“Where Your Treasure Is There Your Heart Will Be”
“Be on the alert and on guard against every kind of covetousness, because even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.”—Luke 12:15, NW.
1. Why are heart purity and upright action necessary now?
WHERE is your heart? Is it toward your Maker, Jehovah, or does it move you to act as the godless, degenerate world acts? You must always keep in mind that “Jehovah . . . sees what the heart is.” (1 Sam. 16:7, NW) Without question the Most High God of the universe can discern your motives; he knows what treasures you seek. King David told Solomon: “Know the God of your father and serve him with a complete heart and with a delightful soul, for all hearts Jehovah is searching and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning. If you search for him he will let himself be found by you, but if you leave him he will reject you forever.” (1 Chron. 28:9, NW) Everyone whose heart is for God can find him. But those who turn their back on God he will not help. No one can hide his deeds from view, because “the ways of man are before the eyes of Jehovah.”—Prov. 5:21, AS
2-4. (a) How did Paul demonstrate where his heart was? (b) What delinquencies described by him may we avoid, and why?
2 Paul realized this. He first tried to serve Jehovah God under the then rejected Mosaic law system, as a Pharisee, and thought it his duty as a Jew to persecute Christ’s followers, “both men and women” of “the Way”—this newly formed religion. (Acts 9:1, 2, NW) However, when he was forcefully shown the truth he turned around, forsook his old religious practices, now outmoded, and became “a slave of Jesus Christ and called to be an apostle.” (Rom. 1:1, 2, NW) From the old system of things that existed in his day Paul was “separated to God’s good news.” His heart was no longer in the old Jewish, hypocritical system of things. He had learned of the resurrected Christ Jesus; so of the hope of life eternal he had now became a zealous minister. Paul was known throughout all Palestine, Asia Minor, and Greece, as well as Rome, because he would “from day to day tell the good news of salvation by him.” (Ps. 96:2, NW) In his many travels he had a fine opportunity to observe how mankind was living. Visiting place after place in a very corrupt world he was “not ashamed of the good news; it is, in fact, God’s power for salvation to everyone having faith.” He preached to Jews and Greeks, meaning believers and nonbelievers in Jehovah God. Through this message of good news God’s righteousness was being revealed. Paul had learned God’s Word by diligent study. He knew that “the righteous man will live by means of faith.”—Rom. 1:16, 17, NW; Hab. 2:4, AS.
3 As a true Christian Paul was not hesitant about telling of the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. In his letter to the Romans he wrote very plainly. You can easily understand what he means by reading Romans 1:18-32 (NW). According to Paul’s argument, God had manifested himself to all men and the Almighty’s invisible qualities were clearly seen from the world’s creation onward. Even though men and women of the world knew God they certainly did not glorify him as God, nor did they thank him for all the good things they had. Instead, they were empty-headed in their reasonings and their unintelligent hearts became darkened. Nearly all humans became extremely foolish. Men and women stooped to a very low, depraved manner of living. Paul’s description proves his day was no different from ours. Right now we, like Paul, can say: “That is why God gave them up to disgraceful sexual appetites.” They were then and are now “violently inflamed in their lust toward one another,” both males and females “working what is obscene.” While they had opportunity to hear the truth and act properly, they did not approve of holding God in accurate knowledge, saying, ‘Why spend time taking in knowledge of God when we can run wild with the world?’ Unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness filled the world of Paul’s day. People did injury to one another. They were full of envy, strife, deceit and murder. These things were rampant and all were insolent and haughty, haters of God. Children were disobedient to their parents. Natural affection was unknown among them; all were merciless. After vividly describing his day, Paul added: “Although these know full well the righteous decree of God, that those practicing such things are deserving of death, they not only keep on doing them but also approve those practicing them.”—Rom. 1:32, NW.
4 Today Paul’s strong words are equally applicable. To all mankind, in Christendom and parts of the world where worship of heathen gods prevails, we, with Paul, now can say: “You are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are, if you judge; for in the thing in which you judge another, you condemn yourself, inasmuch as you that judge practice the same things. Now we know that the judgment of God is, in accord with truth, against those who practice such things. But do you have this idea, O man, while you judge those who practice such things and yet you do them, that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Rom. 2:1-3, NW) In other words, “The ways of man are before the eyes of Jehovah.” So where is your heart—with this debauchery or against it?
