What is Your Security?—Your Home?—Your Bank Account?—Your Job?
1. What proper desires will Jehovah satisfy, and how?
ALL normal persons desire security. They want economic security, a nice place to live, satisfying work, freedom from fear, and peace of mind. Jehovah implanted the desire for such proper things when he created man and woman. And in Jehovah’s new order, under the rule of his heavenly kingdom, such security will be the happy lot of mankind. Regarding Jehovah, the inspired psalmist said: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing.” (Ps. 145:16) In God’s new order the proper desires of humans will be fully satisfied, even beyond their expectations.
2. What loss will take place at the coming “great tribulation”?
2 But we are not yet in Jehovah’s new order. We still live in this present wicked system of things. And it is fast approaching its end. Its finish will come shortly when it collides head on with God at the coming “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21) Hence, before God’s new order becomes a reality, the old system of political, commercial and religious rule under Satan must be put out of the way. (2 Cor. 4:4; Rev. 19:11-21) At that time there will be enormous loss of life as Jehovah puts to death those refusing to do his will. Also, there will undoubtedly be much material loss, as happened when the wicked perished in the flood of Noah’s day, and when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, and also when Jerusalem was devastated in 70 C.E.—Luke 17:26-29; 2 Chron. 36:19.
3. Because of what the immediate future holds, what should be our attitude?
3 That is why there is now compelling reason to keep in its proper place the normal desire we may have for material security. Paying too much attention to material things can get us sidetracked from the most important thing—doing Jehovah’s will and gaining his approval. As the apostle Paul wrote: “Let us also put off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Heb. 12:1) Lack of faith can easily overcome us if we are too involved in the pursuits common to this system of things. Just as a runner strips himself of unnecessary weight to run his race, so we need to do in running for the prize of eternal life. Paul also likens the Christian to a soldier who does not divert his attention by engaging in other pursuits, saying: “As a fine soldier of Christ Jesus take your part in suffering evil. No man serving as a soldier involves himself in the commercial businesses of life, in order that he may gain the approval of the one who enrolled him as a soldier.”—2 Tim. 2:3, 4.
HAVING A BALANCED VIEW
4. Does God require his people to give up homes, jobs and money?
4 From this, should we conclude that, since we are so close to this system’s end, God requires Christians to abandon homes, jobs and money? Do they no longer need to be concerned about making a living, especially in difficult economic times when many people are thrown out of work? No, we should not conclude that, for God’s Word also says: “Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.” (1 Tim. 5:8) In order to ‘provide for their own,’ those with family responsibilities usually have to work to make enough money for food, clothing and shelter.
5, 6. What is the real issue regarding material things today?
5 The point that the Scriptures make is that while it is important and necessary to make a living, that should not become the center of one’s life. If a person is consumed by the cares of the day, he may feel that he has no time or energy left to search for God, learn his requirements, and do his will. So he must decide who will be his God: Jehovah or material things. “No one can slave for two masters,” said Jesus. “You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” (Matt. 6:24) The person who is too concerned about material things is usually too involved working and caring for them. That is why persons with wealth often have great difficulty in doing God’s will. They are too busy making and keeping their wealth. So Jesus observed: “How difficult a thing it will be for those with money to enter into the kingdom of God!”—Mark 10:23.
6 Sooner or later, whether it is in the time you spend, the attitude you develop, or your heart appreciation, one or the other—God or material things—will win out and become the center of your life. What becomes the center will determine your future, as it did for Lot and his wife. “Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) A farmer cannot sow seeds from plants that are weeds and hope to reap a crop of wheat. Similarly, if he sows wheat, he will not reap a crop of weeds. Thus, if we sow trust in the material benefits that this system now offers, we will reap disappointment when it goes off into destruction. If we sow trust in God, we will reap the rewards he gives, both now and in his new order.
