“I will give you advice with my eye upon you.”
1, 2. How does Jehovah feel about each of his servants?
WHEN parents watch their little ones play, they are often amazed by the abilities that their children have. You may have seen this too. One child may be good at playing sports, while another likes drawing or making things. Whatever those abilities are, parents enjoy helping their children to reach their full potential, in other words, to do the very best they can.
2 As a loving parent, Jehovah is interested in his servants. They are “precious” to him especially because they are faithful and loyal to him. (Haggai 2:7) Yet, you may have noticed that your brothers and sisters also have many different talents and abilities. For example, some brothers are excellent speakers, and others are good organizers. Many sisters are good at learning foreign languages and use them in the ministry. Others are good at caring for the needs of the sick or giving encouragement to those who need it. (Romans 16:1, 12) We are deeply grateful to be in the congregation with all such brothers and sisters.
3. What questions will we discuss in this article?
3 Some Christians, especially young or newly baptized brothers, may feel that they have not yet found their place in the congregation. How can we help them reach their full potential? Why should we try to imitate Jehovah and look for the good qualities in our brothers?
JEHOVAH SEES THE GOOD IN US
4, 5. What did Jehovah see in Gideon? What do we learn from Jehovah’s example?
4 The Bible shows that Jehovah not only sees the good qualities of his servants but also sees their potential. For example, Jehovah chose Gideon to free the Israelites from their enemies the Midianites. Gideon felt unimportant, so he must have been shocked when an angel told him: “Jehovah is with you, you mighty warrior.” Gideon did not feel “mighty” at all, and he felt unable to save God’s people. But Jehovah saw things differently. He saw what Gideon was capable of and knew that He could use Gideon to save Israel.
Jehovah sees the good qualities and the potential of his servants
5 Jehovah had full confidence in Gideon because He knew his potential. For example, Jehovah saw that when Gideon beat and prepared wheat, he worked with all his strength. Also, farmers usually worked outside, but Gideon was preparing the wheat inside a winepress so that the Midianites would not see his crop and steal it. Jehovah saw that Gideon was more than a hard worker. He was a clever man who was able to understand a situation and make wise decisions to avoid danger. Yes, Jehovah saw Gideon’s abilities and trained him.
6, 7. (a) How was Jehovah’s view of Amos different from that of some Israelites? (b) How do we know that Amos was not a poor choice?
6 Similarly, Jehovah saw potential in the prophet Amos. To many, he may have seemed to be a quiet, unimportant man. He was doing very simple work as a shepherd and a field worker. But Jehovah assigned Amos to correct the ten tribes of Israel who had stopped worshipping Him. Some Israelites might have thought that Amos was a poor choice. Why?
7 Amos came from an isolated village. But he knew a lot about the customs and the rulers surrounding him, perhaps from men who traveled through his village on business. For example, Amos knew much about the nations nearby and the bad conditions in Israel. (Amos 1:6, 9, 11, 13; 2:8; 6:4-6) Also, Amos was a good writer. He was able to use simple but powerful words. He was not afraid to condemn the corrupt priest Amaziah. Truly, Jehovah had chosen the right person to deliver his message. He saw abilities in Amos that others may not have seen.
Jehovah wants to help each of us to reach our full potential
8. (a) What did Jehovah promise to do for David? (b) Why is Psalm 32:8 encouraging to those who might not be confident about their abilities?
8 Jehovah notices the abilities of all of his servants, and he wants to help each of us to do the very best we can. For example, Jehovah promised that he would guide David and give him the advice he needed. (Read Psalm 32:8.) Why is this encouraging to us? Even though we may not be confident in ourselves, Jehovah can help us to do more than we ever imagined. Just as a good teacher might guide an inexperienced student every step of the way, Jehovah guides us so that we can reach our full potential. And he may use our brothers and sisters to help us to do that. In what ways?
LOOK FOR THE GOOD IN OTHERS
9. How can we “look out” for the interests of our brothers and sisters?
9 Paul encouraged all Christians to “look out” for the interests of their brothers and sisters. (Read Philippians 2:3, 4.) What was included in this counsel? That we should notice the abilities of our brothers and mention them. How do you feel when someone notices a good quality in you? You feel like making more progress. The same is true with our brothers. If we take the time to notice the efforts that our brothers make, they will be encouraged to make progress and succeed in their service to Jehovah.
10. Who especially need our attention?
10 At times, we all need attention from others. But young or newly baptized brothers especially need to feel involved in the congregation. This will help them to understand that they are a useful part of Jehovah’s people. The Bible encourages these brothers to qualify for more responsibilities. (1 Timothy 3:1) But if they do not feel appreciated for the work that they do, this may discourage them from doing more in Jehovah’s service.
11. (a) How did one elder help a young brother to make progress? (b) What do you learn from Julien’s experience?