5, 6. When and why is God’s righteous judgment to be revealed, and toward what persons on earth?
5 Foremost statesmen of this present evil world are telling people everywhere how to run their affairs, how government should be handled, and how to live at peace. But what do we find? Anxiety among the rulers, depravity among the peoples, distress among the nations. Today all nations (regardless of claims still by some to be Christian) have hardened their hearts against God and his kingdom. They do not want that kingdom. (Matt. 6:10; 24:9) They are against being ruled by God, Jehovah, and by His enthroned King, Christ Jesus. (Ps. 2:1-3; Dan. 2:44; 12:1, AS; Acts 4:24-30; Matt. 24:9, 15; Rev. 11:15, NW) Apply Paul’s words, therefore, to the nations now: “According to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath and of the revealing of God’s righteous judgment. And he will render to each one according to his works: everlasting life to those who are seeking glory and honor and incorruptibleness by endurance in work that is good; however, for those who are contentious and who disobey the truth but obey unrighteousness there will be wrath and anger, tribulation and distress, upon the soul of every man who works what is injurious, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace for everyone who works what is good, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.”—Rom. 2:5-11, NW
6 The fact that you are a citizen of a certain nation or a member of a particular religion will not shield you from God’s wrath. Where is your heart? Where is your treasure? Do you love righteousness? Do you want to live? If you do, then know the one true God of Abraham, of Moses, of David, of Jeremiah, of Jesus Christ, of Paul and other early Christians and of today’s true Christians, and with all of those God-fearing men and women “serve him [Jehovah] with a complete heart and with a delightful soul.” Remember, it is written: “He will render to each one according to his works.”
7. How are today’s conditions in Christendom’s leading nation measured by (a) religionists, (b) law enforcers?
7 Now the majority of the people get mixed up in their thinking. It is unpopular to be too religious-minded, or to be talking to friends about the Bible. Christendom’s religion is something one uses only on Sunday, and on that day it is thought on for just an hour while the people listen to grand organ music, join themselves in singing a few songs and also enjoy choir singing. They listen to the hired clergyman talk for twenty minutes or so from the pulpit. His talk may be based on the Bible or some other book or even politics. For the great majority of people who practice some religion that is the extent of their religious thinking for one week. There are a few, but very few, who regularly read and study God’s Word, the Bible, and talk it unashamedly to others. As for being guided by God’s Word, very little thought is given to the Bible. Recently it was reported that in the United States 100,162,529 persons belong to some religion. (New York Times, September 10, 1956, pages 1, 25) That leaves about 68,000,000 of this country’s people unaffiliated with any religious organization. Quoting the report:
“The statistics were gathered by the council [National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.] from 258 religious bodies. They reported a total membership of 100,162,529, or 60.9 per cent of the population. These religious bodies define membership in different terms. The Roman Catholic Church counts all baptized persons, including infants. Protestant churches usually count only those who have attained full membership. Most are 13 years of age or older. . . . Church membership increased by 2.8 per cent.”
But what about child delinquency and crime in the United States? Such things too have increased. According to news reports day by day the moral standard is very low. To quote from the New York Times (September 27, 1956, page 37):
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation predicted today [Sept. 26] that if present trends continued 2,500,000 major crimes would be committed in the country this year. It would be the highest total in history.
“On the basis of current records, 1956 will be the fifth consecutive year in which major crimes have exceeded the 2,000,000 figure, according to J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the F.B.I.
“He made public reports showing a 14.4 per cent increase in major crimes in the first six months of the year, the largest recorded since the corresponding period in 1946.
“Major crimes, in the F.B.I. lexicon, are murder, negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and automobile theft. There were 1,191,120 offenses in these categories in the first half of the year. This was an increase of 162,770. . . .”
The question must be asked, Is Christendom’s religion helping America? Is it helping the world?
8, 9. (a) What are some fruits of wrong thinking in Christendom? (b) Scripturally viewed, what are fruits of right thinking?
