Happiness of Kingdom Ambassadors
1. In what capacity were Jesus’ apostles sent out, and why were their days of ministry happy ones?
JESUS sent out twelve apostles as ambassadors to preach. He “gave them authority over unclean spirits, in order to expel these and to cure every kind of disease and every kind of ailment”. He told them to go to the lost sheep and to “preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’” Their message was to show the Israelites how necessary it was for them to draw near to God and to repent of their wrong ways, and to listen to the Messiah and to acknowledge the kingdom of the heavens which was at hand. The apostles were to give these life-sustaining truths to their hearers, teaching them of the superior government that would bring blessings and life. The things that would be accomplished by this new government were illustrated in a miniature way; for the apostles had power to cure the sick, to raise up the dead, to make lepers clean and to expel demons. All these blessings they gave freely to the people who would hear. (Matt. 10:1-15, NW) The days of their ministry must have been happy ones for them. They gave so much.—See Luke 10:17-21.
2. How had the apostles received, and how did they give as instructed?
2 As Jesus continued giving his instructions to his apostles, he stressed this important thought by saying: “You received free, give free.” The powers that God gave the apostles through Christ Jesus by the holy spirit were not to be used for their own benefit, but to increase the interest of the people in Jehovah’s kingdom. After Pentecost marvelous signs were performed by means of the wonderful gifts of the spirit which were granted to the apostles. But even then the gifts of the spirit were not used by the apostles on themselves or on the congregation of God. The holy spirit or active force was used to heal the sick, to open blind eyes, and to make the lame leap. It was by reason of such miracles performed by the apostles that large crowds were attracted to them and then the apostles talked to the people about the good news of the Kingdom. This was done without money and without price.
3. How did Jesus say that his ambassadors should not let opposers disturb their happiness of giving?
3 The Master pointed out that the workers deserved their food in return for such labors of love. If the people did not appreciate what was being given to them and would not listen to the Word, then the apostles were instructed to move on to another city. If a minister of God was unwelcome in a house, he was to leave that house; or if he was unwelcome in a city, he was to shake the dust off his feet and to go on. Jesus did not instruct the apostles to force the good news of the Kingdom upon the people. The individuals hearing the message had to decide whether they wished to accept it or to rebel against it. Likewise today, if they rebel, why spoil your own happiness by staying? It is best to leave the unfriendly people. In this day and age even in democratic countries where there is freedom of speech and of worship we find individuals, sometimes groups of people, whole towns, who say, “We don’t want you here doing this preaching.” They get the mayor or the police officials after Jehovah’s witnesses, arouse the ire of the people, and have these ministers of God driven out of town. Do you agree that they should then leave? Is that all right? Sure, they will go; they will shake the dust off their feet, and they will remain happy because they have a good message to take to other people in the next town.—Matt. 10:11-15, NW.
4. Are we obliged to force the gift upon others, and so who will accept it and with what result to themselves?
4 Jesus warned that such conditions of opposition would exist, for he said: “Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16, NW) Do not try to force the truth on other people. Jehovah God is not trying to force his Son or the acceptance of his Son upon the world of mankind. He clearly states that whoever voluntarily believes on him shall have everlasting life, but those who do not believe will not be forced to live in the new world under Christ Jesus. Nor does he threaten them with theories of hell-fire and brimstone or purgatory to make them come to his Kingdom arrangement. He is not using inquisition methods as some religious organizations have done and are still doing to force people into his congregation. Jehovah God has something to give to the world of mankind. He is happy to give it to them, and they can accept it if they want to. It is a gift of life-giving truth which Jehovah’s witnesses are bringing to all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues. These words from the Bible are the words of life. Those who have ears to hear will gladly and gratefully accept the truth and thank Jehovah for bringing the knowledge to them. They will gain great happiness, for in a short time they also will share in the service of giving this word of truth to others. So despite all the hardships in the house-to-house work that a Christian may encounter in preaching this gospel of the Kingdom, there is still more happiness in giving than in being the householder standing on the other side of the door, just listening to what is said.