7. How did the apostle Paul display the right attitude?
7 The course of practical wisdom today, in view of where we are on the stream of time, is to have the attitude that the apostle Paul had when he said: “I do indeed also consider all things to be loss on account of the excelling value of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. On account of him I have taken the loss of all things and I consider them as a lot of refuse, that I may gain Christ.” Even if doing the will of God meant the loss of everything, including his life, Paul would not have drawn back. He had the sure hope of the resurrection. In fact, he looked forward “to the earlier resurrection from the dead.” Paul appreciated that what really mattered in life was not the property, wealth, position or standing that he formerly had in the community. He was willing to let go of those things for what really counted—doing God’s will and gaining his favor and blessing.—Phil. 3:8, 10, 11.
HOW IMPORTANT IS YOUR HOME?
8, 9. Why is it unwise to become too attached to homes or possessions?
8 The wisdom of that attitude can be seen by the sadness, disappointment and aggravation that come to those who become too attached to material things, and who lose them. For instance, you may have a beautiful home today, but what assurance is there that you will have it tomorrow? You may not even live that long. (Luke 12:16-21) Even now, many who have gone heavily in debt for a home find that in economic “hard times” they cannot meet the payments and are forced to give up the house.
9 Also, each year thousands of homes are destroyed or damaged by fire, and others by floods or storms. With increasing frequency thieves are breaking into homes and stealing. In some cases insurance has covered the cost of losses, but in many other cases it has not. And what about the emotional cost to those who center their lives on these possessions? As one housewife noted: “It is true. The more you have, the more you have to worry about.” Too, in many parts of the world there have been wars, riots and other acts of violence that have destroyed homes without hope of compensation.
10. By having the right viewpoint, how does the Christian benefit? (Luke 14:33)
10 A person who keeps his wants to a reasonable minimum, and who is willing to settle for less materially, does not have so much to lose. In addition, it usually enables him to spend more of his time and energy in study and the service of his Creator. He can concentrate on building confidence in Jehovah and his promises. Fire, riots or violence might destroy his home, but they cannot destroy the real security that comes from Jehovah. That is why “the one listening to me,” says Jehovah, “will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.” (Prov. 1:33) Such a person can rightly say: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you yourself alone, O Jehovah, make me dwell in security.”—Ps. 4:8.
11. What material loss could occur during the “great tribulation”?
11 Finally, where one’s home and possessions are concerned, will they be left standing during the “great tribulation”? In that time of chaotic conditions, are we to think that one’s possessions will not be affected? (Zech. 14:13) Also, during the “great tribulation” Satan and his hordes will launch an attack on Jehovah’s servants “to get a big spoil and to do much plundering.” (Ezek. 38:12) How far Jehovah will let his enemies go we do not know at this time, but the likelihood of material loss is there.
12. To what can we look forward?
12 For all these reasons, we can see that it is unwise to become too attached emotionally to things such as homes and furnishings, however enjoyable they may be at present. It is not that Jehovah condemns such, but he knows that attachment to them could prove dangerous, as happened with Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:31, 32) Instead, we should look forward to the time in God’s new order when, in total security, his servants can build suitable homes for habitation.
IS MONEY, OR A JOB, YOUR SECURITY?
13. How secure is money? (Eccl. 7:12)
13 It takes money to live in this system of things and to buy the necessities of life. But many people want a substantial bank account, feeling that this will give them security. Yet, recent history shows this not to be so. In the Great Depression thousands of banks closed all over the world, with severe loss to depositors. And an economist recently stated: “The banking system . . . has shown a continued deterioration since the end of World War II.” Also, the value of money has been eaten away by inflation, just as a block of ice melts away in the sun. Truly, the history of money is summed up in one word: insecurity.