8 With adults and youth having little or no spiritual guidance, how can one expect their thinking to be along righteous lines? All Christendom must bear the responsibility for the world’s condition, together with America as one of its leading nations. Their fruits do not prove them to be Christian. Being so absorbed in the things of this world, praying for its wars, instilling hatred between nations and letting their flocks be scattered, the false religious organizations have set the pattern of life for their shepherds and their flocks. Their moral condition today is exactly like that of Paul’s time. Life’s material things have made big inroads upon the thinking and daily acts of those in Christendom. Spiritual-mindedness has been crowded out. Very few really seek the kingdom of God. (Matt. 6:33) In childhood millions had been taught the prayer Christ Jesus taught his followers to pray, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.’ (Matt. 6:9-13) Now ask yourself, How many people who have prayed this prayer once or more times in their lives are really seeking the kingdom of God? Early Christians prayed it, believed it, lived it, preached it. ‘From day to day they would tell the good news of salvation by Jehovah.’ But how many in Christendom do that today? Today’s thinking is wrong! The people have no inclination for spiritual things, “where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:20, NW) That is why Paul wrote to faithful followers of Christ: “Finally, brothers, we request you and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, just as you received the instruction from us on how you ought to walk and please God, just as you are in fact walking, that you would keep on doing it more fully. For you know the orders we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is what God wills, the sanctifying of you, that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you should know how to get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in covetous sexual appetite such as also those nations have which do not know God; that no one go to the point of harming and encroach upon the rights of his brother in this matter, because Jehovah is one who exacts punishment for all these things, just as we told you beforehand and also gave you a thorough witness. For God called us, not with allowance for uncleanness, but in connection with sanctification. So, then, the man that shows disregard is disregarding, not man, but God, who puts his holy spirit in you.”—1 Thess. 4:1-8, NW.
9 Paul knew that the influence of the world would affect those taking up the Christian course. So he constantly gave them sound admonition. He knew that the early Christians who were seeking God’s kingdom were walking properly and so he said, ‘You are walking the right way.’ But he urged them to do it more fully. There was a little slipping on their part and he knew that eventually this would lead to others’ doing the same thing until the material riches of this world would become more attractive than the spiritual riches. Paul knew, as Jesus had taught, that where the heart of a Christian was, there his treasure would be. But if the Christian no longer tried to store up treasures in heaven, then that one would have begun to store up treasures on earth, where moth and rust would begin to corrupt. When one looks at Christendom he sees it as a worldly organization, barren of all spirituality. A person who wants to be pleasing to Jehovah must come out of her and seek good food, life-sustaining words from Jehovah, and turn to God. He must ‘serve Jehovah with a complete heart.’ Christendom and its shepherds have failed its people. All Christendom’s nations and all other nations and peoples have forsaken God and his kingdom. The only way for you to gain the favor and blessing of Jehovah is: “If you search for him he will let himself be found by you, but if you leave him he will reject you forever.” (1 Chron. 28:9, NW) Search and you will find!
10. What does choosing to serve God bring, and why?
10 The individual who wants to serve God and truly dedicate his life to Jehovah and sanctify himself, by setting himself aside for righteous service to preach God’s good news, is going to find it hard going. He will be running against the broad current of modern-day civilization. He will meet up with much tribulation. But it is worth it, because you will be on the right side, Jehovah’s side. Concerning our time Jesus clearly stated: “Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name. Then, also, many will be stumbled and will betray one another and will hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off. But he that has endured to the finish is the one that will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.”—Matt. 24:9-14, NW.
11, 12. How may true riches be gained?
11 Today from the ends of the earth, as well as from Christendom, have come hundreds of thousands of persons who have dedicated themselves to Jehovah’s service. They have expressed themselves as wanting to do his will. They have studied the Word of God and are continuing to do so, for they want to store up treasure in heaven. A true Christian experiences a rich blessing when he follows the commandments of Jehovah God. An individual wanting true riches, lasting riches, must come to appreciate that it is important for him to have a close relationship with the Creator. In Proverbs 10:22 (AS) it is written: “The blessing of Jehovah, it maketh rich; and he addeth no sorrow therewith.” No one acquainted with world conditions will say that in this world there is no sorrow. It is filled with sorrow. The world is not rich in spiritual knowledge. Yet scattered throughout this whole world, but not a part of it, are found true Christians, rich in spiritual qualifications. These have received of the undeserved kindness of Jehovah; they have recognized his Son, Christ Jesus, and they are determined to walk in his footsteps and do his work that must be done in these last days of the Devil’s organization.
