Doing the Work Approved by God
“Do not loiter at your business. Be aglow with the spirit.”—Rom. 12:11, NW.
1. What example does Jehovah set as regards work, and how does he regard the slothful and negligent ones?
JEHOVAH hates laziness. Slackers and sluggards are certainly an abomination to him. Indifferent and slothful ones who are negligent in their work cannot hope to have the blessing or approval of Him who from the very beginning of creation has labored with matchless zeal and diligence. “My Father has kept working until now,” said Jesus, “and I keep working.” (John 5:17, NW) Never does Jehovah tire of his work. Never does he grow weary or become bored in doing what he sets out to accomplish. Never does he slow down and quit before obtaining complete success. “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard? The everlasting God, Jehovah, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary.” Even his name, Jehovah, defines the Most High and Lofty One as a God of purpose and activity, for it is drawn from a word of action, the causative form of the Hebrew verb havah. “I have purposed, I will also do it,” he says. So after immeasurable eons of time we find Jehovah still faithfully sticking to his stupendous work, discharging his heavy responsibilities both as Creator of the universe and as its Sovereign Lord and Eternal Governor.—Isa. 40:28; 46:11, AS.
2. What are some of the superlative examples of Jehovah’s workmanship?
2 Reflect for a moment what a vast expanse the Creator’s material universe covers, that is, the limited portion so far explored by man. Our galaxy, or Milky Way, made up of no less than three thousand million stars is so incomprehensibly large it takes a beam of light, traveling at the sensational speed of 186,000 miles per second, over 33,000 years to cross its diameter. And yet this system of stars by no means fills outer space. Within the outer perimeter to which present telescopes reach a great host of other island universes or galaxy systems have been found and photographed. Stellar wonders staggering the imagination! There are stars so heavy that a cubic inch of their substance weighs as much as 2,000,000 pounds. There are stars so large that their diameters are more than sixteen times the distance from the earth to the sun. There are stars so speedy that they race around their orbits at velocities of more than 1,600,000 miles per hour. Moreover, these myriads of heavenly objects have not been thrown together in scrambled disorder, nor do they wander about in chaotic confusion. No, each star, each planet, each constellation, and each galaxy is governed by Jehovah’s fixed laws of motion. Each travels its properly assigned course. Each operates on a precise and absolutely accurate time schedule, and they have been doing it for hundreds of millions of years. Truly these are superlative examples of Jehovah’s workmanship! “O Jehovah, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all.”—Ps. 19:1; 104:24; AS; Isa. 40:26; Rom. 1:20.
3. In what ways has Jehovah provided for man, and to what does all creation testify?
3 Now think what a very, very small speck this earth of ours is in the boundless expanse of cosmic space, and yet Jehovah God did not lose track of it or overlook any detail in making it fit for man’s habitation. All about us are marvelous specimens of the Creator’s delicate and artistic handiwork, both micro- and macro-forms, each an awe-inspiring wonder to behold. No effort or labor did he withhold in providing for the needs of every living creature, for man and beast alike. (Gen. 1:29, 30; 3:21) “Jehovah is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works. All thy works shall give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah; . . . thou givest them their food in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” (Ps. 145:9, 10, 15, 16, AS) Yes, all animate and inanimate creation testifies to the great Master Worker’s untiring zeal and energy and precision. No one can justly find fault with his work. It is perfect. Neither is he dilatory, slack or behind time in any way. Jehovah accomplishes all his declared purposes exactly on time.—Deut. 32:4; 2 Pet. 3:9.
4. (a) What provision for man’s working did Jehovah make, and why? (b) How should we attack a Jehovah-given assignment, and why?
