“Ready for Every Good Work”
THE inspired Scriptures admonish Christians to be “ready for every good work.” (Titus 3:1) What does this require of God’s devoted servants? It calls for unhesitating response to the needs of others. If we are able to do something positive in rendering aid, we would certainly not want to put it off for some later time nor leave it for someone else to do. Rather, we should even be willing to deny ourselves, if that becomes necessary, to help deserving ones.
There are many activities that can be described as “good work,” beneficial to our neighbors and pleasing to our God. For instance, there is the work of encouraging fellow believers by word and example. An excellent opportunity to do this is at Christian meetings. The apostle Paul urged: “We ought to see how each of us may best arouse others to love and active goodness, not staying away from our [Christian] meetings, as some do, but rather encouraging one another, all the more because you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:24, 25, New English Bible) Yes, it is “good work” to be regularly on hand at meetings of the Christian congregation, to cheer, hearten and upbuild our brothers. Even if we ourselves are not up to par physically, what an inspiration we can be to others who observe our weakness give way to strength by the help of Jehovah’s spirit!
At such gatherings there may be present some who are depressed, heartsick, burdened in spirit, sad. Your being on hand places you in a position to assist them. Your expressed concern about their welfare and your warmth in conversation can stir them to start thinking about better things. Not to be overlooked is the encouragement they can derive from your answers to questions propounded from the platform.
It is really the spirit of Jehovah that will enable you to incite fellow believers “to love and active goodness.” That spirit upon Jesus Christ made it possible for him to “comfort all who mourn, to give them garlands instead of ashes, oil of gladness instead of mourners’ tears, a garment of splendour for the heavy heart.” (Isa. 61:2, 3, NE; Luke 4:17-21) In imitation of Jesus Christ, are you, with the help of God’s spirit, giving such comfort even to those not yet related to you in the faith?
Our sharing in the vital work of proclaiming the “good news” of God’s kingdom can indeed bring comfort to many. Hence, we want to be sure that we are setting aside time for the essential service of going to the homes of the people in our neighborhood, seeking to interest them in God’s message for people of this generation.
How strengthening it is to ourselves as we build up endurance in this work! It being a work Scripturally described as searching for lost “sheep,” we cannot expect to find a genuine sheeplike person on every street or in every town or village. (Compare Matthew 10:6, 14.) So we should not become discouraged when we encounter unresponsive people. Rather, we should want to persevere in the face of unresponsiveness as well as ignorant and blasphemous contradictions. Such perseverance produces endurance.—Rom. 5:3-5.
We also want to make good use of opportunities in our daily contacts to acquaint others with the comforting promises contained in the Bible. We may meet people while waiting for transportation, or while traveling, or we may have opportunity to talk briefly with strangers. Does it not display ‘readiness’ for “good work” when we direct their attention to what the Bible has to say about present world conditions and the fulfillment of prophecy? As such opportunities often present themselves, we could make it a practice to have with us a Bible study aid—a small book, booklet or a magazine—that could be offered to those who express some interest in the Kingdom message.
The Law given to the Israelites through Moses commanded them to be concerned about those who fell into poverty. (Deut. 15:7, 8, 11) Christian worshipers of Jehovah today should strive to be even more prepared in mind and disposition to discern and fill, to the extent possible, the needs of their poorer brothers. Deserving of their assistance and generosity would be those who, despite hardships, demonstrate a zeal for Kingdom work and a deep devotion to Jehovah God. We should want to imitate the generosity of the man Cornelius. Why, even before his baptism he was recognized as a “God-fearing” man who gave “generously to the people” and “constantly prayed to God.” In a vision, an angel told him: “Your prayers and your generosity have risen in God’s sight, and because of them he has remembered you.”—Acts 10:2-4, New American Bible.
In our day, as in the time of the apostles, there are traveling representatives of the worldwide Christian congregation who go from place to place building up the appreciation of the brothers for the grand privilege of serving Jehovah, and sharing with them helpful suggestions and experiences related to such service. These traveling brothers deserve our wholehearted and generous support, just as the apostle Paul in his letter to Titus (3:13, 14) recommended: “Equip Zenas the lawyer and Apollos carefully for their journey, so that they may lack nothing. And have our own people learn to apply themselves to honorable work to meet the urgent needs, that they may not be unproductive.”—New Berkeley Version.
Of course, we may not always be aware of the physical and spiritual needs of our fellow worshipers, especially of those living in distant lands. Yet even when that is the case we can render “good work” in their behalf. What we cannot do personally in the way of reaching those in need can be done through the legal agency used by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Contributions forwarded to that Society are used to advance spiritual interests throughout the earth. Also, because of the generosity and readiness of mind on the part of a great crowd of brothers, funds are available to the Society for undertaking immediate relief measures in behalf of those suffering from some major catastrophe or due to persecution heaped upon them.
By being “ready for every good work” we prove that we rest our hope on God. We can therefore be confident of his blessing now and in the future. This is what the apostle Paul pointed out when recommending a spirit of generosity. His admonition to Timothy was that he should encourage certain fellow believers “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. 6:18, 19) How fine it is to be able to share in “good work” and thereby to imitate God, who gives generously to all, both in material and spiritual things!—Matt. 5:45; Jas. 1:5.