12 Such faithful followers of Christ Jesus can say: “For we all received from out of his fullness, even undeserved kindness upon undeserved kindness. Because the law was given through Moses, the undeserved kindness and the truth came to be through Jesus Christ.”—John 1:16, 17, NW.
13. Why is God’s written Word essential for gaining enduring riches?
13 According to the Scriptures the law given by Jehovah to Moses served as a schoolmaster to lead certain people to Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:23-25; Matt. 5:17) Now we appreciate that Christ Jesus, the Son of God, has come. He has laid down his life for redeeming obedient ones of mankind, and he has made it possible for individuals to become Christians, Christlike, his followers. (Heb. 5:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 John 2:2) This has all been accomplished by the undeserved kindness of God and the truth Jehovah revealed to Christians through Christ Jesus. This truth, written in the Bible, is now available in nearly all languages of earth. Anyone who wants to have access to the Bible today can get one and read it or have it read to him. The Bible has had the greatest circulation of any book ever published. Jehovah’s witnesses are doing everything they possibly can to distribute the Bible itself in all parts of the world, as well as to aid people to understand that written Word of God.
14, 15. (a) Scripturally defined, what are false riches? (b) Seekers of false riches have had what experiences in days of the present generation?
14 Jehovah’s witnesses appreciate the undeserved kindness of God, for it has had a telling effect upon their lives. While they, as faithful followers of Christ Jesus, have tasted of the undeserved kindness of God it is the Devil’s purpose to turn all of them away from God and bring them back into his fold. While Jehovah operates on the principle of love, the Devil operates on the theory of selfishness and he has had his whole worldly organization work accordingly. Selfishness breeds covetousness; so the Bible contains much warning against being covetous. Jesus said: “Be on the alert and on guard against every kind of covetousness, because even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15; Ex. 20:17, NW) Life is a gift from God through his Son, Christ Jesus. It is not something that Jehovah God owes us. God would have all men living together in peace and prosperity and loving their neighbors just as they love themselves; but that is not man’s inclination today. He inclines toward selfishness, because he does not know God and God’s ways, and because he prefers to serve the interests of this old world and the Devil, Jehovah’s adversary. Through today’s selfish system of things minds of young and old alike are constantly stirred to ‘be rich.’ Most people seriously think that life depends on one’s abundance, so they put forth every effort to get that abundance, even to losing good name, reputation, health and friends. For benefit of all Christians Paul wrote: “However, those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”—1 Tim. 6:9, 10, NW.
15 Yes, some who have even lived as Christians drift back to old-world ways and do all sorts of injurious things. But they hurt principally themselves. They stray from the fundamental teachings of Christ Jesus and before they know it they have stabbed themselves all over and they are filled with pain. Sorrows fill their days, rather than the joy and happiness Jehovah God gives to those who love and trust him. Today, as in Jesus’ time, we find some who work day and night to accumulate wealth to fill their own storehouse. They think their security and life come from the abundance they themselves have gathered. We read the rich man’s words: “So he said: . . . ‘Soul, you have many good things laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, enjoy yourself.’ But God said to him: ‘Unreasonable one, this night they are demanding your soul from you. Who, then, is to have the things you stored up?’” “So it goes with the man that lays up treasure for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:18-21, NW) Earthly riches one can quickly lose. Look how millions in Europe lost all their savings, their homes, their farms, their business, because some selfish dictator directed his forces to annihilate them. Two world wars of our time and all previous wars have helped the Devil to turn men’s minds away from God. For loss of their gathered material riches many bitterly blame God. But if such persons had been enriched with the Word of God, then they would have known in advance the futility of storing up earthly riches that thieves steal and moth and rust corrupt. In times of stress spiritual riches have sustaining power and keep one thinking straight. Dictators have come and gone, and there are still some existing today who feel that the world was made for them to rule, that all people should be under their heel. There are big dictators and little dictators. Both kinds are selfish, whether running a nation or a small business. The dictator’s mind is centered just around himself and the abundance that he can gather together. He does not realize that life does not result from the things that he possesses. All the old world’s possessions a person may have will not give him everlasting life.
