Using Theocratic Assets
“Honor Jehovah with your valuable things.”—Prov. 3:9.
1. Why is the truth so much more valuable than gold?
THE truth is one of man’s most valuable assets. In fact, it is a priceless treasure. Since the truth originates in Jehovah God, it is a theocratic asset. By truth wise men are guided today in the path that leads to everlasting life. By a knowledge of the truth happiness is available in the midst of a very unhappy world. Gold, money and material possessions may be thought about first when assets are mentioned, but money cannot buy happiness, peace of mind or everlasting life. Therefore all of mankind who really know the truth are thankful to Jehovah the Great Provider of truth as they use this valuable theocratic asset.—Ps. 105:1, 2.
2. What does a person need to make the best use of his assets?
2 By learning the truth about relationship to the Creator, man comes to appreciate the many good things with which he has been endowed by God. He may not be rich in gold and material possessions, but he realizes that the measure of life he possesses is a great asset from God, and if he can gain the blessing of God in using his life he will indeed be very rich. “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” (Prov. 10:22) A man’s gold or houses can be quickly taken away from him by other men or by governments, but no one can remove the blessing of Jehovah when Jehovah gives it. With the blessing of Jehovah God a man can use his personal assets or resources to good success.
3. What do those who appreciate their relationship to Jehovah do?
3 God expects man to live in harmony with him. Those who appreciate their relationship to Jehovah do so. “None of us, in fact, lives with regard to himself only, . . . we live to Jehovah, . . . we belong to Jehovah.” (Rom. 14:7-9) But Jehovah God does not force anyone. He lets individuals have an opportunity to learn the truth and see the privilege of dedicating their lives to the service of God. Then they can use their life to be a blessing to others by following the example of Jesus, who gave his all in the service of Jehovah. Those who dedicate their lives to God now and who prove obedient to doing his will have the assurance that their lives will be extended to everlasting life. “In the path of righteousness there is life, and the journey in its pathway means no death.”—Prov. 12:28.
4, 5. (a) How does knowing Jehovah’s commandments become a protection to a man’s assets, especially in this twentieth century? (b) How does Jesus’ example show the need for good sense in using the life God has given?
4 The righteous standards for living set up by God in his Word protect one’s vitality. Jehovah’s commandments put up a shield around a man so he will not dissipate his energies in the foolish pursuits of this world, in drunkenness, gluttony, violence, or lecherous living. The wisdom received from God through his truth guides a man to avoid dangers common to the thrill seekers of the twentieth century. Pride or personal gratification leads men to try to climb the highest mountain, travel at the fastest rate of speed, risk life in violent athletic contests or engage in gun duels and fighting. But God has not given man life to waste it in such pursuits commonly practiced in these last days. The proclamation of God’s truth is helping men of all kinds to see how they should be using their lives. The apostle Peter showed how a change occurs in lives of truth learners: “For the time that has passed by is sufficient for you to have worked out the will of the nations when you proceeded in deeds of loose conduct, lusts, excesses with wine, revelries, drinking matches, and illegal idolatries. . . . But the end of all things has drawn close. Be sound in mind, therefore, and be vigilant with a view to prayers.”—1 Pet. 4:3-7.
5 Jesus Christ valued life as a great theocratic asset. The Devil urged Jesus to risk his life in a foolish way. “Then the Devil took him along into the holy city, and he stationed him upon the battlement of the temple and said to him: ‘If you are a son of God, hurl yourself down; for it is written, “He will give his angels a charge concerning you, and they will carry you on their hands, that you may at no time strike your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him: ‘Again it is written, “You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.”’” (Matt. 4:5-7) Why should life be used without respect for God’s will? Jesus had the good sense to use his life in harmony with God’s will as a dedicated servant of Jehovah and he left us the example to follow. Since life is one of God’s gifts to man, a thing from God, it is rightly spent only in God’s service, according to the principle Jesus himself set forth: “Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”—Matt. 22:21.
USE OF TIME
6. (a) Why is time so valuable now? (b) How does laziness become a robber?
