“It is good to make melody to our God.”
1, 2. (a) What happens when we think and speak about someone we love? (See opening picture.) (b) What questions will we talk about?
WHEN we think and speak about someone we love, our friendship with that person becomes stronger. The same is true of our friendship with Jehovah God. As a shepherd, David spent many nights looking at the stars and meditating on how amazing the Creator is. He wrote: “When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is mortal man that you keep him in mind, and the son of earthling man that you take care of him?” (Psalm 8:3, 4) And when the apostle Paul wrote about the wonderful way Jehovah was making His purpose for anointed Christians come true, he exclaimed: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!”
2 When we go out in the ministry, we think and talk about Jehovah. This strengthens our friendship with him. Many pioneers have felt that their love for God has become even deeper because they are able to spend more time in the ministry. This article will help both pioneers and those who want to become pioneers to think carefully about these questions: How can pioneering strengthen your relationship with Jehovah? If you are pioneering, what will help you to continue in this special service? If you are not pioneering yet, what can you do to start? Let us first talk about ways that pioneering can strengthen our friendship with God.
HOW PIONEERING STRENGTHENS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
3. How does talking about future Kingdom blessings help us?
3 When we talk about future Kingdom blessings, we become closer to Jehovah. What is your favorite scripture to use when you go from house to house? Maybe it is Psalm 37:10, 11; Daniel 2:44; John 5:28, 29; or Revelation 21:3, 4. Each time we talk about these promises with others, we are reminded that “every good gift and every perfect present” comes from our generous God, Jehovah. This draws us closer to him.
4. Why do we become even more grateful for God’s goodness when we preach to others?
4 When we see how unhappy and helpless most people are, we become even more grateful for the truth. People in the world do not receive the help they need to have true success and happiness. Most worry about the future and have no hope. They search for the meaning of life. Even most who are religious know very little about the Bible. They are much like the people of Nineveh. (Read Jonah 4:11.) The more time we spend speaking to people in the ministry, the more we realize how well Jehovah takes care of us. (Isaiah 65:13) But Jehovah does more than take care of the needs of only his people. He gives everyone a chance to receive comfort and to have a real hope. This reminds us of how good Jehovah really is.
5. How does teaching others the truth make us feel about our own problems?
5 When we teach others the truth, we learn not to worry so much about our own problems. Trisha, who is a regular pioneer, says that she was extremely upset when her parents got divorced. One day she was especially sad and did not feel like going out in the ministry. But she went to conduct a Bible study anyway. The study was with three children who were growing up in a family with many problems. Their father had abandoned them, and their older brother had treated them cruelly. Trisha says: “Any problem or heartache I was dealing with was nothing compared to theirs. As we studied, their little eyes would light up and they would giggle with excitement and joy. Those children were a gift from Jehovah, especially that day.”
When we teach others the truth, we learn not to worry so much about our own problems
6, 7. (a) How is our faith strengthened when we teach Bible truths? (b) How do we feel when we see Bible principles help our students improve their lives?
6 When we teach Bible truths to others, our faith in these truths becomes stronger. The apostle Paul wrote of some Jews in his day who did not do what they taught others to do: “Do you, however, the one teaching someone else, not teach yourself?” (Romans 2:21) Pioneers usually have many opportunities to teach the truth to others and conduct Bible studies. To do this well, they must first teach themselves. They must prepare for each study and perhaps do research to answer questions. A pioneer named Janeen explains that each time she teaches the truth to others, her own faith in these truths becomes stronger.
7 When we see that Bible principles help our students improve their lives, we value God’s wisdom even more. (Isaiah 48: 17, 18) This makes us want to continue to use these principles in our own life. Adrianna, another pioneer, says: “People’s lives can be a mess when they rely on their own wisdom. But when they start relying on Jehovah’s wisdom, the benefits begin right away.” A pioneer named Phil says that he is amazed to see how people are able to change their lives with Jehovah’s help.
8. How does working with our brothers and sisters in the ministry help us?
8 We are encouraged by working with our brothers and sisters in the ministry. (Proverbs 13:20) Pioneers spend a lot of time in the ministry with their brothers and sisters. This gives them more opportunities for “an interchange of encouragement.” (Romans 1: 12; read Proverbs 27:17.) A pioneer named Lisa explains that at her place of work, people are jealous of one another and will do anything to get ahead of others. Every day she hears people gossip and curse. She adds: “At times, you are ridiculed or mocked because of your Christian conduct. However, working in the ministry with fellow Christians is truly upbuilding. At the end of the day, I come home refreshed, no matter how tired I am.”
‘Each year that my husband and I pioneer together, we grow closer.’
9. When husband and wife pioneer together, how does this help their marriage?
9 When we pioneer with our mate, our marriage becomes stronger. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) Madeline, who pioneers with her husband, explains: “My husband and I are able to spend time talking about our day in the ministry or something in our Bible reading that can be applied in our ministry. Each year that we pioneer together, we grow closer.” A pioneer named Trisha says that she and her husband have agreed not to buy things that they cannot afford. As a result, they do not fight about money. They also call on their return visits and conduct their Bible studies together. This has helped their marriage to become even stronger.