4 Work, good, wholesome work, that requires the co-ordinated use of mind and muscles is also among God’s loving provisions for man. (Gen. 1:28; 2:15; 9:1, 7) Even the Sabbath commandment was primarily one of work rather than of rest; for had it been God’s purpose that man should lounge around most of the time and do as little as possible, then he would have said in substance, ‘Six days you shall loaf, but the seventh you may work.’ No, not that! By far the greater amount of man’s time and energy was to be spent in profitable labor, and this for man’s good and to the praise of his Creator. Those, therefore, hoping to have God’s approval must take up the work he assigns them with enthusiastic (God-inspired) zeal. They must attack their assignments with determination and industry, sticking to such despite all efforts of Satan the Devil, the adversary of both God and man, to slow them down, turn them aside, or make them quit altogether. And how happy are those who thus continue working, for not only do they eventually prosper and succeed, but they also reap along the way satisfying fruit for their labor in the form of extreme joy and contentment without measure. This divine principle is beautifully portrayed in the following example.
5. (a) What privileges of work did Jesus enjoy in his prehuman existence? (b) What threefold mission did he accomplish on earth?
5 Christ Jesus, the beloved and only-begotten Son of Jehovah God, in his prehuman existence as the Logos (meaning the Spokesman or Word of God) enjoyed the rare and singular privilege of working alongside his Father in the monumental task of building this universe in the first place. “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.” (John 1:1-3, 10, NW; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16) Having faithfully completed that assignment this close associate of the Creator was sent to earth on a special threefold mission. As a human creature he bore witness to the truth that sets men free, gave his perfect human life as a ransom for fallen man’s redemption, and under the greatest satanic pressure proved worthy to be Jehovah’s vindicator, worthy to sit upon the great throne of Jehovah as king of the new world of righteousness.—John 8:32, 45, 46; 18:37; Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 4:15; 5:8, 9.
6. With what mental attitude did Jesus push forward in his God-given work, ignoring what?
6 Without grumbling, without rebelling, without complaining or finding fault with this earth-bound assignment, the man Jesus pushed ahead with a fiery and consuming zeal. (Ps. 69:9; John 2:17) Night and day he labored, disregarding his own personal interests, comforts, advantages and desires. “Not as I will, but as you will,” was his prayer to his heavenly Father. “We must work the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no man can work.” “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” (Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42; John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 9:4, NW) Hardships, persecutions, shame, ridicule or personal likes or dislikes, none of these things did Jesus allow to turn him aside or impede his accomplishing Jehovah’s righteous purpose regarding him.—Heb. 12:2, 3.
7. Harvest work involves what, and how did Jesus’ course bear this out?
7 Now, plowing and harvesting is real work, hard work, requiring great strength, endurance and perseverance. It is not a lazy man’s job. “The sluggard will not plow in autumn; so [the following year] in harvest he looks for a crop in vain.” (Prov. 20:4, AT) “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son; but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.” (Prov. 10:5, AS) Jesus was a very wise son and brought no reproach upon his Father. He was fully aware of the fact that a great harvesting work must be done, and yet the laborers were few. (Matt. 9:37) So up and down the land he trudged, afoot, mind you, visiting all the cities and villages, curing the sick ones, healing the afflicted, comforting the poor and oppressed, gathering together wheatlike ones out from that nation’s weed patch of apostasy. (Matt. 4:23, 24; 9:35, 36; 14:14; Mark 1:38, 39) Indeed Jesus was a very busy man! Hardly could he find a lonely place in which to rest; often not so much as an opportunity to eat a quiet meal by himself. (Matt. 14:13; Mark 3:20; 6:31-34; Luke 4:42, 43) As a consequence, on Passover night, A. D. 33, exactly on time as foretold in ancient prophecies, Jesus was able to report to his Father: “I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do.” So by eagerly taking up the divine assignment and persevering in it Jesus was able to complete it, gain the great victory, and receive Jehovah’s cherished approval.—John 17:4; 19:30; Matt. 17:5, NW.