6 Following the foolish pursuits of the world is a waster, not only of life force and energy, but of another asset—time. Paul, after mentioning the shameful conduct of the nations, gave good reason for guarding time and using the asset well. “So keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked. On this account cease becoming unreasonable, but go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is.” (Eph. 5:15-17) Today the nations of the world squander time by ceaseless pursuits of pleasure, ignoring the beneficial continuous action of perceiving what the will of Jehovah is. By squandering their time they are also in line to lose life itself. Others squander time out of sheer laziness, not wanting to bear any responsibility. They are being robbed of a valuable asset whether they realize it or not. A wise man once wrote: “I passed along by the field of the lazy individual and by the vineyard of the man in need of heart. And, look! all of it produced weeds. Nettles covered its very surface, and its stone wall itself had been torn down. So I proceeded to behold, I myself; I began taking it to heart; I saw, I took the discipline: A little sleeping, a little slumbering, a little folding of the hands to lie down, and as a highwayman your poverty will certainly come and your neediness as an armed man.”—Prov. 24:30-34.
7. To what profitable uses can valuable time be put?
7 God’s Word emphasizes the need for discipline in using time profitably. “Keep getting filled with spirit, speaking to yourselves with psalms and praises to God and spiritual songs, singing and accompanying yourselves with music in your hearts to Jehovah, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks always for all things to our God and Father.” (Eph. 5:15-20) Dedicated Christian time is devoted to God’s things, including taking in knowledge of God’s Word, speaking about it to others, being in regular association with those who are also dedicated to God and joining voices in organized praise and thanksgiving to God publicly. The workingman must give the employer his due, but there are other hours in the day. Youths do not spend all their day in school. So the dedicated servant of God uses his time in speaking wherever he may be, such as while traveling to work or to school, during a lunch hour or in a time of relaxation and diversion. This is in addition to definite periods of time set apart for regular theocratic activities at homes in the community. So on many occasions Christians employ another theocratic asset, the power of speech, a marvelous gift from God that is used to the praise of Jehovah.—Ps. 71:24.
INFLUENCE AND STRENGTH
8. How can influence prove to be a great asset in personal associations? in a congregation?
8 Among the resources of all men, rich or poor, is influence on the lives of others. One could hardly associate with a man like the apostle Paul and not benefit from his influence. His viewpoint was expressed to the Romans: “For I am longing to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you in order for you to be made firm; or, rather, that there may be an interchange of encouragement among you, by each one through the other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Rom. 1:11, 12) Today God expects men to be an influence for good wherever they go. A Christian may find himself in his secular work as a companion with men of foul speech or evil thoughts. The fact that he does not join in such evil, but keeps his position as a Christian and speaks of good things, is bound to be a good influence. Christian children in school and at play should also be a good influence. Wise fathers influence their families for good, taking a proper lead in observing God’s truth. Christian mothers support the fathers in using their influence on the lives of the children. (Prov. 22:6; 2 Tim. 1:5) In the congregation a Christian may also use his influence for good if he is zealous and ready in mind to apply the counsel and instructions, encouraging others to give full support to all congregation activities. He shows respect for the overseers who preside in a fine way and works harmoniously with them.—1 Tim. 5:17.
9, 10. (a) What is Jehovah’s example in using strength and power? (b) In what does Ecclesiastes 7:16-18 show the need to keep balance?
9 Strength and power are theocratic assets when employed to the good of others. The so-called strong men of the world are usually dictators who use power and strength to oppress the people, but this is not what Almighty God expects to see in men. Jehovah, who is all-powerful, has set the right example for men in his patience and loving-kindness. Men do well to copy him and use their power in accord with God’s will, serving the Creator. Imperfect men are said to have strong points and weaknesses. God’s Word counsels on keeping a balanced use of strong points and controlling weaknesses: “Do not become righteous overmuch, nor show yourself excessively wise. Why should you cause desolation to yourself? Do not be wicked overmuch, nor become foolish. Why should you die when it is not your time? It is better that you should take hold of the one, but from the other also do not withdraw your hand; for he that fears God will go forth with them all.”—Eccl. 7:16-18.
