“God . . . energizes you, giving you both the desire and the power to act.”—PHIL. 2:13.
SONG 38 Throw Your Burden on Jehovah
1. What can Jehovah do in order to accomplish his purpose?
JEHOVAH can become whatever is necessary in order to accomplish his purpose. For instance, Jehovah has become a Teacher, a Comforter, and an Evangelizer, just to name a few of his many roles. (Isa. 48:17; 2 Cor. 7:6; Gal. 3:8) Still, he often uses humans to carry out his purposes. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20; 2 Cor. 1:3, 4) Jehovah can also give any of us the wisdom and strength we need in order to become whatever is necessary to fulfill his will. This is all part of the meaning of Jehovah’s name, as it is suggested by a number of scholars.
2. (a) Why may we at times doubt that Jehovah is using us? (b) What will we consider in this article?
2 All of us want to be useful to Jehovah, but some may doubt that Jehovah is using them. Why? Because they feel limited by their age, circumstances, or abilities. On the other hand, others may be quite satisfied with what they are already doing and fail to see the need to make further progress. In this article, we will discuss how Jehovah can equip any one of us to fulfill his purpose. Then, we will examine Bible accounts of how Jehovah gave his servants—both men and women—the desire and the power to act. Finally, we will consider how we can allow Jehovah to use us.
HOW JEHOVAH EQUIPS US
3. In view of what is stated at Philippians 2:13, how may Jehovah give us the desire to act?
3 Read Philippians 2:13. * Jehovah can give us the desire to act. How may he do this? Perhaps we learn of a particular need in the congregation. Or the elders read a letter from the branch office telling us of a need outside our congregation territory. In response, we might ask ourselves, ‘How can I help to fill this need?’ Or maybe we have been invited to accept a challenging assignment, but we wonder if we can do it justice. Or after reading a portion of God’s Word, we may wonder, ‘How can I apply this Bible passage to help others?’ Jehovah will not force us to do anything. But when he sees that we are willing to examine ourselves, Jehovah can give us the desire to follow through and act.
4. How may Jehovah give us the power to act?
4 Jehovah can also give us the power to act. (Isa. 40:29) He can enhance our natural abilities with his holy spirit. (Ex. 35:30-35) Through his organization, Jehovah may teach us how to perform certain tasks. If you are ever unsure about how to carry out an assignment, ask for help. Also, feel free to ask our generous heavenly Father for “power beyond what is normal.” (2 Cor. 4:7; Luke 11:13) The Bible contains many examples of how Jehovah equipped men and women by giving them the desire and the power to act. As we consider some of these accounts, try to think of ways that Jehovah can use you in a similar manner.
WHAT MEN BECAME
5. What do we learn from how and when Jehovah used Moses to deliver His people?
5 Jehovah caused Moses to become a deliverer of the Israelites. But when did Jehovah use him? Was it when Moses felt qualified after being “instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians”? (Acts 7:22-25) No, Jehovah used Moses only after He had shaped him into a humble, mild-tempered man. (Acts 7:30, 34-36) Jehovah gave Moses the courage to stand before the most powerful ruler in Egypt. (Ex. 9:13-19) What do we learn from how and when Jehovah used Moses? Jehovah uses those who display godly qualities and who rely on him for strength.—Phil. 4:13.
6. What do we learn from the way Jehovah used Barzillai to help King David?
6 Centuries later, Jehovah used Barzillai to provide for King David. David and the people were “hungry and tired and thirsty” while fleeing from David’s son, Absalom. Along with others, Barzillai, an old man at this point, risked his life to provide for David and those with him. Barzillai did not conclude that because of his advanced age, he was no longer useful to Jehovah. Rather, he generously used what he had to help God’s servants in need. (2 Sam. 17:27-29) What is the lesson for us? Regardless of our age, Jehovah can use us to fill the needs of fellow believers, either locally or in another land, who lack basic provisions. (Prov. 3:27, 28; 19:17) Even if we cannot care for them directly, we may be able to contribute to the worldwide work so that funds are available to offer relief when and where it is needed.—2 Cor. 8:14, 15; 9:11.
