Why Put Jehovah’s Service First?
“My own mouth will recount your righteousness, all day long your salvation.”—PSALM 71:15.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
Why did Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, and Paul put Jehovah first in their life?
What will help you to decide what to do with your life?
Why will you put Jehovah’s service first in your life?
1, 2. (a) What does a person show when he dedicates himself to Jehovah? (b) How can the examples of Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, and Paul help us?
WHEN you dedicate yourself to God and become a baptized follower of Jesus, you are making the most serious decision of your life. In a way, you are saying to Jehovah: ‘I want you to be my Master. I am your servant. I want you to tell me how I should use my time, what my priorities should be, and how I should use my abilities and the things I have.’
2 If you are a baptized Christian, this is what you have promised Jehovah. You have made a very good decision. It was the right and wise thing to do. But now that you have accepted Jehovah as your Master, how do you use your time? The examples of Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, and the apostle Paul can help us to examine our own situation. All these men did their best in Jehovah’s service. Our situation today is similar to the situation of those men. The decisions they made showed what their priorities were and should make us want to examine how we are using our time.—Matthew 28:19, 20; 2 Timothy 3:1.
BEFORE THE FLOOD
3. In what way is the world we live in similar to the world Noah lived in?
3 Jesus compared the world Noah lived in to the world we live in. “Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be,” he said. The people were “eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.” (Matthew 24:37-39) Most people today do not listen to the warnings that God’s servants give. They do not care that we live in urgent times. Just like those who lived in Noah’s day, many today do not believe that God will destroy wicked people. They even laugh about it! (2 Peter 3:3-7) But how did Noah use his time even though those around him did not listen to his warnings?
4. After Jehovah gave Noah a special work to do, how did Noah use his time? Why did he use his time in that way?
4 God told Noah that he was going to destroy all the wicked people, and he gave Noah a special work to do. Noah built an ark to save people and animals. (Genesis 6:13, 14, 22) He also warned about what Jehovah was going to do. The apostle Peter calls Noah “a preacher of righteousness,” which shows that Noah worked hard to help others to understand how serious their situation was. (Read 2 Peter 2:5.) Do you think that it would have been wise for Noah and his family to use their time to start a business, to become more successful than others, or to have many nice things for themselves? Of course not! They avoided anything that would distract them from their work because they knew that Jehovah would destroy that world.
AN EGYPTIAN PRINCE MAKES CHOICES
5, 6. (a) Why was Moses taught “all the wisdom of the Egyptians”? (b) Why did Moses choose not to live as an Egyptian prince?
5 Now let us learn from the example of Moses. Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him, and he grew up as a prince in an Egyptian palace. Moses was taught “all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” (Acts 7:22; Exodus 2:9, 10) The Egyptians taught him so that he would be prepared for a career in Pharaoh’s service. He could have become a very important person in the most powerful government at that time. In that position, he would have had many nice things and special honor. But were these important to Moses?
6 When Moses was a child, his real parents taught him about Jehovah. So he must have known what Jehovah had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses had faith in those promises. He must have thought deeply about his future and how he could be loyal to Jehovah. When it was time for Moses to choose whether he would live as an Egyptian prince or as an Israelite slave, what did he decide? Moses chose “to be ill-treated with the people of God rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin.” (Read Hebrews 11:24-26.) Later, he used his life in a way that pleased Jehovah. (Exodus 3:2, 6-10) Why did Moses do that? Because he believed what God had promised and he knew that any success he could have in Egypt would not last. He was right. That nation was soon punished with ten plagues from God. All of Jehovah’s dedicated servants can learn from the example of Moses. Our priority should be Jehovah and his service, not having a career or trying to have nice things in this world.
JEREMIAH KNEW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN
7. How was Jeremiah’s situation like ours?
7 The prophet Jeremiah also put Jehovah’s service first in his life. Jehovah chose Jeremiah to be his prophet and gave him a special work to do. Jeremiah had to preach the message that Jehovah would judge the people of Jerusalem and Judah because they were worshipping false gods. Jeremiah’s situation was like ours. He too lived during a “final part of the days.” (Jeremiah 23:19, 20) He was sure the system he lived in would not last.
8, 9. (a) Why did God need to correct the way Baruch was thinking? (b) What should we remember when we make plans?
8 What did Jeremiah not do because of what he believed? He did not try to have a future in that system that would be destroyed. It would have been foolish to do so. But Baruch, who was Jeremiah’s secretary, began to think differently. That is why God told Jeremiah to correct Baruch by saying: “Look! What I have built up I am tearing down, and what I have planted I am uprooting, even all the land itself. But as for you, you keep seeking great things for yourself. Do not keep on seeking. For here I am bringing in a calamity upon all flesh.” Then Jehovah promised Baruch that he would survive the destruction of Jerusalem.—Jeremiah 45:4, 5.
9 We cannot be sure what “great things” Baruch wanted for himself. * (See footnote.) We do know that these things would not last. They would be destroyed when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem in the year 607 before Christ. What do we learn from this? We have to make some plans to make sure we have what we need to live now. (Proverbs 6:6-11) But would it be wise for us to use a lot of our time and energy to have things that will not last? It is true that Jehovah’s organization continues to make plans for new Kingdom Halls, branch offices, and other projects. But these plans are different because they support the Kingdom. So when Jehovah’s dedicated people make plans, God’s Kingdom should also be a priority in their life. Are you seeking first the Kingdom and Jehovah’s righteousness?—Matthew 6:33.