10 Seeking knowledge and wisdom are good, but balance is necessary as one gains knowledge and wisdom so he does not become proud or conceited and bring harm to himself. He may see an error by another person and become hypercritical. This can lead to his downfall, because he will begin to lose love and respect for those around him. He forgets that he, too, has weaknesses, which may be different from those of the person he criticizes. Jesus warned: “Stop judging that you may not be judged.” (Matt. 7:1-5) God’s Word of truth is a guide in proper use of strength and power.
11. What is the mature Christian viewpoint toward good health?
11 A person with good health is blessed and should show his gratitude to God for such a resource by using his vigor to praise his Creator. (Eccl. 12:1) The servant of God does not expect perfect health, but tries to maintain reasonably good health so he can use his assets to the praise of God. By inheritance from Adam men are sinners and, as years pass, bodies become weak, pains and aches increase. Here comes a test on the good sense of a person. He may not be able to do everything he would like to do, but instead of being upset he should be optimistic and rejoice that he can do something, remembering Job. Each person decides what is good for his health. One should not judge the other when it comes to eating and drinking. (Rom. 14:3, 4) The important consideration for the servant of Jehovah is God’s kingdom. “For the kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking, but means righteousness and peace and joy with holy spirit.” (Rom. 14:17) To become mixed up with fads and oversensitive about food and fresh air to the extent of sacrificing attendance at meetings or assemblies of Christians or neglecting to have a share in the preaching of the good news could lead one to a loss of integrity. Rather than continual talk about treatments, diets and vitamins, Christians should continually keep in mind the great issue of God’s kingdom and in speech and thought take the advice of Paul at Romans 14:19: “So, then, let us pursue the things making for peace and the things that are upbuilding to one another.” This course of action will contribute toward the good mental health of all in the congregation, which is far more important than physical health.
12. In what ways is Kingdom service a blessing to a man physically?
12 Christians can be thankful that among God’s requirements for them is the work of preaching from house to house, which gives them necessary exercise and fresh air that are so much missed by the modern generation who lead an increasingly sedentary life. By living with wisdom toward the injurious practices of this world the Christian preserves health and strength. Whatever measure of health one has is an asset to draw on for preaching the good news of God’s kingdom.—Matt. 10:7, 12; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
13. When one is gifted in natural abilities and aptitudes, what is the best way to use these assets?
13 Natural abilities and aptitudes are a great blessing. Some are gifted in art and music. Others have quick minds and strong bodies and have been able to train themselves for specialized activities. Natural abilities should not be taken for granted, but are qualities given in trust by God to be used to his praise. They can benefit your fellow Christians and build up the congregation or organization. Frequently work must be done in Kingdom Halls or at conventions of Jehovah’s witnesses. What better way could there be of using natural abilities than for the honor of Jehovah and the blessing of his servants? Natural abilities make men of the world puff up with pride, but not so the humble Christian who compares himself with Christ Jesus, the perfect man. Whether a Christian is a doctor, lawyer, engineer, farmer, artist or mechanic, he will find ways of using his talents for the advancement of God’s work. That is a part of Christian dedication. Never be stingy in giving of your natural abilities for the advancement of theocratic interests.—Ex. 35:30-35.
14. What should be done when one has increased knowledge and power of reasoning?
14 Knowledge, power of reasoning, being quick to discern the meaning of God’s Word and God’s principles—these will all be useful for his benefit and that of others. All who are diligent to attend regular study meetings for consideration of God’s purposes are bound to increase in knowledge and power of reasoning, but the value of things learned is to be judged by how they can be used. Paul impressed upon Timothy, at 2 Timothy 2:1, 2: “You, therefore, my child, keep on acquiring power in the undeserved kindness that is in connection with Christ Jesus, and the things you heard from me with the support of many witnesses, these things commit to faithful men, who, in turn, will be adequately qualified to teach others.” And, indeed, unselfish use of knowledge gained is a source of great joy and happiness.
