“These things entrust to faithful men, who, in turn, will be adequately qualified to teach others.”
1, 2. How do many people view their work?
MANY people feel that they are either important or not important based on the work they do. In some cultures, when getting to know someone, it is common to ask, “What kind of work do you do?”
2 The Bible sometimes describes people by stating what kind of work they did. For example, it refers to “Matthew the tax collector,” “Simon, a tanner,” and “Luke, the beloved physician.” (Matthew 10:3; Acts 10:6; Colossians 4:14) At other times, the Bible mentions the assignments people had in Jehovah’s service. Think about King David, the prophet Elijah, and the apostle Paul. These men valued the assignments Jehovah gave them. Likewise, we too should value any assignment we have in Jehovah’s service.
3. Why do older ones need to train younger ones? (See opening picture.)
3 We love serving Jehovah and treasure our assignments. Many of us enjoy our work so much that we hope to continue doing it as long as we can. But sadly, when people grow old, they cannot do all they used to do when they were younger. (Ecclesiastes 1:4) This creates unique challenges for Jehovah’s people. Today, the preaching work keeps growing, and Jehovah’s organization is using modern technology to reach as many as possible with the good news. But sometimes it can be difficult for older ones to learn new ways of doing things. (Luke 5:39) Also, it is normal for people to lose some of their strength and energy as they grow older. (Proverbs 20:29) Therefore, it is loving and practical when older ones train younger ones to take on more responsibility in Jehovah’s organization.
4. Why is it difficult for some to delegate authority? (See the box “Why We May Find It Hard to Delegate.”)
4 It is not always easy for those with authority to delegate work to younger men. It can make brothers sad to think about losing an assignment they love deeply. It may pain them to think of giving up the special work they enjoy. Or they may worry that if they do not direct the work, it will not be done well. Perhaps they feel that they do not have time to train others. At the same time, younger men need to be patient when they are not given more responsibility.
5. What questions will we discuss in this article?
5 So why is it important for older ones to help younger ones take on more responsibility? How can they do this? (2 Timothy 2:2) And why do younger ones need to have the right attitude as they work along with older, more experienced brothers and learn from them? To begin, let us see how King David prepared his son for a very important work.
DAVID PREPARED SOLOMON
6. What did King David want to do? What did Jehovah tell him?
6 For years, David was persecuted and had to move from one place to another. Then, after he became king, he lived in a comfortable house. So he told the prophet Nathan: “Here I am living in a house of cedars while the ark of the covenant of Jehovah is under tent cloths.” David longed to build a beautiful temple for Jehovah. Nathan told him: “Do whatever is in your heart, for the true God is with you.” But this was not what Jehovah wanted. He told Nathan to tell David: “You are not the one who will build the house for me to dwell in.” Although Jehovah promised David that He would always be with him, David learned that one of his sons would build the temple. How did David react?
7. How did David react to Jehovah’s direction?
7 David really wanted to build a temple for Jehovah, so he may have been very disappointed. But he still fully supported the project that his son Solomon would direct. David helped to organize the workers and to collect iron, copper, silver, gold, and wood. He did not worry about who would get the credit for building the temple, which later became known as Solomon’s temple. Instead, he encouraged Solomon, saying: “Now, my son, may Jehovah be with you, and may you be successful and build the house of Jehovah your God, just as he has spoken concerning you.”
8. Why might David have thought that Solomon was not qualified to build the temple? But what did David do?
8 Read 1 Chronicles 22:5. David might have felt that Solomon was not ready to direct such an important project. The temple had to be “exceedingly magnificent,” and Solomon was “young and inexperienced.” But David knew that Jehovah would help Solomon to do this special work. So David did all he could to help him prepare for the enormous project.
ENJOY TRAINING OTHERS
9. How can older ones feel good about giving responsibilities to others? Give an illustration.
9 Older brothers should not feel discouraged when they need to give some responsibilities to younger men. We all realize that the most important thing today is Jehovah’s work. Training younger men to handle responsibilities will help this work get done. Think about this. When you were a young child, you probably watched your father drive his car. As you got older, he explained to you what he was doing. In time, you got your license and started to drive the car yourself. Even then, your father still gave you advice. Sometimes you took turns driving. But as your father got older, you did most of the driving. Was your father upset? No, he was probably happy to have you drive him around. In a similar way, older brothers are happy to see younger men whom they have trained become ready to take on responsibilities in Jehovah’s organization.
