Blessing Jehovah in Our Daily Associations
“Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.”—1 Cor. 10:31.
1. (a) How far-reaching is the Scriptural principle found at 1 Corinthians 10:31? (b) Which part of daily life will we be considering in our lesson?
TO BLESS Jehovah means to praise him, to bring glory to him. As dedicated servants of Jehovah, his Christian witnesses have made a total commitment of their lives to the blessing of their God, Jehovah. So it is with heartfelt interest that we consider the apostle Paul’s words: “Therefore, whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.” (1 Cor. 10:31) We note that, while Paul is discussing the Christian’s view of eating and drinking, in this verse he states a broad principle—the doing of all things for God’s glory—that should influence everything that we do. As true Christians, we know that our ministry to others, our attendance and participation in congregational meetings, and our personal and family study are all ways we bless and praise Jehovah. But for most of us, after these first things in our lives are done, the major part of our daily lifetime remains. How can we bless Jehovah in this time and in the associations this time brings?
2. At what times would it be necessary for Christians to be in the association of unbelievers, and what should we guard against?
2 It is good for us to note at this point that, while true Christians do not seek the association of worldly persons, it is often necessary to keep company with such persons. (John 17:15, 16) Fathers often must spend the larger portion of their waking hours working with worldly associates in order to provide materially for their families. Schoolchildren, in order to receive an education, must spend a considerable part of their time with schoolmates who are not concerned with blessing Jehovah. Other than such necessary association, true Christians will avoid keeping company or making friendships with those who do not share their love for Jehovah God. It is only the course of wisdom and life to do so.—1 Cor. 15:33; Prov. 13:20.
3. On what occasions other than during personal study, meetings and field service should we be concerned with blessing Jehovah?
3 Since so many Christians must face worldly associations daily to fulfill their responsibilities and obligations, we shall discuss how we can bless Jehovah with our words and thoughts in all our daily associations. This would include, in addition, those occasions when we might gather with our brothers for relaxation and even those times when we find ourselves alone. Yes, how can we bless Jehovah in our daily associations?
AT OUR SECULAR WORK
4. In what other way besides our good conduct can we bless Jehovah at our place of employment?
4 You Christian family heads have a weighty responsibility to provide for your families, and fulfilling it often brings you into association with worldly persons at your place of employment. Of course, your good conduct is a fine witness to such persons and brings glory to Jehovah. But there are also many opportunities to bless Jehovah by our speech in these associations. The conversation of our fellow workers usually centers around world conditions and events, does it not? As the world conditions increase in trouble and perplexity and as the genuine concern of people increases, so our opportunities are increasing to turn the thoughts of fellow workers to Jehovah’s promised solution as expressed in the Bible.—Luke 21:25-33.
5. How can we best teach fellow workers about the Bible? What would we want to avoid?
5 In giving such a witness to fellow workers we want to follow Paul’s admonition to Timothy where he says in part: “But a slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, . . . instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed.” (2 Tim. 2:23-26) Yes, by using tactful questions, drawing them out, getting them talking and thinking on the Bible’s view and then using good reasoning, we can begin to teach them about Jehovah. In all this let us avoid debates and ‘foolish questionings.’ We want to talk with them and reason with them in a kind and mild manner, and in this way we can bring glory to Jehovah.
6. Why do younger publishers have fine opportunities to witness while at school?
6 Never before have the youth, while still students in school, been so aware and concerned with the problems and injustices of the adult world around them. Never have young people been searching for the meaning of life as they are today. This means that we, who are Christian youths, have unparalleled opportunities to bless Jehovah in our associations with schoolmates and teachers. The psalmist urged us to do this, saying: “Praise Jehovah . . . you young men and also you virgins, you old men together with boys. Let them praise the name of Jehovah, for his name alone is unreachably high. His dignity is above earth and heaven.”—Ps. 148:7, 12, 13.