10. When we put the Kingdom first and feel God’s support, what happens to our trust in Jehovah?
10 Our trust in Jehovah increases as we put the Kingdom first, feel Jehovah’s support, and see him answer our prayers. It is true that all loyal Christians trust in Jehovah. But pioneers find that it is only by trusting in Jehovah that they can continue pioneering. (Read Matthew 6:30-34.) Curt, who is a pioneer and serves as a substitute circuit overseer, agreed to visit a congregation two and a half hours from his home. He and his wife, who is also a pioneer, had enough gasoline in their car to get to the congregation but not enough to return home, and his payday was a week away. Curt says that they were not sure if they had made the right decision. But they prayed and decided they should go. They trusted that God would care for their needs. Just before they left, a sister called and said that she had a gift for them. It was the exact amount of money they needed for the trip. Curt says that when things like that happen again and again, it is easy to see that it is Jehovah who is giving us what we need.
11. What are some of the blessings that pioneers enjoy?
11 Pioneers have often said that the closer they get to God and the more they do in his service, the more blessings they receive. (Deuteronomy 28:2) But pioneering is not always easy. We all suffer because of imperfection and because of this wicked world. Sometimes problems may cause pioneers to stop their service for a while. But it is often possible to solve or even to avoid these problems. What can help pioneers to continue in their special service?
HOW TO CONTINUE PIONEERING
12, 13. (a) What should a pioneer do if he is having trouble reaching the hour requirement? (b) Why is it so important to make time to read the Bible every day, do personal study, and meditate?
12 Most pioneers are very busy. It can be hard to get everything done, so it is important to be well organized. (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40) If a pioneer is having trouble reaching the hour requirement, he should think carefully about how he is using his time. (Ephesians 5:15, 16) He might ask: ‘Am I spending too much time in recreation? Could I change my work schedule? Do I spend a lot of time doing things that are unnecessary?’ Pioneers need to ask themselves these questions regularly and make changes if needed.
13 A pioneer must make time in his schedule to read the Bible every day, do personal study, and meditate. A pioneer needs to make sure that less important things do not take time away from those necessary things. (Philippians 1:10) For example, imagine that a pioneer comes home after a long day in the ministry. He plans to use the evening to prepare for the next meeting. But first he reads his mail. Then he turns on the computer and reads and answers e-mail. While he is online, he checks to see the price of something he wants to buy. Before he realizes it, almost two hours have passed and he has not yet begun to prepare for the meeting. Why is this a problem? Well, if an athlete wants to have a long career, he must regularly eat healthy food. In the same way, a pioneer needs regular personal study to stay in the pioneer work.
A pioneer must make time to read the Bible every day, do personal study, and meditate
14, 15. (a) Why should pioneers keep their life simple? (b) If a pioneer has difficulties, what should he do?
14 Successful pioneers do their best to keep their life simple. This is what Jesus encouraged his disciples to do. (Matthew 6:22) He kept his own life simple so that he could give all of his attention to the ministry. He once said that foxes and birds have homes, “but the Son of man has nowhere to lay down his head.” (Matthew 8:20) Pioneers who learn from Jesus’ example remember that the more things they have, the more they will have to maintain, repair, or replace.
15 Pioneers realize that their service is special, but they do not think that they are better than others. Instead, they know that pioneer service is a gift from Jehovah. So to continue in this service, each pioneer must trust in Jehovah. (Philippians 4:13) There will be difficulties. (Psalm 34:19) When that happens, pioneers should ask Jehovah for direction and give him the opportunity to help, instead of quickly giving up their pioneer service. (Read Psalm 37:5.) As they see how Jehovah lovingly cares for them, their friendship with him will become stronger.
CAN YOU BECOME A PIONEER?
16. If you would like to pioneer, what should you do?
16 If you would like to pioneer and have the same blessings that pioneers have, pray to Jehovah about it. (1 John 5:14, 15) Talk to those who are pioneering. Set goals that will help you become a pioneer. That is what Keith and Erika did. Like many couples their age, they had been working full-time and had bought a house and a new car soon after they got married. They say, “We thought those things would bring us satisfaction
17. Why would it be wise to think carefully about whether you can pioneer?
17 Can you become a pioneer? If you feel that you are not able to pioneer right now, do all you can to get closer to Jehovah by doing your best in the ministry. If you pray to Jehovah and think carefully about your situation, you may realize that making some changes in your life will allow you to pioneer. When you start pioneering, your joy will be much greater than any sacrifices you will make. You will be happy because you are putting God’s Kingdom first in your life and because you are giving more to others. (Matthew 6:33) You will have more opportunities to think and talk about Jehovah, and this will deepen your love for him and make him happy.