Worthwhile Works of the Congregated Ones
1. Why do not our works have to end calamitously, as described in the preceding article, and what way has been provided for our lives to become everlastingly useful?
BUT do our works during this present wicked world of sin and death have to end up calamitously, as afore-described, so that we properly should have a disgust for the opportunity of living? Does our living have to be merely in vain and a mere chasing after something as ungraspable as the wind? No, not if we turn from serving this world and then work for God’s new world. To work for his new world means to serve Jehovah God; and work for him is never in vain. It is worthwhile, regardless of how much persecution and opposition we face because of such godly work. We can get nowhere without God. Men are imperfect, are unmistakably sinful, are under condemnation by a heavenly court and are therefore dying. Try whatever they will, work as hard as they will without God, those conditions will always block them, always doom them to calamity. Of themselves they cannot escape this impasse. But Jehovah God has provided the way by which our lives can become meaningful, can have an ennobling purpose and can be of everlasting usefulness. This way is through the kingdom of his Congregator, Jesus Christ.
2. What work is a gift from God, and what was God’s purpose respecting man’s work?
2 Let us remember that work is a gift from God, that is, work in his service. God put the upright man in the garden of Eden to work. God did not purpose that his work should be wasted and be terminated calamitously by death after he had been driven out of his proper place of work. (Gen. 2:7, 8, 15) God purposed that man should be happy in his work, should see and enjoy the results of his work and should pass the benefits of his work on to his children.
3. What does worshiping God oblige one to do, and how do we become favored with respect to God’s gift of work?
3 If the perfect upright man kept working obediently at what his Creator assigned him to do, he would be worshiping God. Worshiping God is never in vain or calamitous. It means everlasting life under the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God. Let us remember that the Hebrew word sometimes translated as “worship” really means “service.” (2 Ki. 10:20-23; Ex. 12:25, margin) If we are working in God’s service we are worshiping him. If we are lazy and idle we are not worshiping God, we are not imitating God. Man’s being made in God’s image and according to his likeness required that man should work and should not work in vain, for the great Congregator, Jesus, once said: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.” (John 5:17) Solomon also said: “I saw all the work of The [true] God, how mankind are not able to find out the work that has been done under the sun; however much mankind keep working hard to seek, yet they do not find out. And even if they should say they are wise enough to know, they would be unable to find out.” (Eccl. 8:17) Throughout all the eternity of the new world mankind will keep searching, trying to find out to the very depths the work of God, but they will be unable to do so. Favored we are if we appreciate that God has a worthwhile work for us to do, and if we find out what it is and then become laborers together with God in it. It is no vain gift.
4. To whom today must we be congregated, thereafter taking what step, and what should be our attitude toward that step?
4 In order to turn us away from vain, fruitless works, the dead works of this world that end up in calamity, Solomon wrote the book of Qo·helʹeth, the Congregator. Today, to get away from the “calamitous occupation that God has given to the sons of mankind” in this doomed old world, we must be congregated by the Greater Solomon, the reigning King Jesus Christ, by listening to his voice, his wisdom expressed in God’s written Word. Through him we must come to Jehovah God and dedicate ourselves fully to him in faith and love. We must carefully consider what that step means and all that it will now require us to be and to do. We should not be rash to make a vow of dedication to God, no more than we should needlessly delay in vowing to serve him and do his will forever. But once we have entered into such a solemn, unrecallable vow, we should keep it, thus not taking it in vain and ending up in calamity. So we should mean it when we vow full dedication to Jehovah God through Jesus Christ. Let it not be a mere multiplying of words spoken rashly and foolishly without the heart behind it.
5. What does Solomon say with regard to the use of the mouth in a vow, and how should fear of God be shown toward a vow?
5 “Do not hurry yourself as regards your mouth; and as for your heart, let it not be hasty to bring forth a word before The [true] God. For The [true] God is in the heavens but you are on the earth. That is why your words should prove to be few [not promising more than you mean]. For a dream certainly comes in because of abundance of occupation [in this world], and the voice of a stupid one because of the abundance of words [rashly spoken, emotionally spoken without understanding]. Whenever you vow a vow to God, do not hesitate to pay it, for there is no delight in the [wordy] stupid ones. What you vow, pay. Better is it that you vow not than that you vow and do not pay. Do not allow your mouth to cause your flesh to sin, neither say before the angel that it was a mistake. Why should The [true] God become indignant on account of your voice [in a vow] and have to wreck the work of your hands? For because of abundance [of occupation] there are dreams, and there are vanities when words are multiplied [in a rash vow]. But fear The [true] God himself.”—Eccl. 5:2-7.
6. When one has been congregated through making a vow to God, why should one avoid getting estranged or isolating oneself?