SERVICE ORGANIZATION ESTABLISHED
8. What kind of persons did Jesus pick for his service organization, and why?
8 Jesus knew that in the years ahead the pure worship of Jehovah would be expanded to the ends of the earth. This would require an efficient theocratic organization, and so at the outset of his ministry Jesus gathered about him a body of disciples to whom he gave special training and instruction for the work ahead. Note the type of individuals whom he picked as his close associates. Not the lazy and sluggish aristocrats or the indolent and parasitic Pharisees of that day. Rather, the disciples of Jesus were for the most part chosen from among the working class of people—rugged fishermen, hardworking tax collectors, men and women of action who could be depended upon to get things done. And it was good that they were ambitious and energetic individuals, for much work was required of them. Like Jesus they too had to be witnesses and teachers among the nations, preachers and proclaimers of the good news of the kingdom of heaven. They too had to work hard in the wheat harvest together with the “Master of the harvest”.—Luke 10:2, NW.
9. Jesus gave what kind of instruction to his followers? Why was this necessary, and how did they respond?
9 During his three-and-a-half-year ministry Jesus gave these followers of his much oral counsel on proper worship, devotion and service to God, as well as instruction in the basic laws governing the theocratic organization, namely, the fundamental principles of love, truth and righteousness. This was necessary, for all their former lives when alienated from God the minds of these men and women had been shaped according to the pattern of this old world. Now they were called out of darkness into glorious light to be footstep followers of Jesus, devoted as he was to pure, undefiled worship of Jehovah God. They must therefore make their minds over, get rid of their false ideas, practices and preconceived notions based on human reasonings and man-made theories and traditions. From now on they were to be part of a holy nation of kings and priests, completely devoted to God and his righteous kingdom under Christ. This is why they held nothing back, but dedicated their lives to God’s service, devoting everything they had, their heart, soul, strength, substance and mind, to his service. Henceforth they were to be governed by an entirely new rule of conduct, one of love. “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” This making of their minds over for a new way of life was certainly no easy task, but required much effort and exertion on the part of each one.—Mark 12:29-31; John 13:34, 35, NW.
10, 11. (a) What practical training did Jesus give his disciples, and what did this require of him? (b) What kind of organization resulted?
10 Then, too, in addition to giving oral instruction, Jesus took his disciples along with him in the witness work from house to house and from city to city, in order that they might learn by practical observation how to handle their assignment to preach, how to be efficient in their work and thorough in covering their territory. And from time to time these newly trained witnesses were sent out on their own so that they could gain valuable experience through practicing in the field what they had been taught in class. (Matt. 10:1–11:1; Luke 10:1-17) Of course, training these other members of the theocratic organization placed an extra burden on Jesus, since it was often necessary to give them additional instruction privately after long hours of tiring preaching to the multitudes. But Jesus did not complain. He was no clock watcher, nor did he labor under the critical eyes of a union boss who would have penalized him for working overtime without drawing a bonus. (Matt. 13:1-16, 36-43; 24:3) And because Jesus was so diligent in looking after every detail he was successful in laying the foundation for a good service organization, a society of Christian ministers, one composed of individuals who not only were hard workers but were governed by theocratic principles, persons who recognized that Christ Jesus by divine appointment was directing the organization’s activity even down to the consummation of this system of things.—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20, NW.
11 No doubt about it, Christianity was planted in good soil as a noble vine. “I am the true vine,” said Christ, “and my Father is the cultivator. I am the vine, you are the branches. He that remains in union with me, and I in union with him, this one bears much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing at all.” (John 15:1, 5, NW) God’s spirit or active power has certainly been upon this theocratic organization, and, as a result, now after more than 1900 years this fertile vine stalk together with its spreading branches is continuing to bring forth an abundance of good life-sustaining fruit, Kingdom fruit, to the praise of Jehovah God the great Cultivator. And where today is such an upright and fruitful organization to be found? Where is there a theocratic organization headed by the Superior Authorities, Jehovah God and Christ Jesus? Where today is that body of true footstep followers of Christ that is doing the work approved by God, expanding pure worship of Jehovah to the ends of the earth?