11 An elder named Ludovic says that when sincere interest is shown in a brother, he makes progress more quickly. One such brother was Julien. Ludovic noticed that Julien was shy, and when he tried to do more in the congregation, Julien was unsure of himself and behaved in an awkward way. Ludovic says, “But I could see that he was very kind and really wanted to help.” So instead of criticizing Julien, Ludovic focused on his good qualities and encouraged him. As a result, Julien was able to qualify to become a ministerial servant and later a regular pioneer.
HELP THEM REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL
12. What must we do in order to help our brothers? Give an example.
12 If we want to help our brothers to reach their full potential, we need to see more than their weaknesses. We need to look for their good qualities and abilities. Jesus was able to do this with the apostle Peter. At times, Peter did not seem to be dependable. But Jesus saw good qualities in him and gave him the name Peter, which means “A Piece of Rock.” Hence, Jesus said that he would become as stable as a rock.
We should look for the good qualities and abilities of our brothers
13, 14. (a) How did Barnabas view young Mark? (b) How did Alexandre benefit from the help he received from an elder? (See opening picture.)
13 Let us also review the example of Barnabas and Mark. (Acts 12:25) Mark was supposed to care for the needs of Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary trip. But suddenly, when they reached the area of Pamphylia, Mark abandoned them. Paul and Barnabas were left to travel alone through a dangerous region. (Acts 13:5, 13) What did Barnabas do? It seems that he focused on Mark’s good qualities, not on his weaknesses. He did not view Mark as unreliable. Instead, Barnabas later trained Mark, and as a result, he became a mature Christian. (Acts 15:37-39) Years later, Mark was in Rome assisting Paul, who was in prison. And when Paul wrote to the Colossians, he spoke well of Mark. (Colossians 4:10) Can you imagine how pleased Barnabas must have felt when Paul even asked for Mark’s help?
14 An elder named Alexandre remembers how a brother helped him: “When I was younger, saying a prayer in public was a real struggle for me. An elder showed me how to prepare myself and be more relaxed. Instead of not calling on me anymore, he gave me opportunities to pray regularly at meetings for field service. In time, I became more confident.”
15. How did Paul show that he valued his brothers?
15 What do you do when you see good qualities in other Christians? Do you commend them? In Romans chapter 16, Paul acknowledged more than 20 of his brothers and sisters for qualities that he valued. (Romans 16:3-7, 13) For example, Paul commended Andronicus and Junias because they had been serving Christ longer than he had and because of their endurance. Paul also mentioned the mother of Rufus for the loving care she had given him.
16. What can result when we commend young ones?
16 We too can have good results when we commend others. Consider the example of Rico, a young boy in France whose father did not serve Jehovah. Rico was very discouraged because his father did not want him to get baptized. He was afraid that he would have to wait until he was an adult to do so. Rico was also sad that children at school made fun of him because of his beliefs. But an elder named Frédéric commended Rico, telling him that the opposition he faced meant that he was courageous enough to preach. As a result of these kind words, Rico was determined to continue making progress, and he improved his relationship with his father. Rico got baptized when he was 12 years old.
17. (a) How can we help our brothers to give Jehovah their best? (b) How did one missionary help young brothers? What was the result?
17 Each time we commend our brothers for something they did well, they will be even more motivated to give Jehovah their best. Sylvie, who has served for years at Bethel in France, says that sisters too can commend brothers. * (See footnote.) She even feels that it is her responsibility to do so. (Proverbs 3:27) Many times, sisters notice details that brothers may not. So when sisters commend brothers for their efforts, this can add to what experienced brothers may say to them. Jérôme, a missionary in French Guiana, has helped many young brothers to set the goal of becoming missionaries. He says that when he compliments young brothers on something specific they did in the ministry or for giving good comments, they become more confident and their abilities improve.
Each time we commend our brothers for something they did well, they will be even more motivated to give Jehovah their best
18. Why is it good to work along with younger brothers?
18 We can also encourage Christians to make progress by working with them. For example, an elder may ask a young brother to print information from jw.org that will be helpful to older ones who have no computer. Or you may ask a young brother to help you with cleaning or repairing the Kingdom Hall. When you make the effort to work with young ones, you will have an opportunity to notice their abilities, to commend them, and to see their progress.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
19, 20. Why should we help others to make progress?
19 Jehovah chose Joshua to lead the Israelites. At that time, God commanded Moses to train, “encourage,” and “strengthen” Joshua. (Read Deuteronomy 3:28.) Today, there are many people who are beginning to worship Jehovah. We need qualified brothers to take the lead in the organization. So all in the congregation must help young or newly baptized brothers reach their full potential. As a result, more and more brothers will enter the full-time service, and a greater number of them will be “qualified to teach.”
20 Whether our congregation is large and has a lot of experienced brothers or whether we are part of a small group, we can assist with the future needs of the organization. To do this, we must imitate Jehovah and look for the good in others.
^ par. 17 Name has been changed.