6 When one has been congregated to the reigning King Jesus Christ by one’s making a vow to God, then one should stay with all his congregated worshipers. A person under such a vow should not isolate himself or let himself be estranged from the congregation. Proverbs 18:1 warns us: “One isolating himself will seek his own selfish longing; against all practical wisdom he will break forth.” He will seek selfish pretexts for staying away, to justify himself, but in doing so he acts unwisely and weakens his ability to pay his vow; in fact, he acts contrary to his vow to do God’s will. He deprives himself of the help that God gives only through his congregated people, and he is certain to fall calamitously.
7. What did the two congregators say about associating with one another, and why cannot those under vow to God not afford to stay away from congregational gatherings?
7 The Great Congregator said: “Where there are two or three met together in my name, there I am in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20) The ancient congregator, Solomon, said: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil [together]. For if one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up. But how will it be with just the one who falls when there is not another to raise him up? Also, if two lie down together, then they will certainly get warm; but how can just one keep warm? And if somebody could overpower one alone, two together could make a stand against him. And a threefold cord cannot quickly be torn in two.” (Eccl. 4:9-12) All those congregated to Jehovah’s spiritual temple for his worship are under one and the same vow. They must all pay their vows together, lovingly helping one another to pay their vow so that no one may be overpowered by Satan the Devil and his world. They therefore cannot afford to stay away from congregational meetings and other assemblies. They must build up their sense of togetherness, of belongingness, and of the mutual dependence and need.
TIME FOR KINGDOM ACTIVITY
8. What did our Congregator say regarding our coming to him, and what reasons does Solomon give for our keeping the king’s orders?
8 The One who congregates us when we make a vow to Jehovah is the reigning King Jesus Christ, who said: “No man can come to me unless the Father, who sent me, draws him.” (John 6:44) Jehovah draws us to his anointed King that we may follow in his footsteps and serve him. When we vow to Jehovah we are taking an oath before him to support his kingdom of his anointed One, for his King is the Leader whom he has given to us. In carrying out our vow we must obey the orders of Jehovah’s anointed King. Says the congregator: “I [say:] ‘Keep the very order of the king, and that out of regard for the oath of God. Do not hurry yourself, that you may go out from before him. Do not stand in a bad thing. For all that he delights in he will do, because the word of the king is the power of control; and who may say to him: “What are you doing?’” He that is keeping the commandment will not know any calamitous thing, and the wise heart will know both time and judgment. For there exists a time and judgment even for every affair, because the calamity of mankind is abundant upon them.”—Eccl. 8:2-6.
9. How has Jehovah made everything well-arranged in its time as regarding his kingdom and its proclamation?
9 The congregator well states: “For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens: I have seen the occupation that God has given to the sons of mankind in which to be occupied. Everything he has made well-arranged in its time.” (Eccl. 3:1, 10, 11) Jehovah appointed a certain year for the seven “times of the nations” to end; and so in the year 1914 his appointed time came for him to put his kingdom into operation in the hands of his anointed King. Later, at his appointed time, in the spring of the year 1918, he came to his spiritual temple accompanied by his royal Messenger, Jesus Christ, for the work of judgment. After that the congregating of his sheep of the “little flock” and then of the “great crowd” fell due according to Jehovah’s timing of events. His time for the sheep to do a certain final work then fell due, namely, to announce his established kingdom world-wide and to sound a warning concerning the end of this old world to all humanity. In his prophecy on the end of the world Jesus Christ, now King, gave us orders to make this kingdom proclamation, saying: “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. 24:14.
10. How do we show wisdom with regard to the King’s order and our vow and our refusing to challenge Jehovah’s King?
10 The congregator tells us to show wisdom and keep this very order of the King Jesus Christ, and especially to do so out of regard for the oath that we have given to God in conjunction with our vow to him to do his will. We have given our word; we dare not prove false swearers; we may not break our vow. By what we have vowed and sworn before the Most High God we are under obligation to carry out the order of his King, who sits upon the throne of Jehovah. We cannot walk out on his King in a renunciation of him, neglecting our Kingdom duties. That would be a bad thing to do. We cannot join the rulers of this world in challenging Jehovah’s King with the words: “What are you doing?” They cannot and we cannot stop the King in doing “all that he delights in”; and his delight at the present time is in having this good news of God’s kingdom preached everywhere to people of every kind. The King’s word is the power of control. It will be carried out and is being carried out regardless of the challenge of all Satan’s world.
11. If we congregated ones are wise-hearted, what will we know and see, and hence what will we do to avoid the calamity of the world?