10. How did Moses feel about being honored and having authority?
10 We must be careful not to be jealous of the assignments of others. We can learn from how Moses reacted when some Israelites began to act like prophets. (Read Numbers 11:24-29.) Joshua wanted to stop them, but Moses said: “Are you jealous for me? No, I wish that all of Jehovah’s people were prophets and that Jehovah would put his spirit on them!” Moses knew that Jehovah was directing the work. Rather than looking for honor for himself, Moses wanted all of Jehovah’s servants to have assignments. What about us? Are we happy when others receive assignments in Jehovah’s service?
11. What did one brother say about giving responsibility to others?
11 There are many brothers who have worked hard in Jehovah’s service for decades and have trained younger men to take on more responsibility. For example, let us consider a brother named Peter. During his 74 years in full-time service, he spent 35 years serving at a branch office in Europe. For a long time, he was the overseer of the Service Department. Then this assignment was given to Paul, a younger man whom Peter had trained. Did Peter feel unhappy about this change? No. He said: “I am so pleased that there are brothers who have been trained to accept greater responsibility and who are doing so well in caring for the work.”
VALUE THE OLDER ONES
12. What can we learn from the example of Rehoboam?
12 When Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king, he asked the older men for advice on how to handle his new assignment. But then he rejected their advice! Instead, he followed the advice of the young men he had grown up with. The result was a disaster. (2 Chronicles 10:6-11, 19) What can we learn? It is wise to ask for advice from those who are older and more experienced than we are. Younger ones should not feel pressured to keep doing things exactly as they were done in the past. Still, they should genuinely respect the ideas of older ones and should not be quick to think that their way of doing things will not work.
13. How should younger ones work along with older ones?
13 At times, younger ones are given the responsibility to oversee the work of older, more experienced brothers. It would be wise for them to learn from these older ones. In the example we spoke about earlier, after Paul replaced Peter as the overseer of a Bethel department, he said, “I took time to seek out the advice of Peter, and I encouraged others in the department to do the same.”
Paul took time to teach Timothy, and Timothy learned well
14. What do we learn from the way Timothy and the apostle Paul worked together?
14 Timothy was much younger than the apostle Paul, yet they had worked together for many years. (Read Philippians 2:20-22.) Paul told the Corinthians: “I am sending Timothy to you, because he is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of my methods in connection with Christ Jesus, just as I am teaching everywhere in every congregation.” (1 Corinthians 4:17) From this we can clearly see that Paul and Timothy worked well together and supported each other. Paul took time to teach Timothy his “methods in connection with Christ,” and Timothy learned well. Paul was fond of Timothy and was sure that he would take good care of the brothers and sisters in Corinth. Elders can imitate the apostle Paul as they train other men to take the lead in the congregation.
EACH OF US HAS AN IMPORTANT ROLE
15. How can Romans 12:3-5 help us to deal with change?
15 We live in exciting times. The earthly part of Jehovah’s organization is growing in many ways. This means that things will keep changing. Some of these changes affect us personally and are not easy to deal with. It will help us if we are humble and focus on what is good for the Kingdom work rather than on what we may personally want. When we do this, we stay united. Paul wrote to Christians in Rome: “I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think.” He then explained that just as each part of our body has a different function, each member of the congregation has a different role.
All of Jehovah’s people want to support the Kingdom and do whatever is asked of them
16. What can each Christian do to maintain peace and unity in Jehovah’s organization?
16 All of Jehovah’s people want to support the Kingdom and do whatever is asked of them. Older brothers can train younger ones. Younger brothers can take on more responsibility in a modest and respectful way. And married brothers appreciate it when their wives support them even when circumstances change. These women can imitate Priscilla, who faithfully worked along with her husband, Aquila.
17. What did Jesus train his disciples to do?
17 Jesus set the best example of being willing to train others. Jesus knew that others would need to continue his work. Of course, he knew that his disciples were imperfect. But he had confidence that they could spread the good news even further than he had. (John 14:12) He trained them well, and they were able to preach in every country they could go to.
18. What work will we have in the future? What work do we have now?
18 After Jesus died, Jehovah resurrected him and gave him more work to do, as well as authority “far above every government and authority and power and lordship.” (Ephesians 1:19-21) Even if we die as faithful servants of Jehovah before Armageddon, we will live again and have plenty of meaningful work in the new world. And right now we all have the thrilling assignment of preaching the good news and making disciples. So whether we are young or old, each of us can keep on “having plenty to do in the work of the Lord.”