15, 16. (a) How can finances and material resources prove to be a liability? (b) When a Christian has the asset of riches, how can they be of benefit? (c) How can homes, machines or other equipment be a blessing to their owners as theocratic assets?
15 The assets so far mentioned are more valuable than finances and material resources. Among the rich people of the world finances often appear to be a liability rather than an asset. This is not surprising in view of what Jesus said in Matthew 19:24: “Again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God.” Did that mean that finances or material resources prevent all men from getting into God’s kingdom? Jesus’ statement raised a question: “Who really can be saved?” He answered: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:25, 26) A young man had asked what he must do to get everlasting life. He was keeping all the laws of God, but lacked one thing: He did not want to dedicate his all to Jehovah’s work of helping the poor learn the truth, becoming a follower of Jesus in this work; so he went away grieved because of his many possessions. In the world many who are rich become arrogant, feel independent and seek exaltation, but this does not mean none could learn the truth and dedicate their assets to serving God. Evidently some wealthy persons did become Christians, because Paul told Timothy: “Give orders to those who are rich in the present system of things not to be high-minded, and to rest their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God, who furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment; to work at good, to be rich in fine works, to be liberal, ready to share, safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future, in order that they may get a firm hold on the real life.”—1 Tim. 6:17-19.
16 This Bible counsel to the rich shows how God views matters with respect to material possessions. Whatever you have, whether much or little, should be used to work at good, and you should be liberal, ready to share. Paul commended the Christians at Philippi for giving support in his time of arrest and persecution. (Phil. 4:14-16) Finances have been used to advance the preaching work even from the time of first-century Christians. (2 Cor. 11:8, 9) In modern times the fact that thousands of Kingdom Halls for Christian meetings and instruction are being erected all over the world shows how material resources can be used by groups of Christians for the general advancement of God’s work. Homes, large and small, are made available for Bible study meetings. They are used to shelter traveling representatives of the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses. Hospitality is shown, meals are provided. Automobiles, boats or other means of conveyance are employed in the spreading of the good news. Machines and equipment of various kinds are made available when there is need in the work. Through the organization of Jehovah full-time preachers are sent out. Missionary work is done. Jehovah God is blessing the unity of his servants in using their assets received from him for the support of true worship worldwide.—1 Chron. 29:1-9, 14-16.
BENEFITS IN USING THEOCRATIC ASSETS
17. What personal benefits result from proper use of any theocratic assets you may have?
17 How will an individual benefit by using his assets to the full in God’s service? With a right mental outlook and proper use of these assets one grows to Christian maturity. With Christian maturity many privileges open up. God’s organization is expanding rapidly throughout the world and there is great need for mature, qualified men as overseers in the organization. New congregations are being formed from day to day. During the 1962 service year Jehovah’s witnesses formed 609 new congregations. Dedicated men have taken oversight, and dedicated women have done their share. Understanding the true meaning of dedication, they have employed all their talents. This is pleasing to God. Why should anyone want to hold back from doing what is good? How foolish it would be to give the best to the old world and give scantily to the support of the New World society! Material resources can be put to work. Families may sacrifice a few material things for the sake of God’s work, thereby making it possible to give one or more in the family the great privilege of preaching the good news every day. Others may organize their affairs to leave homes behind and do missionary work where the need is great. Financial support of the work is good, but personal support, using one’s personal theocratic assets, is now the greatest need in this day for the final Kingdom announcement. “Yes, the harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:37, 38) Think on all the many resources God has provided. Whether you are rich or poor in material resources, remember that time, influence, strength, power, health, natural abilities, aptitudes, power of reasoning, knowledge, power of speech and life itself are far more valuable. If all your assets are now being used to the full in harmony with God’s will to praise Jehovah, then you are making the wisest investment. To your assets Jehovah has promised to add everlasting life, and Jehovah always keeps his word.—Mark 10:29, 30.