7. What advantages do you have in talking to your classmates?
7 View your class as your own unique territory in which to praise Jehovah. It is a territory made up of persons the same age as you and with similar interests. Never will you encounter someone “not at home.” Many, because of their youth, will be open-minded, searching for truth, able to reason, unprejudiced. When you find interest you can call back on those persons at almost any time for they are always there. And they know you as a classmate, not a stranger, and so will talk with you without hesitation. Yes, in many ways your own classmates are the finest and most fertile “field” of people you have in which to bless Jehovah.—1 Cor. 3:6-9.
8. When is one opportunity to witness to your classmates, and in what manner would you present the message?
8 In casual conversation with one or a number of our schoolmates, we can often turn the conversation to the Bible’s view of world problems and its solution, to Bible prophecy, or to the practicalness of the Bible’s counsel as to the problems and pressures experienced by young people today. Here again, it is vital that we express ourselves in a sincere, calm manner at all times, while showing consideration for their viewpoints. We should use good reasoning in such conversations, teach with thought-provoking questions, and be kind, not dogmatic, in our approach.—2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Pet. 3:15.
9. (a) How can you praise Jehovah in school class discussions, and how can you best be prepared for such occasions? (b) What success have some young Witnesses had in witnessing at school?
9 Class discussions often present excellent opportunities to give a witness. Science classes open the way for us to present the sound reasons behind our belief in Jehovah as the Creator of life and the evidences of the Bible’s scientific accuracy. This can be done in private conversation with our instructor or fellow classmates, or when class discussion is permitted. It is good to prepare for such occasions by a careful study of the books Did Man Get Here by Evolution or by Creation? and Is the Bible Really the Word of God? If we have the good points of logic in these publications clearly in mind, we will be ready when the occasion presents itself to give credit and honor to Jehovah. Many Christian youths have found it wise to have copies of these books with them at school, as a discussion of these topics often results in many classmates wanting to investigate the matter further. One young publisher of the good news reports regarding the Evolution book: “One day I placed nine books in one classroom. The next day I placed one with a boy who had never talked to the Witnesses before. He stayed up all night to read it and later said: ‘I’ll take five of them!”’ A twelve-year-old youth says: “My teacher read some of the book and the next day recommended it to the class. Thus I was able to place thirty-four copies!” Yes, at a time when most youths are taught to doubt Jehovah’s creative power and even his existence, Christian youths can do much to show that they are ‘remembering their Grand Creator in the days of their young manhood.’—Eccl. 12:1.
10. (a) What subjects could a Christian youth use in school classes to present the Bible’s view? (b) Why is the counsel of Ecclesiastes 12:12, 13 appropriate?
10 History classes may allow us to point out the unchangeable accuracy of the Bible historically and so give praise to Jehovah as the Bible’s Author. Speech or English classes afford occasions to give talks to the entire class. A Christian youth can choose the existence of God, a religious doctrine or issue, perfect government, or one of many other Scriptural topics that will permit him to present clearly the Bible’s view and teaching on a subject. Frequently the subject is opened to class discussion after the talk. This gives a fine opportunity for a further witness and for discerning which classmates are genuinely interested in the Bible. Later their interest can be cultivated in private conversations. In this manner we can help fellow students to appreciate the wisdom of Jehovah’s counsel at Ecclesiastes 12:12, 13: “As regards anything besides these, my son, take a warning: To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion to them is wearisome to the flesh. 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.”
11. What qualities must one exercise in presenting the Bible truth to one’s classmates, and for what can one pray as did the early Christians?
11 Fearlessness and boldness are qualities we need if we are to take advantage of all our opportunities to praise Jehovah in school. One brother who has enjoyed the full-time pioneer ministry and Bethel service for some nine years since his graduation from high school states: “When I look back on my school years now, I realize what a rich opportunity I had then to praise Jehovah, and I can think of a number of classmates who, very likely, would have responded favorably. But I rarely used those opportunities as I lacked the boldness I now have to talk about Jehovah and his purposes freely. I wish I could go back and live those days over again!” Are you a young witness of Jehovah still in school? Make your prayer the same as that of the early Christians who prayed: “And now, Jehovah, . . . grant your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness.” (Acts 4:29) Make your request like Paul’s request to his Ephesian brothers. He asked that they pray for him, “that ability to speak may be given me with the opening of my mouth, with all freeness of speech to make known the sacred secret of the good news, . . . that I may speak in connection with it with boldness as I ought to speak.” (Eph. 6:19, 20) What honor and glory Christian youths can bring to Jehovah by being fearless and bold in blessing Jehovah in their daily associations.