A GIFT FROM GOD
16. Why are human creatures given life by God?
16 God’s Word clearly declares that life is a gift from God. (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 2:10, NW) Through undeserved kindness on Jehovah’s part life comes to creatures; and it was because of his kindness that he sent his only-begotten Son to earth. Man was doomed for death, and had been dying for 4,000 years before Jehovah’s Son came upon the scene. All who died remained in their graves, none having gone to heaven or to a ‘hell’ of ‘eternal torment,’ because “the dead know not any thing.” (Eccl. 9:5, 10) Sin entered the world by one man and death by sin, so that death passed upon all men. (Rom. 5:12) All under that condemnation have died. But now through Jehovah’s undeserved kindness man has an opportunity for life. Life is given to him by God, not by the things man possesses. We read: “He that exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life; he that disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” (John 3:36, NW) So then faith and obedience to the Word of the true God are his requirements. It must be faith that grows and fills your whole life, faith that takes you on to a greater understanding of Jehovah’s Word by a study of that Word, faith that moves you to keep on serving God with spirit and truth. (John 4:23; Gal. 6:8, 9, NW) Paul, quoting Jehovah’s own earlier utterance, wrote: “My righteous one will live by reason of faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” (Heb. 10:38; Hab. 2:4, LXX) Christians are not the kind that shrink back. But even any of them who do shrink back are going into destruction along with this system of things.
17, 18. How are knowledge and life linked in the Bible?
17 Study of God’s Word, searching of the Scriptures and observing the continuing fulfillment of God-given prophecy make one’s faith strong. “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld. For by means of this the men of old times had witness borne to them.” (Heb. 11:1, 2, NW) One with faith in God, with love for Him and for his neighbor, will prolong his days, because love puts away all covetousness. “He that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.” (Prov. 28:16, AS) His right thinking, his proper use of accurate knowledge, bring life. “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3, NW.
18 Gaining of everlasting life depends on our knowledge, our continually taking in knowledge of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, Jehovah God, and of his Son, Christ Jesus. However, Satan, the god of this world, will always want us to think that life comes through possession of property, material things, rather than through right knowledge and understanding of Jehovah’s purposes. (2 Cor. 4:3, 4, NW) Life, to begin with, is because God is love and has shown it through undeserved kindness. He is not obliged to give us this life. It is his gift to all those who “serve him with a complete heart.”
19, 20. What essentials for gaining life were described by Jesus?
19 Some think that all material prosperity they receive is due to God’s blessing upon them. But, as Paul declared, “the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things.” If you put money first because of what it can get you—ahead of the Word of God and what it surely will bring to you in the way of eternal life—you will be sidetracked: you will no longer be seeking first the interests of God’s kingdom. Jesus, explaining his own parable of the sower, said: “Now the illustration means this: The seed is the word of God. . . . As for that which fell among the thorns, these are the ones that have heard, but, by being carried away by anxieties and wealth and pleasures of this life, they are completely choked and bring nothing to perfection.” (Luke 8:11-15, NW) Millions upon millions have heard the Word of God. They became very much interested in it, but only for a short period of time; for while they were studying this Word of God they were also being carried away by the anxieties and wealth and pleasures of this life. So, then, these individuals were completely choked. No sweet breath of truth could get to them, because of their anxieties. The seed of truth was completely crowded out of their lives. These had had the full opportunity of hearing the truth, but they were just carried away with the things of this world. They wanted that way; it was their own choice.
20 This can happen even to those who now have the truth. They can still be choked if the lifeline is cut. If we cease feeding upon the Word of God we can starve to death. Hence the question: Can you make yourself the right kind of soil on which this seed, the Word of God, falls? That is possible, for Jesus said: “As for that on the right soil, these are the ones that, after hearing the word with a right and good heart, retain it and bear fruit with endurance.” (Luke 8:15, NW) Yes, there must be a right and good heart. Our motive in life must be to advance the Kingdom interests, not selfish gains. We must be interested in righteousness, following out the command of Christ Jesus to preach this good news of the Kingdom in all the world for a witness. It means not just for a short time, as a kind of diversion or pastime—for a year or two; but to bear fruit means that we shall keep at it continually and let the fruit come on to maturity. It means endurance.