5. No matter how much we give it out, why shall we never run out of truth and consequently happiness?
5 All the apostles and disciples of the early church had much to give to the people, and they gave it with gladness; they gave it freely. There is one thing we are sure of: No matter how much of the truth one might give, he would never run out of it. There is no limit to the speaking of the truth. It is like a stream that comes down out of the mountains, with a source far behind it in the towering, snow-capped peaks. That stream will always flow, and so will the truth of God’s Word always flow. It comes through his organization to all the nations of the earth. We shall never run out of truth or happiness as long as we keep on receiving and giving of what we receive. In fact, the more we give of the truth, the more happiness we shall possess. At the same time the truth will build us up and continue to make us stronger in carrying forth the good news from house to house. If our hearts and minds are filled with this good message from God’s abundance, we cannot refrain from telling it to others. All of God’s people, then, move forward, ‘worshiping Jehovah in holy array.’—Ps. 29:2, AS.
CHEERFUL GIVER LOVED
6, 7. (a) How shall we reap happiness abundantly? (b) How should we get out persons who do not go out in preaching service?
6 Paul told the Corinthians: “But as to this, he that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6, 7, NW) If you know the truth, why should you begrudge it to others? Why should you thus short-change yourself in happiness? On the other hand, God will not compel you to preach it, because he does not love one who is a grudging giver; rather he loves one who is cheerful in his giving. Are you so full of the truth that it flows over, so full that you just cannot hold it in? If you are not that way, then you have not taken in enough truth for yourself. Why have you not been feeding and drinking with Jehovah’s people at their organizational study meetings? Remember, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt. 12:34, NW) Be a cheerful giver and abundantly reap happiness.
7 Sometimes we find persons in the organization of Jehovah’s witnesses who do not go out in the preaching service. How are we going to assist such individuals? Scolding will do no good. It would be much better to talk to such a person and show him the wonderful blessings that are in store for him, reminding him of the things he has received from God through his Word. Each one must resolve in his own heart what he is going to do, whether he will go out in the service of Jehovah and practice true worship, or not. No one should serve under compulsion. Forced praise is not acceptable to the Most High God; cheerful praise is. Just as your knowledge and understanding of his Word is determined by the time and effort you put into study, similarly your fruitage and harvest in the field service will be according to the effort you put forth. If you sow sparingly, if you do not want to plant the seed of truth by preaching the good news of the Kingdom in your territory, then you will not reap bountifully. If you sow plentifully by doing much preaching in your own home town or in an isolated territory that may be assigned to you, then you will reap plentifully.
8. Why do some miss out on good field experiences and so what checkup should we make of ourselves?
8 There are a number of folks who go out in the field service and who wonder why they never have any good experiences. Usually you find that they are working only one or two hours in a month. They are not giving out enough to get happiness from the service. They hardly get started before they quit, and then they wonder why people never come into the truth because of their efforts. How about yourself? Are you paying attention to yourself and your life? You need to! Check yourself: Are you sowing sparingly, just a little bit now and then and never watering what you do sow, never looking after it? Are you afraid to go out and scatter seed abundantly in territory near your house or anywhere else? How do you feel about your service to God? Is it satisfactory? Do you do it grudgingly or under compulsion, or are you happy when others assist you? If you do your service, that is, enough of it, as to God, you will receive a great blessing. Give of your knowledge to others. Plant and reap.
9. How should we accept help for field service, and how should we render it?
9 Your brothers want to assist you, just as Paul wanted to help the Ephesians and the Corinthians and all the other congregations that he had organized. So the company servants, the circuit servants and other servants appointed by the Watch Tower Society want to help you, the Kingdom publishers, become more efficient in the preaching of the good news. Accept their help in loving appreciation. And whatever you do in the field service, you should do because you love Jehovah. Do it because you know it is the right thing to do, because it is your worship of the Most High. Do it because you want the “joy of Jehovah”. Do it because you want the happiness in giving. If you do give the truth freely to others, you will find happiness. Jesus certainly was not unhappy in his service, and it was he who said: “Happy are those who are conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.” (Matt. 5:3, NW) See how happy all those can be who are seeking Jehovah’s kingdom, as Jesus expressed in his lecture on the mount, recorded at Matthew 5:1-13.
THE RESPONSIBILITY TO TALK
10. Are we to leave the talking to Jesus personally, and what did Paul say on this point?
10 Think of the responsibility that rests upon Christians today. Some prefer to think that the whole load of responsibility is upon Jesus Christ and that he did all the necessary preaching in addition to redeeming. Some today look upon Christ as the one who was supposed to do the preaching from house to house, and now all they need to do is to sit down and listen to his words as recorded in the Bible and watch what happens. Do you believe, as do many: “We’ll just wait now until God does something”? The early disciples did not look at it that way and neither do faithful followers of Christ Jesus now. They appreciate and apply what Paul said: “We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us.” In other words, we are God’s ambassadors instead of Christ; or, we can be ambassadors in the name of Christ. But no matter how you construe what Paul said, we are the ones who are commanded to do the talking, representing God. That is why Paul pleaded with all those who would hear his words: “Become reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20, NW) He felt his responsibility; he took hold of the task at hand as an ambassador.
