying the conversation, the publisher may mention a point from the Bible and ask what the person thinks about it. Often, people want to know more about the Bible.
17, 18. (a) How might you become more confident in public witnessing? (b) Why do you find David’s spirit in praising Jehovah valuable as you engage in the ministry?
17 Perhaps you find it difficult to start conversations on the street with people you do not know. That is how Eddie, a pioneer in New York City, felt. But he found something that helped him to be more confident. He says: “During our family worship, my wife and I do research to find answers to objections and opinions people express. We also ask other Witnesses for suggestions.” Now Eddie looks forward to public witnessing.
18 When we enjoy our ministry more and improve the way we talk to people about the good news, our spiritual progress will be seen by others. (Read 1 Timothy 4:15.) And we may even help someone to become a servant of Jehovah. David said: “I will praise Jehovah at all times; his praise will be on my lips constantly. I will boast in Jehovah; the meek will hear and rejoice.”
CONTINUE TO PRAISE JEHOVAH BY MAKING SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
19. Why should a loyal servant of Jehovah be happy, even if he or she lives in restrictive circumstances?
19 David also said: “All your works will glorify you, O Jehovah, and your loyal ones will praise you. They will proclaim the glory of your kingship and speak about your mightiness, to make known to men your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingship.” (Psalm 145:10-12) All who love Jehovah and are loyal to him have a strong desire to tell others about him. But what if because of sickness or old age, you cannot spend as much time as you would like preaching from house to house? Always remember that you are praising Jehovah every time you speak about him to those around you, such as to nurses or doctors. If you are in prison because of your faith, you may still be able to tell others about Jehovah, and that makes his heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) Also, he is very happy if you are serving him even though others in your family are not. (1 Peter 3:1-4) Even in very difficult situations, you can praise Jehovah, keep drawing closer to him, and make spiritual progress.
20, 21. If you are entrusted with more work in Jehovah’s organization, how can you become a blessing to others?
20 Jehovah will certainly bless you if you keep drawing closer to him and do your best to serve him. Perhaps by making some changes in your schedule or lifestyle, you will have more opportunities to help people learn about God’s beautiful promises. You may also be able to help your brothers even more. And just think how much your brothers and sisters will love you when they see you working hard in the congregation!
21 No matter how long we have been serving Jehovah, all of us can continue to draw closer to him and to make spiritual progress. In the next study, we will discuss how we can help others to make such progress.