21. Why is endurance necessary now?
21 It is this endurance as a Christian that has caused many people trouble. Not trouble that they could not endure, but trouble from the old world. Many who have learned Jehovah’s purposes think that now that they have come to an understanding of God’s Word and the New World, which they have prayed for, the New World should be established right away. Just as soon as they hear the truth, or perhaps a year or so afterward, they want all the blessings of that new world of righteousness. This is a kind of covetousness. They do not want to wait on Jehovah God until he is ready to establish it. By the way they live they show they are not sure that God’s time is worth waiting for. They are not willing to get into the race and endure to the end in order to receive the blessings of everlasting life. Then, on the other hand, we see those willing to endure all kinds of hardship, like Jehovah’s witnesses in Russia who have gone to concentration camps, labor camps, into Siberian exile. They do not turn back; they do not seek communism or the things of this world in place of the spiritual blessings that they receive from Jehovah God. They know that life does not result from the things that they possess in the way of this world’s material things. They hold fast to their integrity. Remaining true and loyal to Jehovah God they go through the suffering that comes their way because of their maintaining integrity. So it is with Jehovah’s witnesses in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, and many other parts of earth. Firmly these have stood under the greatest stress and pressure ever brought upon Christians to break their faith. They have been stripped bare of all their possessions. Husbands have been separated from their wives; families have been torn apart. Satan would like to break their faith, their integrity. He would like them to think that life comes through material things that they can possess. But Jehovah’s witnesses, in lands behind the “iron curtain” and in all other parts of the world, fully appreciate that life comes through the undeserved kindness of God and the provisions he now makes for them to keep on taking in knowledge of him, and their continuing to preach the good news of his established kingdom.
22, 23. (a) For one to choose to ‘lose his soul’ means what? (b) How do God-fearing persons avoid hurting themselves and maintain contentment?
22 These faithful Christians who have gone through ordeals greater than the Catholic inquisition of centuries ago are not interested in saving their lives so that they might have the pleasures and comforts of this old world. They have read the words of Jesus: “For whoever wants to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake will find it. For what benefit will it be to a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:25, 26, NW) In this world there are some persons who think more of one meal and the personal possession of that than of their own lives. So it was with Esau, “who in exchange for one meal gave away his rights as firstborn.” (Heb. 12:16; Gen. 25:34, NW) Jesus declared: “Really, what does a man benefit himself if he gains the whole world but loses his own self or suffers damage?”—Luke 9:25, NW.
23 When we pray the Lord’s prayer all we ask for is the bread for the day. With that the majority of earth’s people can be content; but just think of the contentment of one who has godly devotion with it! “To be sure, it is a means of great gain, this godly devotion along with self-sufficiency. For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. So, having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.” (1 Tim. 6:6-8, NW) Today Christendom’s people do not love God’s Word, nor do they want to live according to its commandment. They choose to go on in their own selfish way, hurting themselves. Even if one of Jehovah’s witnesses becomes so wrapped up in the affairs of this world, his secular work, his possessions or the gathering together of them, eventually he could be sucked out of the New World society into that wicked organization doomed to destruction at Armageddon. Why? Because he tried to save his life in his own way.
24. Keeping conscious of one’s spiritual need includes what right practices?
24 When one loses sight of the undeserved kindness of Jehovah it is not very long before he stops meeting with God’s people. Maybe just by staying away from one meeting he can earn many more dollars and pay part of the mortgage or buy some new furniture or make a payment on a car. But which is worth more, the taking in of knowledge at the meetings and associating with Jehovah’s witnesses, or the earning of those few extra dollars at the expense of becoming more tired, so that even after those extra hours you cannot do any other kind of work in the service of Jehovah? Why should a man be working day and night, double shift, or why should his whole family be working double shift? They lose out on meeting and associating with God’s people, and at the same time their children are permitted to run the streets. Maybe they are getting the things they want materially; but if you are one of such persons pause and ask yourself: Am I getting happiness? (Matt. 5:3, NW) Am I enjoying the things that I am getting, or am I losing the bigger things in life? Am I losing my husband (or wife), my family? More than that, am I losing the truth? Am I losing life itself? Am I losing God and his beloved Son? Am I losing the new world? Are you thus losing just to have a bigger television, a bigger car, bigger home, bigger barns? Are there things in your life that are pulling you away from true Christianity, genuine worship of the Sovereign Ruler of the universe and the giving to him of your exclusive devotion?