14. Why does it make sense to be free from the love of money? (Matt. 19:21)
14 Thus, while money is needed and is useful now, it is folly to stake one’s trust in it. For no matter what actions authorities may take to patch up today’s economic systems, the fact is that soon they will all totally collapse, and this time forever. The day is fast approaching when, as has happened before, “into the streets they will throw their very silver, and an abhorrent thing their own gold will become. Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Jehovah’s fury.” (Ezek. 7:19) In view of this, God’s Word wisely counsels: “Let your manner of life be free of the love of money, while you are content with the present things.” Because of not heeding such counsel, and, instead, developing a love for money, “some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.” (Heb. 13:5; 1 Tim. 6:10) So, not only does the love of money divert one from the interests of God’s kingdom, but it leads to “many pains” because of all that a person must go through to get it and keep it.
15. Is wealth any advantage in working for eternal life? (Ps. 49:16, 17)
15 The wealthy may wish that they could “live forever and not see the pit,” and that “their houses may be to time indefinite,” even having “called their landed estates by their names.” (Ps. 49:9, 11) But God is the one who will determine the future. Not money, but Jehovah will decide who and what will be preserved through the coming time of trouble. And in his new order, the earth will not be divided up according to the whim of any wealthy and powerful humans living today. Jehovah, by means of his Kingdom government, will regulate economic affairs so that all of his people will benefit from the bounties of the earth. (Rom. 2:11) Hence, how practical and lifesaving is the Bible’s counsel: “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matt. 6:20) A good account with God in heaven is what matters, not a big account in some bank.
16. Even in times of economic difficulties, what balance does the Christian keep? (Matt. 6:34)
16 However, today most people are not getting rich. They are more concerned about just making enough money to meet expenses. There is much anxiety, because worldwide economic difficulties in recent years have caused many people to lose jobs and incomes. The servant of God in this circumstance also has cause for concern. But he keeps his balance. He remembers that God’s Word tells him not to be “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) The balanced Christian appreciates that “man must live, not on bread alone, but on every utterance coming forth through Jehovah’s mouth.” (Matt. 4:4) So while he conscientiously does what he can to find employment to supply his needs, he does not let it interfere with his meeting together with other Christians for the study of God’s Word. Nor does he let such concern affect his service performed on behalf of others in the community who do not yet know Jehovah and his purposes. He keeps in first place the more important things related to God and his will.—Phil. 1:10.
17. What comforting knowledge does the Christian have although experiencing economic problems himself? (Heb. 13:5, 6)
17 The servant of God who experiences problems because of economic difficulties has a big advantage over those who do not serve Jehovah. He is comforted by the fact that the God he serves knows his situation better than he does, and, as a loving Father, can be trusted to assist in time of need. Would God provide meetings for spiritual strengthening, and opportunities for preaching the good news of the incoming new order, and yet not back up his servants who put God’s interests first in their lives? Also, since God himself says that ‘one who does not provide for his own is worse than an unbeliever,’ would he not himself abide by that same principle? (1 Tim. 5:8) “Is there injustice with God? Never may that become so!” declares the apostle Paul.—Rom. 9:14.
18, 19. (a) Instead of grieving at potential material loss, why should we rejoice at the approaching end of this wicked system? (b) Hence, what course will we pursue in this time of the end?
18 Yes, Jehovah did create humans with the natural desire for good things. But at this climax of the ages, all material considerations need to be kept in their proper place. They must never be allowed to get the mastery over us. So, when we think of the “great tribulation” that is fast approaching, we will not be like Lot’s wife. We will not grieve at the thought of losing our possessions, because such negative thinking can unbalance us to the point where we endanger our very lives.
19 Instead, we will rejoice at the approaching end of this wicked system. We know that it will mean the vindication of Jehovah’s name, and also the salvation of the people who bear that name and who uphold it in their daily lives. For their loyalty to Jehovah, they will be ushered into a new order where they will have the delightful task of making this earth a Paradise, free from the influence of Satan and his wicked system of things, free from enslavement to sin and death. (1 Cor. 15:25, 26) With such a grand future just ahead, all who want to keep living will want “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.