CHRISTENDOM’S WORKS DISAPPROVED
12-14. What evidence is there among the religious leaders and among the “laity” proving that Christendom is not the true vine?
12 Boisterously and with great arrogance Christendom’s leaders brag that she is this favored organization of God. But a quick survey of her works and the fruit she bears should thoroughly convince any seeker of truth that Christendom is anything but Christian. Read her newspapers and magazines, listen to her radio and television programs, look at her conduct in general. What a hideous sight she presents! In every branch and department of this corrupt system “the works of the flesh are manifest, and they are fornication, uncleanness, loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism, hatreds, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these”.—Gal. 5:19-21, NW.
13 Even if the apostle Paul were living today he could not have done better in describing the works of Christendom. Not only among the common laity of the many religious denominations does one observe a constant downward drift in loose conduct, uncleanness and fornication, but also among her clergy class spiritual delinquency is manifest. Her great religious leaders have openly played the harlot with the political, military and commercial rulers of the world. This they have done by backing up anti-Christ schemes for world domination (schemes like the League of Nations and the United Nations); by signing working agreements and concordats with ruthless, worldly dictators (Hitler, Mussolini); and by swearing oaths of allegiance to wicked rulers of this world (to red Communist bosses behind the Iron Curtain) as if such profane men were the “higher powers” whom Christians must obey.—Rom. 13:1; Rev. 17:1, 2.
14 Furthermore, as the apostle declares, every form of idolatry is practiced within Christendom’s borders. Spiritualists who are in constant communication with the invisible wicked demons flourish in all her great cities. Her hatreds, strifes, jealousies and fits of anger often break out into international wars, and in the flames of such senseless conflicts the lives of millions of innocent people are snuffed out. Contentions, divisions, sects and envies among the Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox factions are too numerous to mention. And as for the drunken bouts, revelries, and the intoxicating pleasures of Christendom, these have certainly caused the inhabitants of the land to reel to and fro, backward and forward, dizzy from the wine of fornication fermented by modern Babylon.
15. What does the fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:1-6 indicate as to Christendom’s condition?
15 Warning that such a degenerate society as this would sprout in the last days of this system of things, Paul wrote Timothy: “Know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, without gratitude, with no loving-kindness, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with self-esteem, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5, NW) Obviously Christendom is rotten to the very core, otherwise she could not produce such a wild crop of putrid fruit as this. “By their fruits you will recognize them,” for “every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces bad fruit”.—Matt. 7:16, 17, NW.
16, 17. (a) What is the cause of Christendom’s sickness? (b) What scriptures aptly describe her attitude toward work?
16 Christendom’s sickness is caused by a lack of proper spiritual nourishment, which, in turn, is due to her laziness, indifference and preference to sleep. “Laziness ends in a deep sleep; an idle man shall be hungry. The lazy man drops his hand deep in the dish; he will not so much as lift it to his lips.” If Christendom had heeded the wise man’s suggestion she could have learned a lesson from the lowly ant. “Go to the ant, you sluggard, look at her ways, learn sense; for she has no leader, no foreman or chief, yet in the summer she provides her food, and gathers during harvest-days. You sluggard, how long will you sleep? When will you rise from your slumber? ‘Let me sleep for a little, a little! let me fold my hands for a little, to rest?’—yes, and poverty will pounce on you, want will overpower you.”—Prov. 6:6-11; 19:15, 24, Mo.
17 Or as other Proverbs fitly describe sleepy Christendom’s sorry plight, she only rolls over in her bed of ease, like the turning of a door upon its hinges, when she is prodded with God’s Word of truth. She spurns the counsel of Jehovah, is very wise in her own eyes, proud and arrogant to the extreme. Her whole house leaks like a sieve, and in many places the roof has practically caved in upon her, yet she is too lazy to repair it. Her religious fields are nothing more than bramble patches, completely overgrown with thorny pagan superstitions, irritating traditions, and poisonous doctrines of demons, and yet she prefers to sleep and dream about her past and present lovers. “I passed by the field of the sluggard, by the vineyard of the man without sense; and lo! it was all overgrown with thistles, its surface was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. I looked, and reflected upon it; I saw, and learned a lesson. ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of hands to rest’—so will poverty come upon you like a footpad, and want like an armed man.”—Prov. 24:30-34, AT; Pr 26:14-16; Eccl. 10:18, Le.