12. What makes our young people stand apart from other young people of this system? Give an example.
12 Not only the speech of our young people, but also their fine conduct, makes them stand apart from those of this system, thus praising Jehovah. (Phil. 2:14, 15) How proud and happy a Christian mother was to receive this note from her little girl’s teacher: “This does not happen often that a teacher can write a note such as this, but your little girl is about the best behaved and well-mannered young lady I’ve ever met here or anywhere. Believe me, she is a credit to you and I only wish I could have her with me many more years.” More than a credit to her mother, was she not a credit to Jehovah whose righteous principles were directing her life? Think how Jehovah’s heart delighted in her blessing him in her daily associations.
AT GATHERINGS WITH OUR BROTHERS
13. At what other time can we bless Jehovah in our daily associations?
13 It is a good thing to seek relaxation and entertainment in the association of our brothers. This assures us of right association and allows us to relax without the feeling of having to have our “guard up,” which feeling always accompanies worldly associations.—Ps. 133:1.
14. (a) How can we make our association among fellow Christians both relaxing and spiritually upbuilding, and how did Paul’s counsel at Hebrews 10:24, 25 express this? (b) What are some suggested ways that we can make our gatherings both enjoyable and upbuilding?
14 While we may have a relaxing time viewing a carefully chosen program on television, playing any of numerous games, or just visiting, we can make the occasion both relaxing and spiritually rewarding by making spiritual matters a topic of conversation. Is it not evident that the apostle Paul also had such occasions in mind when he said: “And let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near”? (Heb. 10:24, 25) If we are the host we may want to plan for a portion of the evening to be spent in encouraging ‘one another . . . in love and fine works.’ A simple means of doing this that has proved very enjoyable and upbuilding to many brothers is to have each one present tell how he learned and accepted the truth. No matter how long we have known Jehovah, to hear these experiences and to express our own renew our appreciation for our relationship with Jehovah and reassure our faith in his organization. Or the host may wish to select a thought-provoking chapter in the Bible and the entire group can then read it together. Any verse not completely understood by everyone present can be discussed, and this can lead to a fascinating Scriptural discussion that is very faith-strengthening. How pleasurable an evening spent this way with our brothers can be! How uplifted and joyful we feel after such an occasion of association simply because, even at a time of relaxation, we have done “all things for God’s glory.”—1 Cor. 10:31.
WHEN WE ARE ALONE
15, 16. (a) How can we bless Jehovah when we are alone, and for what can we pray during this period of time? (b) Are we limited to scheduled occasions for prayer, and what was the counsel of Paul and Peter as to the privilege of prayer?
15 Often in daily life we find ourselves alone. Housewives may spend much of the day alone while caring for the housework. Fathers may be alone at work or on the way to and from work. Children often find themselves alone at play or on summer vacation. But you may ask, How can we, when alone, bless Jehovah in our daily associations?
16 We can do this by seeking Jehovah’s association at such times. All Christians at any age can talk with Jehovah at any time. There is great pleasure in communing with God at unexpected and unplanned times such as when we happen to be outside on a beautiful, clear day. We can talk to Jehovah from our heart as we walk. Just praise and bless Jehovah and thank him with deep gratitude for being alive, for knowing him, and for the truth he has given us. Cultivate a proneness to such prayerful association with Jehovah so that you feel a desire to talk to him at any time and especially when you are alone. Paul admonished his Thessalonian brothers to “pray incessantly,” and Peter said: “Be vigilant with view to prayers.” (1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Pet. 4:7) Do not limit your prayers of praise to Jehovah just to routine, scheduled occasions. Never let your personal expressions to Jehovah lose their meaning and heartfelt quality. One older brother stated that he prays when he awakens during the night. He says: “I say my best prayers then.” Yes, through incessant prayer we can bless Jehovah while in association with him.
