“Find exquisite delight in Jehovah, and he will grant you the desires of your heart.”—PS. 37:4.
1. What must a young person decide about the future, but why is there no need to be overly anxious? (See opening picture.)
YOU young ones will probably agree that before starting a journey, it is wise to plan where you will go. Life is like a journey, and the time to plan where you want to go is when you are young. Of course, making plans can be challenging. A girl named Heather says: “It’s scary. You have to decide what to do with the rest of your life.” But take courage. Jehovah says to his people: “Do not be anxious, for I am your God. I will fortify you, yes, I will help you.”—Isa. 41:10.
2. How do you know that Jehovah wants you to plan for a happy future?
2 Jehovah urges you to plan wisely for your future. (Eccl. 12:1; Matt. 6:20) He wants you to be happy. The delightful sights, sounds, and tastes of creation tell you that. Consider, too, how he cares for us and teaches us the best way of life. To those who reject his advice, Jehovah says: “You chose what displeased me. . . . Look! My servants will rejoice, but you will suffer shame. Look! My servants will shout joyfully because of the good condition of the heart.” (Isa. 65:12-14) Jehovah is glorified when his people make wise choices in life.—Prov. 27:11.
PLANS THAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY
3. What does Jehovah recommend for you?
3 What plans does Jehovah recommend for you? He created humans to find happiness by knowing him and by serving him faithfully. (Ps. 128:1; Matt. 5:3) This is in sharp contrast with the animals he created, which are content merely to eat, drink, and produce offspring. God wants you to find happiness by planning for things other than those that satisfy animals. Your Creator is “the God of love,” “the happy God,” who made humans “in his image.” (2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Tim. 1:11; Gen. 1:27) You will be happy when you imitate our loving God. Have you ever experienced the truth of the scripture that says: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving”? (Acts 20:35) That is a basic truth about human life. Therefore, Jehovah desires that your plans focus on demonstrating love for others and for God.—Read Matthew 22:36-39.
4, 5. What made Jesus happy?
4 Jesus Christ set the perfect example for you young ones. As a child, he no doubt played and had fun. God’s Word says that there is “a time to laugh . . . and a time to dance.” (Eccl. 3:4) Jesus also drew close to Jehovah by studying the Scriptures. When he was 12 years old, the teachers at the temple were amazed at “his understanding and his answers” regarding spiritual matters.—Luke 2:42, 46, 47.
5 Jesus grew up to be a happy adult. What made him happy? He knew that, among other things, God wanted him “to declare good news to the poor . . . and a recovery of sight to the blind.” (Luke 4:18) Doing what God asked him to do made Jesus happy. Psalm 40:8 expresses his feelings: “To do your will, O my God, is my delight.” Jesus enjoyed teaching people about his heavenly Father. (Read Luke 10:21.) Once, after teaching a woman about true worship, Jesus said to his disciples: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:31-34) Showing love for God and for others made Jesus happy. It can make you happy too.
6. Why is it worth discussing your plans for the future with experienced Christians?
6 Many Christians experienced happiness in their youth by serving as pioneers. Why not discuss your plans with some of them? “Plans fail when there is no consultation, but there is accomplishment through many advisers.” (Prov. 15:22) Such spiritual people may tell you that the full-time ministry provides an education that benefits you throughout life. After having been instructed by his Father in heaven, Jesus continued to learn during his earthly ministry. For example, he learned the joy of reaching hearts with the good news and also the joy of keeping integrity under test. (Read Isaiah 50:4; Heb. 5:8; 12:2) Let us consider some aspects of full-time service that could make you very happy.
WHY DISCIPLE-MAKERS ARE SUCCESSFUL
7. Why do many young people enjoy making disciples?
7 Jesus said: “Go . . . make disciples of people . . . teaching them.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) If you plan to be a disciple-maker, you will be choosing a most satisfying career, one that glorifies God. As with any career, you need time to become skilled. Recently, a brother named Timothy who started pioneering as a teenager said: “I like serving Jehovah full-time because it’s the way I express my love for him. At first, I couldn’t start any Bible studies, but later I moved to another territory, and within a month I started several studies. One student began coming to the Kingdom Hall. After I attended the two-month Bible School for Single Brothers, * I received a new assignment where I have started four studies. I love teaching people, as I can see that holy spirit is changing them.”—1 Thess. 2:19.
8. How have some young Christians shared more fully in making disciples?
8 Some young Christians have learned another language. For example, Jacob, from North America, writes: “When I was seven, many of my classmates were Vietnamese. I wanted to tell them about Jehovah, so after a while I made plans to learn their language. For the most part, I learned by comparing the English and Vietnamese editions of The Watchtower. I also made friends in a nearby Vietnamese-language congregation. When I was 18, I started pioneering. Later, I attended the Bible School for Single Brothers. This helped me with my present pioneer assignment, where I am the only elder in a Vietnamese-language group. Many Vietnamese people are amazed that I have learned their language. They invite me in, and often I can study the Bible with them. Some have progressed to baptism.”—Compare Acts 2:7, 8.
9. How does the disciple-making work provide a fine education?
9 Disciple-making is an educational experience that teaches you good work habits, communication skills, confidence, and tact. (Prov. 21:5; 2 Tim. 2:24, ftn.) But making disciples is especially joyful because it helps you to become more familiar with the Scriptural basis for your faith. You also learn how to work closely with Jehovah.—1 Cor. 3:9.
10. How can you share in the joy of making disciples even in a challenging territory?
10 You can enjoy making disciples even if few people in your territory respond to the good news. Making disciples is teamwork. The whole congregation searches for sincere ones. Although only one brother or sister may find the person who eventually becomes a disciple, all shared in the search and all can share in the joy. For example, Brandon spent nine years pioneering in unresponsive territory. He says: “I like preaching the good news because it is what Jehovah asks us to do. I started pioneering soon after finishing school. I enjoy encouraging the young brothers in our congregation and seeing their spiritual progress. After I attended the Bible School for Single Brothers, I received a new pioneer assignment. It’s true that I have never found anyone in the territory who progressed to baptism, but others have. I’m glad I planned to share fully in the disciple-making work.”—Eccl. 11:6.
WHERE YOUR PLANS MAY LEAD YOU
11. What form of sacred service have many young people enjoyed?
11 There are many opportunities to serve Jehovah. For example, many young people share in volunteer construction work. Hundreds of new Kingdom Halls are needed. Building them is sacred service that glorifies God and can make you happy. As in other forms of sacred service, the association with fellow workers is a joy. Theocratic construction work is also educational, as it teaches you to be safety conscious, to be a diligent worker, and to cooperate with those in oversight.
12. How may pioneer service lead to other opportunities?
12 A brother named Kevin says: “Ever since I was a little boy, I have wanted to serve Jehovah full-time someday. Finally, I started pioneering when I was 19. I supported myself working part-time for a brother who was a builder. I learned to install roofs, windows, and doors. Later, I spent two years with a hurricane relief team, rebuilding Kingdom Halls and homes for the brothers. When I heard about the construction needs in South Africa, I applied and was invited to go. Here in Africa, I move from one Kingdom Hall project to another every few weeks. My construction group is like a family. We live together, study the Bible together, and work together. I also enjoy preaching with the local brothers each week. The plans I made as a boy have made me happy in ways I did not foresee.”
13. How does Bethel service make young ones happy?
13 Some who acted on their plans to serve Jehovah full-time are now at Bethel. Bethel service is a happy way of life because everything you do there is for Jehovah. The Bethel family helps to provide spiritual food. A Bethelite named Dustin reports: “I made full-time service my goal when I was nine years old, and I started pioneering when I finished school. After a year and a half, I was invited to Bethel, where I learned to operate printing presses and later to do computer programming. At Bethel, I enjoy hearing firsthand about the progress of the disciple-making activity worldwide. I love serving here because what we do helps people to draw close to Jehovah.”
WHAT PLANS WILL YOU MAKE FOR YOUR FUTURE?
14. How can you make plans to enter the full-time ministry?
14 How can you plan to be a full-time Christian minister? More than anything, spiritual qualities will help you to be successful in serving Jehovah fully. So be diligent in your study of God’s Word, meditate deeply on its meaning, and look for ways to express your faith at congregation meetings. During your school years, you can acquire experience and skill as a preacher of the good news. Learn to be interested in people by tactfully asking their opinion and listening to their response. Also, you can offer to do things in the congregation, such as helping to clean and maintain the Kingdom Hall. Jehovah is pleased to use those who have a humble, willing spirit. (Read Psalm 110:3; Acts 6:1-3) The apostle Paul invited Timothy into missionary service because “he was well-reported-on by the brothers.”—Acts 16:1-5.
15. How can you prepare to earn a living?
15 Full-time ministers generally need to earn a living. (Acts 18:2, 3) Perhaps a short school course will qualify you for part-time work that is in demand locally. As you make plans, consult your circuit overseer and the pioneers in your circuit. Ask them what work is practical for pioneers. And, as the Bible says, “commit to Jehovah whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”—Prov. 16:3; 20:18.
16. How can serving Jehovah fully in your youth prepare you for other responsibilities in the future?
16 You can be sure that Jehovah wants you to “get a firm hold” on a happy future. (Read 1 Timothy 6:18, 19.) Full-time service brings you into contact with fellow full-time servants and helps you to mature as a Christian. Many have found that serving Jehovah fully during youth also helped them to have a more successful marriage. Often, those who pioneered before marriage have been able to continue in that service together as a married couple.—Rom. 16:3, 4.
17, 18. How does making plans involve your heart?
17 Planning involves your heart. Psalm 20:4 says of Jehovah: “May he grant you the desires of your heart and give success to all your plans.” So think about what you want to do with your life. Consider what Jehovah is doing in our time and how you can have a share in his service. Then plan to do what is pleasing to him.
18 Serving Jehovah fully will bring you deep satisfaction because it is the way of life that honors God. Yes, “find exquisite delight in Jehovah, and he will grant you the desires of your heart.”—Ps. 37:4.
^ par. 7 Replaced by the School for Kingdom Evangelizers.