“Work the Works of God”
JEHOVAH God works. His Son Christ Jesus is his “master workman”. All the holy angels of the universe work. Man must work. Every work of Jehovah God is an honor and credit to him. They tell of his glory and power and praise him day by day. “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” His wondrous works are seen all about us. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language; their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”—John 5:17; Prov. 8:30, AS; 2 Thess. 3:10; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 19:1-4, AS.
Those who are invited to take part in the works of Jehovah should seize the opportunity, because there is nothing that can possibly be more refreshing or exhilarating to him. In addition to refreshing one, to work the works of God brings happiness and ultimately salvation to the creature. For one to accept to do the works of God means for one to accept more of His energy and use such to shine forth His glory. Those who were energized with God’s spirit at Pentecost were heard “speaking in . . . tongues about the magnificent things of God”.—Acts 2:11, NW.
The creature must accept to do God’s will willingly. No one is hoodwinked or forced into it. Showing that there would be willing servants responding to do God’s will, the inspired Word says: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” His people enjoy working, find happiness and peace in their work, and really love to work.
CONTRASTING VIEWS ABOUT WORK
How unlike the present attitude of the old world toward work is this! Most people of the world today do not really enjoy working; at least, that is the impression they leave. The vogue is to do only that which is absolutely essential to the general welfare of the people, and as little of that as one can possibly get away with. A good many are born lazy, or they get that way shortly after birth, perhaps by copying their parents. Selfishness drives the more ambitious ones roughshod over their fellow man into habits of greed. Most of these operate on the principle, “Get all you can, and then hold all you get.” To appease the lackadaisical and to pamper the lazy, the work day has been cut down to but a few hours; the work week to but a few days, and the work month into saint days, patriotic days and holidays. Man will work, but today’s examples show a definite lack of will to work.
On the other hand, those who work the works of God love their work. Such ones do not show any regard for time. They are not clock watchers nor bench warmers nor just plain loafers. Such ones do not care to loaf, they enjoy working and very few things distract them from their work. When away, they miss it. If ill, they often insist on working, whereas the lazy and indifferent will slack at the slightest provocation. One who works the work of God does not say, “Oh, I wish I were dead, so I wouldn’t have to work.” To him death is an enemy. His desire is to live so that he can work. He appreciates that life is a gift from God; that there is ‘no work nor device in the grave’, where dead men go. He loves life. He loves his work; and the man that finds pleasure in doing God’s will, happy is he.
GOD’S WILL RESPECTING CREATURES
The work of Jehovah God at this time is reflected in the course of his Son. Jesus brought a work of ministry to this earth. Said he: “We must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the world’s light.” (John 9:4, 5, NW) During this three and a half years of ministry he tramped throughout Palestine preaching and teaching the kingdom of God as mankind’s only hope. He ministered in the synagogues, the homes of the people, along mountainsides, by the seashores, everywhere that the people gathered, there he taught them. He put his life into his ministry. He practiced his faith. His daily conduct, his integrity under strain and provocation, his diligent ministry, his entire life provided a perfect pattern for us to follow. (1 Pet. 2:21) He said in his sermon on the mount: “You are the light of the world. . . . let your light shine before mankind, that they may see your right works and give glory to your Father who is in the heavens.” (Matt. 5:14, 16, NW) Christians take up the work where he left off. Their assignment too is great. In order to accomplish it they must follow closely in his footsteps. They, as he, must learn God’s will. They too must dedicate their lives as he did to Jehovah God and his work.
Jesus very simply put it this way: “‘Work, not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you, for upon this one the Father, even God, has put his seal of approval.’ Therefore they said to him: ‘What shall we do to work the works of God?’ In answer Jesus said to them: ‘This is the work of God, that you exercise faith in him whom that One sent forth.’ ‘For this is the will of my Father, that everyone that beholds the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I should resurrect him at the last day.’”—John 6:27-29, 40, NW.
Exercising faith in Christ means one’s putting his life into his faith, activating it, and making it a producer of right works. It means we imitate Christ and not the world. There must be a definite turning away from the world in our personality and conduct. This change should become evident in the life of every Christian. The apostle Paul said: “You should put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires; but that you should be made new in the force actuating your mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loving-kindness.” (Eph. 4:22-24, NW) The entire tenor of the Bible is that our faith in Christ must produce a change in our lives. This change is not brought about by the miraculous, but through hard and sincere work on the part of the Christian endeavoring to put into practice the principles of Christianity. This effort must be made.
The disciple James argues in the second chapter of his epistle: “‘You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith apart from the works, and I shall show you my faith by my works.’ You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder. But do you care to know, O empty man, that faith apart from works is inactive? Was not Abraham our father declared righteous by works after he had offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? You behold that his faith worked along with his works and by his works his faith was perfected, and the scripture was fulfilled which says: ‘Abraham exercised faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,’ and he came to be called ‘Jehovah’s friend’. You see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone. . . . Indeed, as the body without breath is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (Jas. 2:18-26, NW) So, too, our faith must join hand in hand with right works, creating a favorable change in our life which wins the approval of God and salvation.
FAITH WORKING FOR BETTER CHANGE
If our sincere desire is to work the works of God, then we must make our faith mean something to us. It must produce a course of action in our lives that is in harmony with God’s will and purpose. It cannot remain idle. As the apostle Paul declared: “Keep working out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for God is the one that, for the sake of his good pleasure, is acting within you in order for you both to will and to act. Keep doing all things free from murmurings and arguments, that you may come to be blameless and innocent, children of God without a blemish in among a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you are shining as illuminators in the world.” “Now really put them all away from you, wrath, anger, injuriousness, abusive speech, and obscene talk out of your mouth. Do not be lying to one another. Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality which through accurate knowledge is being renewed according to the image of the one who created it.”—Phil. 2:12-15; Col. 3:8-10, NW.
The Word of God must be more to us than just words. It must be recognized as a divine rule for the conduct of his people. If we believe this to be true then the above counsel should be heeded. We cannot go around murmuring and arguing among ourselves or among those of the world and still claim to be Christians. This would be hypocritical, and God hates hypocrites. We cannot go around lying, cheating and stealing, inside or outside of the theocratic organization. God despises a liar, a cheat and a crook. Our speech must match our claim. The fact that we work among those who habitually use foul speech, is that any reason for us to? Our determination should be one of cleanness. Abusive speech, obscene talk, dirty jokes, filthy stories do not find any association with the Word of God. He loathes such.
Christians should always be aware of their position before God. And as Paul states, “Whatever it is that you do in word or in work, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, thanking God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17, NW) Our conversion must be complete. It can be by making our faith work, by taking to heart and putting into action all the admonition of the Bible, by keeping a proper balance in all things, by meditating daily on God’s Word. Let us work hard at putting into operation Christian principles while it is yet the day of God’s toleration of the wicked, because Armageddon is fast approaching. “Consequently, my beloved brothers, become steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.”—1 Cor. 15:58, NW.