17. Why is it good for us to think of the faithful men spoken of in the Bible when we are by ourselves?
17 When alone it is also good to choose a faithful person described in the Bible and just think about his life and experiences. Hebrews 13:7 states: “Remember those . . . who have spoken the word of God to you, and as you contemplate how their conduct turns out imitate their faith.” Such faithful men of old have completed their lives, and the faithful way they conducted themselves has been on record for many centuries now. So we can wholeheartedly imitate their faith without hesitation or contemplation as to whether their conduct will be faithful or not.
18. (a) Illustrate how we can think and mentally associate with our faithful brothers though we are alone and though they may have fulfilled their course in life. (b) Why is this some of the best association we can have?
18 For example, when alone and working at something that does not require our constant attention, we might choose to think about the faithfulness and endurance of the apostle Paul. Think about the trials he faced and make them live in your mind. Visualize his spending sleepless nights in prison, being whipped with thirty-nine strokes on five separate occasions. (2 Cor. 11:23-33) See him being stoned by the inhabitants of Lystra and left lying on the ground outside the city as dead. Feel the joy of the disciples who gather around him as he rises back up and, although painfully and severely beaten, returns to the city and then, the very next day, leaves with Barnabas to continue his missionary tour. (Acts 14:19, 20) Reflect, then, on his words that “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13) In this way, when alone, we can choose the best associates, and by thinking on their life course, we are strengthened and motivated to bless Jehovah as they did.
19, 20. (a) How have some found great value in listening to and learning the Kingdom songs? (b) Whose association are we enjoying as we sing and meditate upon these Kingdom songs?
19 When alone at home Christian mothers and wives have found it beneficial to listen to recordings of the Kingdom songs, or to memorize the melodies so that they can sing them as they work. One sister says: “Sometimes when I’m home alone, I find myself a little downhearted and lonely. But then I start playing the records of Kingdom songs I have and it seems to lift me up and brighten my day.” Now this sister has learned many of the Kingdom songs by heart. Some have made it their goal to learn the words of each Kingdom song so they can sing by heart the words as they hear the melody. The words of these songs are most upbuilding.
20 As an example, consider song number 28 in the songbook “Singing and Accompanying Yourselves with Music in Your Hearts.” The song is entitled “Give Jehovah the Praise!” and verse two states: “Set him e’er before you; Keep self out of sight. Thus for him you can shine With heav’ns radiant light. Walk e’er in his presence, Keep seeking his face, And always assigning His work the first place.” How much those few words say! When we stop to meditate on the words, we find that each Kingdom song is deep with spiritual meaning and benefit. By our singing these songs to Jehovah, we are enjoying association with him and bringing him glory in all that we do. So follow the inspired admonition: “Keep on teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, praises to God, spiritual songs with graciousness, singing in your hearts to Jehovah.”—Col. 3:16.
21. We should seek to do what in all of our associations, and this would fulfill which Scriptural principle?
21 In our discussion of this subject, we have seen the need to praise Jehovah in all our activities and associations. Even though we may find it necessary to associate with those lacking faith to fulfill our responsibilities in life, we can use those occasions to give honor to our God. At our place of employment, let us view such association as an opportunity to acquaint our fellow workers with Jehovah and his purposes in a kind and reasonable way. If we find ourselves in school, let us take hold of our advantage to give a sincere witness with boldness to our classmates and teachers. When gathered together as brothers, we can renew one another’s faith, appreciation and zeal by our conversation. And when alone, let us seek the association of Jehovah through song and prayer, and through the company of past faithful servants of God in our thoughts. Let us bless Jehovah throughout our lives and in all our daily associations, and so doing “all things for God’s glory.”—1 Cor. 10:31.
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Worsening world conditions may open up opportunities at one’s secular work to direct attention to Jehovah’s purposes
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Christian youths have fine opportunities at school, as in science class, to speak of Jehovah’s work
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Each day as we enjoy Jehovah’s handiwork, it is good to express our gratitude to him