HE THOUGHT THAT IT WAS “A LOT OF REFUSE”
10, 11. (a) What was important to Paul before he became a Christian? (b) Why did Paul’s priorities change completely?
10 Let us now discuss the example of the apostle Paul. Before he became a Christian, everybody thought that he would have a very good career. He had studied Jewish law with one of the most famous teachers at that time. The Jewish high priest trusted him and gave him an important job. And he was becoming more successful in the Jewish religion than many other people of his age. (Acts 9:1, 2; 22:3; 26:10; Galatians 1:13, 14) But Paul’s life changed completely when he realized that Jehovah had rejected the Jews as a nation.
11 For this reason, Paul knew that a career in the Jewish system was worth nothing to Jehovah. That nation had no future. (Matthew 24:2) Paul understood God’s purposes, and he knew that it was a great honor to do the preaching work. He even said that he thought that the priorities he had before were “a lot of refuse,” or garbage. Paul left the Jewish religion and used the rest of his life on earth to preach the good news.—Read Philippians 3:4-8, 15; Acts 9:15.
EXAMINE YOUR PRIORITIES
12. What was Jesus’ priority after he was baptized?
12 Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, Paul, and many others used most of their time and energy in Jehovah’s service. They are good examples for us to imitate. Of course, Jesus is the best example for all dedicated servants of Jehovah. (1 Peter 2:21) After Jesus was baptized, he used the rest of his life on earth to preach the good news and give honor to Jehovah. So serving Jehovah should be a priority for every Christian who follows the example of Jesus and accepts Jehovah as his Master. Is serving Jehovah your priority? How can we do more for Jehovah and at the same time care for other responsibilities?—Read Psalm 71:15; 145:2.
13, 14. (a) What are all Christians encouraged to pray about? (b) What will make God’s people happy?
13 For many years, Jehovah’s organization has encouraged Christians to pray about whether they could pioneer. The circumstances of some faithful servants of Jehovah do not allow them to preach 70 hours each month. They should not feel bad about this. (1 Timothy 5:8) But what is your situation? Can you pioneer?
14 Think about the joy that many of God’s people had during the month of March. It was the month before the Memorial, and auxiliary pioneers had the special opportunity to choose whether they would preach for 30 or 50 hours. (Psalm 110:3) Millions of brothers and sisters auxiliary pioneered. You could feel the great excitement and joy in the congregations. Can you adjust your schedule so that you can auxiliary pioneer more often? When a baptized Christian pioneers, he feels happy at the end of each day and can say, “Jehovah, I did everything I could in your service.”
15. What goal should a young Christian have while he is in school?
15 If you are a young Christian who is close to finishing your schooling, you probably have good health and few responsibilities. Have you thought seriously about regular pioneering? Your teachers probably believe that going to college or university is the best way that you can plan your future. Their trust is in human organizations and in money. But these have no future. If you make Jehovah’s service your career, you will be using your time well and will be doing something that will give you a lasting future. You will be imitating the perfect example of Jesus. This is a wise decision that will make you happy. It will protect you. It will show that you will not let anything stop you from keeping your promise to serve Jehovah.—Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Timothy 6:9-12.
16, 17. What questions should Christians ask themselves about their service to Jehovah?
16 Many of God’s servants today must work many hours to make sure that their families have their basic needs. But some may be working more hours than they need to. (1 Timothy 6:8) The world is doing all it can to make us believe that we should buy every new thing there is because we cannot live without it. But true Christians do not want Satan and his world to decide their priorities. (1 John 2:15-17) What about the situation of those who have retired from work? The best thing they can do is to use their time to pioneer and put Jehovah’s service first.
17 All dedicated servants of Jehovah can ask themselves: What is most important in my life? Do I put Jehovah’s service first? Do I imitate Jesus and show that I am willing to use my time and energy to serve God? Do I listen to Jesus and keep following him? Can I adjust my schedule so that I can do more in the preaching work or other activities in Jehovah’s service? Even if I cannot do more now, do I try to find ways to use my time and energy for Jehovah?
“TO WILL AND TO ACT”
18, 19. What can you pray for? Why would this prayer make Jehovah happy?
18 It is wonderful to see the zeal of God’s people. But some who could pioneer may not have the desire to do it or they may think that they do not have enough skill. (Exodus 4:10; Jeremiah 1:6) What if you feel this way? Pray to Jehovah for help. Paul said that Jehovah wants to help us “to will and to act.” (Philippians 2:13) So if you do not have the desire to do more in your ministry, ask Jehovah to give you both the desire and the skill.—2 Peter 3:9, 11.
19 Noah, Moses, Jeremiah, Paul, and Jesus were all faithful men. They used their time and energy to preach Jehovah’s warning message. They did not allow anything to distract them from their work. The end of this system of things is very near. So all of us who have dedicated our lives to God need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to imitate these excellent examples from the Bible. (Matthew 24:42; 2 Timothy 2:15) By following their examples, we can make Jehovah happy, and he will bless us.—Read Malachi 3:10.
^ par. 9 See God’s Word for Us Through Jeremiah, pages 104-106.
SOME EXPRESSIONS EXPLAINED
Priorities: The most important things in a person’s life
[Blurb on page 24]
Paul used his life to preach the good news
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If you make Jehovah’s service your career, you will have a lasting future
[Blurb on page 26]
Pray about whether you can pioneer
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People did not listen to Noah’s warning
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Have you thought seriously of becoming a regular pioneer?