Why Serve Jehovah?
IS IT just in recent times that you have taken up the service of Jehovah? Are you finding pleasure in it? No doubt you are, because there is much satisfaction that comes from doing the will of God, and association with other persons who engage in upright conduct and who truly love one another surely makes life pleasant.
But will you endure in Jehovah’s service? That depends to a considerable extent on why you are serving Jehovah. If you truly love Jehovah and serve him out of a heart that is filled with appreciation for what he has done, perseverance in his service will not be difficult. But if anyone takes up the service of God with the thought that he is going to serve until a particular year and, if God has not put an end to the wicked system of things by that time, then he will quit, he obviously has a wrong motive. And, while there are many benefits that come to one who serves Jehovah and it is important to appreciate them, if a person serves only for what he gets out of it, then he may quit when faced with hardship and persecution.
Why, then, should we serve Jehovah? There might be said to be three basic reasons for serving Jehovah, and which reasons serve as a threefold cord that is not easily broken.—Eccl. 4:12.
THE WISE THING TO DO
Serving Jehovah is the wise thing to do. Why so? Because, first of all, we can enjoy nothing without life, and Jehovah has made life, yes, everlasting life, dependent upon our serving Him. A wise person wants to live; in fact, Jehovah put in us a love of life. The way to choose life is by loving Jehovah, listening to him, sticking to him. Yes, “the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives”—to those who serve him—“is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Rom. 6:23; Deut. 30:19, 20.
Serving Jehovah is also the wise thing to do because it sets one free from many forms of bondage. To serve Jehovah one must become a disciple of Jesus Christ, and he promised freedom to his disciples. (John 8:31, 32) He who lives a life of dedication to Jehovah God becomes free from selfish ambitions, from the fear of man, from bondage to false religion and from the love of money, which “is a root of all sorts of injurious things.” He also becomes free from bondage to sin. He no longer lets sin rule as king in his mortal body to obey its desires.—1 Tim. 6:9, 10; Rom. 6:12-20; Heb. 13:6.
To serve Jehovah God is also the wise course because it means safety and security. As the writer of Proverbs so well noted: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” And since, as the apostle John noted, ‘the whole world is lying in the power of Satan,’ our only protection from him is to serve Jehovah. Yes, unless you are serving Jehovah God you are serving the Devil, and how foolish it is to serve your worst enemy!—Prov. 18:10; 1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4.
True is the saying, “the blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” (Prov. 10:22) By serving Him one learns to live in a way that is conducive to mental and physical well-being. (1 Tim. 4:8) One also becomes part of a large family of Christian brothers and sisters who are devoted to Jehovah’s principles of truth and righteousness. As Jesus promised, those who leave all to be his followers will receive a hundredfold now in this period of time, mothers, sisters and brothers.—Mark 10:28-30.
Moreover, the wise person appreciates happiness, and the service of Jehovah means the greatest happiness. How so? In that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving,” and to serve God today largely means giving of one’s time, energy and means to tell others about God’s kingdom.—Acts 20:35; Matt. 24:14.
THE JUST, THE RIGHT THING TO DO
An even stronger reason for serving Jehovah is that it is the right thing to do. We owe Jehovah God our service. How so? Because, first of all, he is the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. All lawful authority resides in Him. He has the right to tell all his creatures what they may and may not do. As the prophet Jeremiah expressed it: “To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” More than that, as the Creator of all things seen and unseen, he is the Owner of all his creatures. They are settlers on God’s earth, on his property. “It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves.” It is only right therefore that we serve Jehovah’s purposes and not our own selfish ones.—Jer. 10:23; Ps. 100:3.
More than that, Jehovah God not only gave us life in the first place but also sustains our life, furnishing sunshine and rain and all else necessary to continue living. As the apostle Paul told the Greek philosophers on the Areopagus or Mars’ Hill: “For by him we have life and move and exist.”—Acts 17:28; Ps. 36:9; Matt. 5:45.
Serving Jehovah God is simply giving him what is his due, what we owe him. Most fittingly, therefore, Jesus said: “Pay back . . . God’s things to God.” (Mark 12:17) God gave us life, and our intellectual, emotional and physical faculties and capacities. These we must pay back to him by serving him. It can be no other way. By the very nature of things we can fit into God’s arrangement of things only if we obey his two great commandments, to love Him with our whole heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Matt. 22:37-39) So we should serve Jehovah God because it is the right, the honest, the just thing to do. We owe him our service. This may be said to be the second strand of this threefold cord.
THE LOVING THING TO DO
However, the best of all reasons for serving Jehovah is that it is the loving thing to do; to serve him out of loving gratitude not only because of what he has done for us but also because of who he is.
Jehovah God is the most just, the wisest, the most loving Master that anyone could possibly serve. In ancient Israel when a bond servant found himself blessed with an unusually kind, loving and considerate master, he might not want to be set free after his time of servitude was over. If so, he could ask to remain as a bond servant for the rest of his life because of his love for his kind master. Jehovah God is such a loving, kind and considerate Master that every one of his creatures should out of love for him want to continue as his bond servant forever.—Deut. 15:12-17.
Yes, sheer loving gratitude should cause us to want to serve Jehovah God. He is the Giver of every good gift and perfect present. (Jas. 1:17) He himself is love, the very embodiment of unselfish, principled affection. (1 John 4:8) He loved the world of mankind so much that he sent his only-begotten Son to earth to die for humankind, to be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. As the apostle wrote: “The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent forth his Son [to die] for our sins.”—1 John 4:10; John 1:29; 3:16.
Not only love for Jehovah God but also love for our fellowman should make us want to serve Jehovah. The greatest possible good we can do for our neighbor is to help him take in knowledge of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. Why? Because as Jesus himself said, “This means everlasting life”—and what greater blessing can one receive than the prospect of 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.
Truly, serving Jehovah God is the wise thing to do, for it offers many rewards both now and in the future. A better reason for serving Jehovah is that it is the right thing to do. And the best of all reasons to serve Jehovah is because of love, because of loving appreciation of who He is and what he has done and will yet do for us. These three basic reasons can truly serve as a threefold cord, both for causing one to serve Jehovah and for keeping our service to Jehovah unbroken regardless of the time remaining for this system of things.