18, 19. In what respects is the course taken by Christendom today the same as that taken by apostate Israel?
18 The overwhelming evidence proves Christendom is apostate, a degenerate vine, and Christian in name only. She has had every opportunity to be a fruitful organization to the praise of God, but, like the unfaithful nation of Israel, she is too lax and lazy. Her prototype, Israel after the flesh, was planted a noble vine, and was assigned the task of conquering the God-given territory, and as long as they pushed ahead with the job they prospered. However, it was not long before they began to slow down, adopting an indifferent attitude toward their divine assignment, and finally they quit altogether. In their sluggish reasoning it seemed easier to compromise with the demon-worshiping nations that were squatters in the land than it was to oust them with a fight. Turning to their personal and selfish interests they suffered setbacks and defeats, one after another. As a nation they failed to hold to the clean worship of Jehovah. As a nation they failed to keep Jehovah’s righteous laws. As a nation they failed to be Jehovah’s faithful, covenant-keeping witnesses before other nations round about them.
19 So too with worthless Christendom, and for the same reasons. She has failed to hold to the pure worship of Jehovah, but instead has compromised with practically every form of demonism there is. She has transgressed, changed and broken every law and commandment in the Bible. As a consequence, “the earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Christendom, therefore, has missed out on the special privileges of being Jehovah’s witnesses in this time of the end.—Isa. 24:5.
GOD’S APPROVED ORGANIZATION IDENTIFIED
20, 21. (a) What evidence shows God has an organization on earth following the pattern cut by Christ Jesus? (b) By whom is this organization being directed and what message is being heralded by it?
20 Ah yes! Notwithstanding Christendom’s miserable failure Jehovah God does have a true, covenant-keeping, zealous organization in the earth today made up of those who are faithfully following the pattern cut out by Christ. As the early disciples of Jesus were gathered out and separated from unfaithful Israel to be a special people for God’s name, even so today men and women from all walks of life and from many tongues and nationalities have been called out of Christendom’s Babylonish systems to form a true Christian society, the nucleus of a new world society, if you please. (1 Pet. 2:9) They are still in this old world, it is true, but they are no part of it, take no part in its political squabbles, its commercial deals and economic schemes, or its religious movements. (John 17:16; Phil. 2:15) Instead, they place their hope and trust in God’s kingdom and fervently pray for its complete and triumphal success at Armageddon. They are governed by the theocratic principles of love, truth and righteousness. They observe the two great commandments, show love for Jehovah and show love for neighbor, and for this twofold reason they go among the people comforting widows and bereaved ones in their affliction and warning the wicked of impending destruction. At all times they refuse to compromise with lawless dictators and corrupt worldly rulers, and thus keep themselves unspotted from this satanic system of things.—Mark 12:28-31; Jas. 1:27.
21 It is not a difficult task to recognize and identify God’s visible organization, for there are not many, not even a few, there is only one organization that is pursuing the above-outlined course, namely, Jehovah’s witnesses. Inseparably associated with this widely known organization is its legal servant and governing agency, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. Only Jehovah’s witnesses and their associates are bearing the fruits of the Kingdom by public proclamation. (Heb. 13:15) They alone are heralding forth the good news that God’s kingdom under Christ is man’s only hope. No other group, body, association, society, or organization is proclaiming that God’s kingdom is actually established in the heavens, and that shortly now this heavenly government will transform earth into a glorious paradise with wickedness and violence replaced with perfection and peace. What a high and lofty privilege, to be engaged in a work like this! What a great and singular honor to be associated with Jehovah’s organization, doing the work approved by God!