7. How did Jehovah use Simeon, and how might knowing that encourage us?
7 Jehovah promised Simeon, a loyal older man in Jerusalem, that he would not see death before he laid eyes on the Messiah. That promise must have encouraged Simeon greatly, since he had been waiting many years for the Messiah. His faith and endurance were rewarded. One day, “under the power of the spirit,” he came into the temple. There he saw the infant Jesus, and Jehovah used Simeon to deliver a prophecy about this child who would become the Christ. (Luke 2:25-35) Although Simeon likely did not live long enough to see Jesus carry out his earthly ministry, Simeon was grateful for the privilege he had, and the best is yet to come for him! In the new world, that faithful man will see how Jesus’ rulership will be a blessing to all the families of the earth. (Gen. 22:18) We too can be grateful for any privilege Jehovah gives us in his service.
8. How may Jehovah use us as he did Barnabas?
8 In the first century C.E., a generous man named Joseph made himself available to be used by Jehovah. (Acts 4:36, 37) Likely because Joseph excelled at comforting others, the apostles called him Barnabas, meaning “Son of Comfort.” For example, after Saul became a believer, many of the brothers were afraid to approach him because of his reputation as a persecutor of the congregations. However, warmhearted Barnabas came to Saul’s aid, and Saul must have greatly appreciated his kindness. (Acts 9:21, 26-28) Later, the elders in Jerusalem saw the need to provide encouragement to the brothers as far as Antioch of Syria. Whom did they send? Barnabas! They chose well. We are told that Barnabas “began to encourage them all to continue in the Lord with heartfelt resolve.” (Acts 11:22-24) Likewise today, Jehovah can help us to become a “son of comfort” to fellow Christians. For example, he might use us to comfort those who have lost loved ones in death. Or he may move us to visit or make a phone call to someone who is sick or depressed to share a few kind words. Will you allow Jehovah to use you as he did Barnabas?—1 Thess. 5:14.
9. What do we learn from the way Jehovah helped a brother named Vasily to become a capable spiritual shepherd?
9 Jehovah helped a brother named Vasily to become a capable spiritual shepherd. When Vasily was appointed to serve as an elder at age 26, he was afraid that he was not qualified to help the congregation spiritually, especially those who were going through hard times. However, he received valuable training from experienced elders and by attending the Kingdom Ministry School. Vasily worked hard to improve. For instance, he made a list of small goals. As he reached each one, he gradually overcame his fears. He now says: “What scared me back then now brings me much joy. When Jehovah helps me to find the right scripture to comfort a brother or a sister in the congregation, it brings me great satisfaction.” Brothers, if like Vasily you make yourself available to be used by Jehovah, he can give you the ability to care for greater responsibility in the congregation.
WHAT WOMEN BECAME
10. What did Abigail do, and what lesson do you learn from her example?
10 David and those loyal to him were being chased by King Saul, and they needed help. David’s men asked a wealthy Israelite named Nabal for a little food, whatever the man had on hand. They felt free to ask because they had been protecting Nabal’s flocks in the wilderness. But selfish Nabal refused to give them anything. David became furious and intended to wipe out Nabal and every male of his household. (1 Sam. 25:3-13, 22) However, Nabal’s wife, Abigail, was as discerning as she was beautiful. Showing great courage, she fell at David’s feet and urged him not to incur bloodguilt by taking revenge. She tactfully advised him to leave matters in Jehovah’s hands. Abigail’s humble words and discreet actions touched David’s heart. He rightly concluded that Jehovah had sent her. (1 Sam. 25:23-28, 32-34) Abigail had cultivated qualities that made her useful to Jehovah. Similarly, Christian sisters who develop tact and discernment can be used by Jehovah to build up their families and others in the congregation.—Prov. 24:3; Titus 2:3-5.
