WHEN the Israelites left Babylon in the year 537 before Christ, Jehovah was very interested in their trip back to Jerusalem. He told them: “Clear the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway. Rid it of stones.” (Isaiah 62:10) What might they have done to obey this command? Maybe a group of Israelites went ahead of their brothers and filled in ditches or smoothed rough parts of the road. Certainly this effort would have made the trip back home much easier.
In a similar way, we follow a path as we care for different assignments in Jehovah’s service. And Jehovah wants us to care for these with as few obstacles as possible. To succeed in that effort, we all can benefit from the following advice found in the Bible: “Smooth out the course of your feet, and all your ways will be sure.”
MAKE GOOD DECISIONS
The Bible says: “The glory of young men is their strength.” (Proverbs 20:29) Most young people are healthy, energetic, intelligent, and eager to succeed in life. Adults often see the abilities and talents of young people and hope that they will reach their full potential. Young people will be truly happy if they use their talents and abilities in Jehovah’s service.
Some people in the world also appreciate the abilities and talents of our young ones. For example, many Witnesses do well in school, so teachers and other students may try to persuade them to pursue higher education. Or young ones who are good at playing sports may be encouraged by others to make this a career. Perhaps you or someone you know is facing this situation. What will help a Christian to make wise decisions?
Bible principles can help us as we follow a path that leads to a successful future in Jehovah’s service. Consider, for example, what the Bible says at Ecclesiastes 12:1: “Remember, then, your Grand Creator in the days of your youth.” How can you or a young person you know remember Jehovah?
Let us consider the story of a young brother in West Africa named Eric. * (See footnote.) He loved soccer. By the time he was 15, he was playing on a national team. He would likely have the opportunity to receive the best training in Europe, perhaps even becoming a professional soccer player. During this time, Eric began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. How would he be able to “remember” Jehovah? And what can we learn from his experience?
From his study of the Bible, Eric learned that God will solve all mankind’s problems. As a result, he realized that doing God’s will was far more important than soccer. So he got baptized and used his time and energy in Jehovah’s service. Eventually, he became a ministerial servant, assisting the congregation. And instead of receiving training to play professional soccer, he later received Christian training at the Bible School for Single Brothers.
If he had become a professional soccer player, Eric may have become rich and famous. But he realized that the Bible is right when it says: “The wealth of the rich is his fortified city; it is like a protective wall in his imagination.” (Proverbs 18:11) Money can fool people. It does not give them real security. Instead, those who try to become rich often ‘stab themselves with many pains.’
Many young people feel happy and secure in the full-time service. Eric says: “I have joined a large ‘team’ of full-time servants of Jehovah. That is the best team I can belong to, and I thank Jehovah for showing me the only way to true happiness and success in life.”
What about you? Instead of setting goals in this world, can you follow a path that will help you to enjoy more opportunities in Jehovah’s service? Can you make real efforts to become a pioneer?
REMOVING OBSTACLES FROM YOUR WAY
While visiting the United States branch office, one couple saw how happy the Bethelites were. Later, the sister wrote: “We had become too comfortable in our routine.” So the couple decided to make better use of their time and energy in Jehovah’s service.
It was overwhelming for the couple to make the needed changes. But one day, they considered what Jesus said at John 8:31: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples.” They realized that to be true disciples of Jesus, they had to make sacrifices. They reasoned: “Whatever we do to simplify life is worth the sacrifice.” They sold their large house, got rid of other unnecessary things, and moved to a congregation that needed help. Now they are pioneering. They also help build Kingdom Halls and volunteer at district conventions. How do they feel about the changes they made? “We are amazed at the joy we have from living a simpler life, doing just what Jehovah’s organization encourages us to do.”
STAY ON THE ROAD
Solomon wrote: “Your eyes should look straight ahead, yes, fix your gaze straight ahead of you.” (Proverbs 4:25) What does this mean? We must stay focused on the path that will lead us to more opportunities in Jehovah’s service. We should avoid distractions that could prevent us from setting and reaching our goals.
What goals might you set? Perhaps you could enter the full-time service. Or maybe you could move to a congregation that has a large territory but only a few publishers. If you are a brother, you may be able to serve in a congregation that needs more elders or ministerial servants. You can speak to your circuit overseer to find out which congregations in your area need assistance. If you would like to serve farther from home, you can ask for more information about distant congregations that need help. *
Let us think again about the scene described at Isaiah 62:10. The Jews needed to reach Jerusalem, so some of them may have worked very hard to prepare the road. Today, you too need to continue making efforts to reach your goals. Never give up. With Jehovah’s help you can reach those goals. Ask him for wisdom when you try to remove any obstacles. Eventually, you will see how God can help you “smooth out the course of your feet.”