11 Although some professed Christians do not want to take part in the Kingdom preaching because of the effort it requires and the persecution it brings, the preaching of the good news will not slow down or cease. It will go on anyhow without those who hold back, because the preaching is in obedience to the King’s order and his order is the “power of control.” If we congregated ones are wise-hearted, we will know that the Kingdom preaching was well arranged by God for this “time of the end” before the battle of Armageddon. We will see that this is his appointed time for it and that his judgment is in operation toward all the affairs of men and also toward what we do. We want his approval in judgment. Hence we will keep his commandment through his King. Doing this, we shall not know the calamitous thing that now blocks and frustrates all men of this world and that will reach its catastrophic expression at Armageddon.
12. (a) According to whose time should we now time ourselves, and how? (b) For what should we not look for pretexts, and why not?
12 This is the time of times. In harmony with our vow let us time ourselves now according to God’s time. Let us prove to ourselves that this is his time for the royal message of salvation to be preached. Also, let us be sure to do the particular work appointed for the time. Then we will do the worthwhile work. To do the wrong work at this all-important time means to end up in calamity. It means to give ourselves over to the “greatest vanity.” Everything else but this assigned work of God for this time “is vanity,” from which a man will have no profit, despite all his toil now. (Eccl. 1:2, 3) Let us, then, accept the “gift of God” of his work that he offers to us to do now. Let us not look for pretexts not to engage in the use of this “gift of God,” judging things by outward appearances that seem to make it unfavorable. “He that is watching the wind will not sow seed, and he that is looking at the clouds will not reap.” (Eccl. 11:4) Regardless of unfavorable appearances, let our slogan be, On with the work! “In the morning sow your seed and until the evening do not let your hand rest, for you are not knowing where this will have success, either here or there, or whether both of them will alike be good.” (Eccl. 11:6) May we not waste time; may we not prove lazy in this grandest opportunity.
13. Why should we give our strength to the Kingdom service to the fullest, and in this regard what warning of the congregator to the young people is fitting?
13 May we not waste our strength in a calamitous occupation. The time to use our strength in Kingdom service now before Armageddon is too limited. To the fullest may we give our strength to the Kingdom service. Young people have a special opportunity in this regard. If they misspend their youth in vain, calamitous works, God will in due time judge them for it. The congregator warns: “Rejoice, young man, in your youth and let your heart do you good in the days of your young manhood, and walk in the ways of your heart and in the things seen by your eyes. But know that on account of all these The [true] God will bring you into judgment. So remove vexation from your heart and ward off calamity from your flesh, for youth and the prime of life are vanity.”—Eccl. 11:9, 10.
14. (a) What does the congregator tell the young person to do to ward off calamity and to use youth and life’s prime not in vain? (b) Why will most children today not have the opportunity to reach old age after misspent youth?
14 How may a young man or woman ward off calamity, spare the heart vexations, and not let youth and the prime of life be vainly lived? Answers the congregator: “Remember, now, your grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: ‘I have no delight in them’; . . . before the silver cord is removed and the golden bowl gets crushed, and the jar at the spring is broken and the water wheel for the cistern has been crushed. Then the dust returns to the earth just as it happened to be and the spirit itself returns to The [true] God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12:1-7) It is a calamitous fact that most of the boys and girls today will not have the opportunity to waste their youth and prime of life and get to the calamitous days of old age, where life has been a vain thing for them. According to God’s timing the calamity of the universal war of Armageddon will strike them down while yet in their youth and prime of life because they are not remembering their grand Creator, serving him with worthwhile works.
15. Why do we not need to go experimenting, and by taking heed to Solomon’s inspired words what shall we avoid?
15 So we have given consideration to what the congregator has said. We have been informed what the “greatest vanity” is and what the “calamitous occupation” is. We do not need to go experimenting to prove it for ourselves by experience. He, with all his resources and opportunities as a king, has done the needed experimenting and he gives us the findings of his experiment. We shall avoid the greatest vanity and spare ourselves calamity by taking heed to his inspired wise words.
16. (a) What, now, should be our conclusion on the matter and our action upon our right conclusion? (b) What judgment will our worthwhile works receive?
16 In view of our considering with him all those worthy things, what should be our conclusion and our action upon our right conclusion? This, as stated in his words, “The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear The [true] God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole [obligation] of man. For The [true] God himself will bring every sort of work into the judgment in relation to every hidden thing, as to whether it is good or bad.” (Eccl. 12:13, 14) Nothing can we hide and keep from being judged by him. So our obligation is plainly set before us. In our private or hidden lives and in our lives out in the open before all men may we prove our fear of God by keeping his commandments. Our works will then be worthwhile, receiving God’s judgment favorable to our gaining life eternal with his blessed congregation in his righteous world to come.—Eccl. 8:12, 13.