11. What did the daughters of Shallum do, and who today are imitating them?
11 Many centuries later, the daughters of Shallum were among those whom Jehovah used to share in repairing the walls of Jerusalem. (Neh. 2:20; 3:12) Although their father was a prince, Shallum’s daughters were willing to do that difficult and dangerous work. (Neh. 4:15-18) What a contrast to the prominent men of the Tekoites, who “would not lower themselves to share” in the work! (Neh. 3:5) Just imagine the joy that Shallum’s daughters felt when the project was completed in just 52 days! (Neh. 6:15) In our day, willing sisters are happy to help perform a special form of sacred service—the construction and maintenance of buildings that are dedicated to Jehovah. Their skill, enthusiasm, and loyalty are vital to the success of this work.
12. How might Jehovah use us as he did Tabitha?
12 Jehovah motivated Tabitha to abound in “good deeds and gifts of mercy,” particularly in behalf of widows. (Acts 9:36) Because of her outstanding generosity and kindness, many mourned when she died. But they were overjoyed when the apostle Peter resurrected her. (Acts 9:39-41) What do we learn from Tabitha? Whether young or old, male or female, we can all do practical things to help our brothers and sisters.—Heb. 13:16.
13. How was a shy sister named Ruth used by Jehovah, and what did she conclude?
13 A shy sister named Ruth wanted to become a missionary. As a young girl, she rushed from house to house, distributing printed tracts. “I really enjoyed this work,” she stated. Yet, talking at the doors and personally telling others about God’s Kingdom was a challenge for her. Despite being shy, Ruth became a regular pioneer at age 18. In 1946, she attended the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead and later served in Hawaii and Japan. Jehovah used her in a powerful way to spread the good news in those lands. After nearly 80 years of sharing in the ministry, Ruth concluded: “Jehovah has been a strengthening aid to me. He has helped me to overcome my shyness. I firmly believe that Jehovah can use anyone who puts trust in him.”
ALLOW JEHOVAH TO USE YOU
14. According to Colossians 1:29, what must we do if we are to be used by Jehovah?
14 Throughout history, Jehovah has caused his servants to fulfill many different roles. What will he cause you to become? Much depends on how willing you are to exert yourself. (Read Colossians 1:29.) If you make yourself available, Jehovah can cause you to become a zealous evangelizer, an effective teacher, a capable comforter, a skilled worker, a supportive friend, or whatever else he needs to accomplish his will.
15. Just as instructed at 1 Timothy 4:12, 15, what should young brothers today beg Jehovah to help them to do?
15 What about you young brothers who are approaching adulthood? There is a great need for energetic men to take on added responsibility as ministerial servants. In many congregations the elders outnumber the ministerial servants. Could some of you young brothers cultivate the desire to shoulder additional responsibilities in the congregation? At times some brothers say, “I am happy just to serve as a regular publisher.” If that is the way you feel, beg Jehovah to help you to cultivate the desire to qualify as a ministerial servant and to give you the power to do all you can in loving service to him. (Eccl. 12:1) We need your help!—Read 1 Timothy 4:12, 15.
16. What should we ask Jehovah for, and why?
16 Jehovah can cause you to become whatever he needs to accomplish his will. So ask him for the desire to do his work, and then ask him to give you the power you need. Whether young or old, use your time, energy, and assets to honor Jehovah now. (Eccl. 9:10) Never allow fear or feelings of inadequacy to make you pass up precious opportunities to do all you can in Jehovah’s service. What a privilege we all have in playing even a small part in bringing our loving Father the honor he deserves!
SONG 29 Walking in integrity
^ par. 5 Do you feel limited in your service to Jehovah? Do you wonder if you are still useful to him? Or do you fail to see the need to make yourself available to serve Jehovah however he wants? This article will consider various ways that Jehovah can give you the desire and the power to become whatever is necessary to fulfill his purpose.
^ par. 3 Although Paul wrote his letter to Christians living in the first century, in principle, his words apply to all servants of Jehovah.