25. How may “modern conveniences” be used aright?
25 Jehovah God knows our need of shelter, food, clothing—life’s necessities; but he knows too that we do not need anything else. Look at what Adam had in the garden of Eden: Just a garden; no large mansion; not any of today’s “modern conveniences.” But Adam did have the opportunity to live eternally had he been faithful to Jehovah God. While “modern conveniences” can only momentarily lighten man’s burden, still even these things, rightly used, should enable us to put more time in Jehovah’s service, to magnify his name, and to allow us greater freedom to preach the good news of his kingdom. They should be timesavers rather than time consumers.
26, 27. For what purposes do followers of Christ keep on taking in accurate knowledge?
26 Stop and think! you Christians, are you giving Jehovah God exclusive devotion? Are you speaking to your neighbors and friends, or people you have never met before, about the good things that you have learned concerning the undeserved kindness of God? Are you bringing tithes into his storehouse? That is, are you attending all the meetings, taking part in them? Are you helping with the expenses in your Kingdom Hall? Are you proving by your works that you really are living your dedication to Jehovah? Do you prove yourself to be one of Jehovah’s witnesses by your association with that great crowd of people, scattered throughout the earth, announcing Jehovah’s kingdom? Do you claim to be a minister of Jehovah God; and if so, then what about your ministerial service? Are you growing toward maturity? Are you gaining accurate knowledge of the truth? Are you able to explain the Word of God better to people as days go by? Are you bringing up your children in the nurture and discipline and authoritative advice of Jehovah? Do you give them the attention that they need? Do you study with them? Do you play with them? Do you bring them to the meetings? Do you provide for them spiritually? Do they love you as children should love parents? Are you interested in having your boys and girls grow up to become missionaries? And are you, like many happy parents, rejoicing that your children have gone off into missionary service in foreign fields; and are you continuing to encourage them to stay in those fields to do the great work that Jesus said would be done in these last days in taking the good news of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth and there discipling all kinds of people?
27 These questions Christians should ask themselves. They should be able to answer aright, not in words but in deed, in God’s sight—in their daily lives as proof of where their hearts are, because that is where their treasure will be.
28. Why do genuine worshipers of the living God ‘daily tell the good news of salvation by him’?
28 Are you, as one of Jehovah’s witnesses, doing what the psalmist said we should be doing in these last days: “From day to day tell the good news of salvation by him”? (Ps. 96:2, NW) Only Jehovah God can provide salvation for human creatures. Are you, as one dedicated to Jehovah’s service, spreading his good news of salvation that Jehovah has arranged for? Are you doing it from day to day? Are you telling all persons that you can about this good news? If you are, then you certainly are storing up treasures in heaven and you certainly know where your heart is. It is in Jehovah’s service.
29, 30. How can we avoid covetousness and gain enduring wealth?
29 Paul wanted everyone to see that he kept in the right course, and that is why he wrote: “I give you orders that you observe the commandment in a spotless and irreprehensible way until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Tim. 6:13, 14, NW) Remember, too, how he said some would be stabbing themselves all over with many pains, hurting themselves, being led astray from the faith. But to counteract this, so that they would not hurt themselves, Paul said: “On the other hand, you, O man of God, flee from these things. But pursue righteousness, godly devotion, faith, love, endurance, mildness of temper. Contend for victory in the right contest of the faith, get a firm hold on the everlasting life for which you were called and you declared the right confession publicly before many witnesses.”—1 Tim. 6:11, 12, NW.
30 Desiring to get a firm hold on the real life, we actually shall want to ‘stop storing up for ourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal.’ “Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”—Matt. 6:19-21, NW.