11. Hence we must do the same as who did, and so how are those that mourn happy?
11 If that is the case, then to be ambassadors we must do the same thing that Jesus did when he was upon the earth and “comfort all that mourn”. Certainly Jesus fulfilled Isaiah 61:1, 2, because he did preach good tidings; he did bind up the broken-hearted; he did proclaim liberty to the captives, and he did open the prison to those that were bound. He comforted all that mourned. While Jesus was sitting on the mountain, he said: “Happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted.” (Matt. 5:4, NW) There is much comforting yet to be done, and this can be done only by ambassadors substituting for Christ. The comfort is furnished by their giving the good news they have to others.
12, 13. How are the meek or mild-tempered ones, the ones hungering for righteousness and the merciful happy?
12 One does not have to be hardhearted and domineering to get a place in Jehovah’s new world of righteousness. Just the opposite is essential; for Jesus said at the same time: “Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5, NW) The study of Jehovah’s Word will make one mild-tempered. Those in the old world who are not of a gruff but of a peaceful disposition are the ones who seek after truth and righteousness. They are the kind of people who love living, and Jesus said they are going to inherit the earth. Anyone who is hungering and searching for righteousness is going to be filled, and such ones will also be made happy. Can you think of any greater joy to come to a person than for him to receive a knowledge of the truth and establish his faith to such firmness that he goes out and preaches the good news he has learned? Think of how filled with the truth such a person is, even to the point of overflowing! Yes, it makes those who have studied God’s Word and who rejoice in the wisdom and knowledge they have received from it merciful toward others in sharing the truth with them. The knowledge of the truth changes their lives, and they become mild-tempered and generous. So this quality is expressed in their giving, and they are happy.
13 Many people in the old world show mercy, and the truth will find such ones too. As Jehovah’s witnesses go about the world proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and trying to feed the other sheep, the merciful ones will listen with appreciation. Certainly, “happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy.” (Matt. 5:7, NW) Jehovah God will show mercy to these merciful ones and will not let them go down into everlasting destruction at Armageddon, because they have the right heart condition. These Christ is gathering now as his other sheep and a great many will survive Armageddon. They are pure in heart, happy and peaceable.
14. Why, like the multitude in the mountain, are we astounded at Jesus’ teaching?
14 It was for all such ones that the Master “opened his mouth and began teaching” as he sat there upon the mountain. The things that he taught would bring happiness to any individual with a right heart who would listen and believe. For wise counsel concerning the right course to be taken as a Christian, much can be gained by reading Matthew, chapters five, six and seven, which contain the sermon on the mount. The great crowd who heard that discourse were amazed at the way Jesus taught. He spoke to the people so differently from the scribes and the Pharisees who were the religious leaders of that time. You will find, too, in reading this discourse of Jesus that he spoke altogether differently from the clergy of Christendom today. You, too, will be like the multitude; for “when Jesus finished these sayings, the effect was that the crowds were astounded at his way of teaching; for he was teaching them as a person having authority, and not as their scribes”.—Matt. 7:28, 29, NW.
15. (a) With a view to our happiness, what responsibility is now placed upon us? (b) What has made it possible for Jehovah’s witnesses to preach the good news to the ends of the earth?
15 Christendom’s clergy are not substituting for Christ as ambassadors. So the responsibility is now placed upon us as individuals to give others the knowledge we have; for thereby will come our happiness. Christ Jesus as the Son of God had the authority from his Father to preach this good news of the Kingdom. The command to preach this same message was passed on to the apostles and to the Christians who followed thereafter. Hence today we are ambassadors substituting for Christ. Jehovah’s witnesses have taken up that command to preach, and throughout the world they can be found ‘worshiping Jehovah in holy array’. Each one of them takes his position in Jehovah’s organization, doing with his might what his hands find to do, seeking for opportunities to help others do the same. They have the joy of their Lord Jesus Christ. It is their joy in giving that has made them such earnest ministers of Jehovah God. It is their happiness in giving and their knowing they are right and have the backing of Jehovah that has made it possible for them to preach this good news of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth.