How Shall We Repay Jehovah?
WHEN somebody takes a genuine, warm interest in us, perhaps doing something for our benefit, how do we react? Kindness and generosity usually bring forth a response, do they not? What, then, are our feelings toward our God, Jehovah, for his constant loving-kindness to us?
It is so easy, hurried along as we are by the everyday pressures of life, to take Jehovah’s beneficence for granted, sometimes even acting as if we were not truly grateful. We do well, therefore, to pause and reflect on the psalmist’s question: “What shall I repay to Jehovah for all his benefits to me?” (Psalm 116:12) In what ways shall we respond?
Benefits From Jehovah
Without Jehovah’s gift of his Word, the Bible, how lost we would be! Courageous men and women in past centuries risked their lives to possess and read this book, and we have grown to understand why. Men of God have always been grateful for inspired Scripture, knowing how beneficial it is “for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.”—2 Timothy 3:16.
We know, however, that to be “completely equipped for every good work,” we need more than mere head knowledge of the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:17) It is through the power of God’s holy spirit that benefit is brought to our lives, and this fact is drawn to our attention by Jehovah’s appealing expressions through his prophet Isaiah: “And now the Sovereign Lord Jehovah himself has sent me, even his spirit. This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.’” (Isaiah 48:16-18) By his holy spirit, in conjunction with his Word, Jehovah directs us to benefit ourselves, and the result is peace and righteousness.
Furthermore, Jehovah’s active force works effectively for our benefit because a framework has been set up, an earthly organization, through which the holy spirit operates. At 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul likens the Christian congregation to a body and states in verse 7: “But the manifestation of the spirit is given to each one for a beneficial purpose.” He goes on to show how we benefit from being part of God’s earthly organization.
Five years or so after he wrote those words, he penned his letter to the congregation in Ephesus in which he enlarged on the benefits of being connected with that earthly arrangement. Although what he said applied initially to anointed Christians, are not those of the “great crowd” today also ‘readjusted for ministerial work,’ becoming ‘full-grown men’ spiritually, stabilized in the faith, ‘no longer babes,’ and ‘by love growing up in all things into him who is the head, Christ’? (Revelation 7:9; Ephesians 4:12-16) All of us have good reason to be grateful.
Identified with the Christian congregation is the faithful and discreet slave, whose work, to feed us spiritually, is yet another evidence that Jehovah is benefiting us. (Matthew 24:45, 46) Here we are now in the foretold time of the Master’s presence. Is the “slave” doing his work? Despite the bleakness of these “last days,” are we filled with hope? Do we have a worthwhile purpose in life? (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 5:5; 1 Timothy 4:10) Yes! And our hope is not a mere probability but a sure conviction built on faith, which in turn is based on solid evidence.—Hebrews 11:1.
Manifestly, then, Jehovah, our Great Benefactor, has given us so much for which to be grateful. The question reasonably follows:
What Will I Repay to Jehovah?
First, we must acknowledge that Jehovah needs nothing from us. He is the one who says, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine,” likewise “the beasts upon a thousand mountains.” (Haggai 2:8; Psalm 50:10; Job 41:11) This means we can in no way “buy” Jehovah’s favor; yet we are encouraged to make voluntary offerings to him. (Compare 1 Chronicles 29:14.) There are certain conditions, however, to our being allowed to offer gifts to Jehovah.
“With what shall I confront Jehovah? With what shall I bow myself to God on high? Shall I confront him with whole burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, with tens of thousands of torrents of oil? Shall I give my firstborn son for my revolt, the fruitage of my belly for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O earthling man, what is good. And what is Jehovah asking back from you but to exercise justice and to love kindness and to be modest in walking with your God?”—Micah 6:6-8.
We learn from this that Jehovah’s requirements are always reasonable, always attainable. Additionally, Jesus pointed out the prerequisite that our relationship with both Jehovah and our fellowman must be right in order for our offerings to be acceptable. (Matthew 5:23, 24) Having laid the right basis, we can now see that all of us have something to give Jehovah, in appreciation for his goodness to us.
How Can We Use What We Have?
It takes time, effort, and to some extent money, but what a privilege it is to represent Jehovah in the preaching work! This sacrifice of praise is something all of us can give to Jehovah. Here is how one pioneer elder with three small children feels about it:
“To share in the privilege of full-time service is worth any personal sacrifice—and more—because it is the most effective way to give praise to our heavenly Father. Also, it enables me in some measure to thank him for his undeserved kindness shown to me personally.”
His wife adds: “It is a real privilege to help my husband to pioneer. It enables the whole family to have a greater share in the ministry, and seeing Jehovah’s loving hand providing for us in a spiritual and material way makes us want to praise him all the more.”
The Watch Tower Society has distributed Bibles and Bible literature on a voluntary basis for well over a hundred years and printed these on its own presses since 1920. The time and effort of volunteers working at Bethel to produce all the publications we have today, along with that of congregation publishers and pioneers to circulate them, become, in effect, an additional donation to the vital preaching work.—Matthew 24:14.
Also, Christians in the more economically stable countries are pleased to know that their kind gifts of money, sent to the branch office of the Watch Tower Society in their country, enable many of their brothers in other parts of the world to spend their whole time in preaching and disciple making. Missionaries from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, circuit and district overseers, and special pioneers are all helped to continue in their full-time service by these voluntary contributions.
Perhaps it is impossible for you to serve at Bethel or as a member of the International Volunteer Construction Worker Program. But maybe you have funds that can support those who are engaged in this activity but who lack a “surplus” of funds to maintain themselves in it. A helpful equalizing can therefore take place, as described at 2 Corinthians 8:14. Letters accompanying such donations have included the following from one elderly sister who wrote:
“I am very grateful for all the blessings Jehovah gives me, and I pray for the building projects and the organization continually.”
Another sister said: “I’d rather this small sum do some good theocratically than remain in a bank that is going to collapse before long!”
A brother expressed himself in these words: “Jehovah’s counseling us to use our belongings to glorify him is a means of real protection from greedy commerce, the ‘third wing’ of Satan’s wicked system of things. May I take this opportunity to say how glad I am to contribute something to the speeding up of the increase Jehovah is giving us, and I thank him for making it possible for me to be used.”
Gifts From Old and Young
It is encouraging to read of the faithful determination of elderly ones who, though hoping to survive to the end of this system, make sure, by making an appropriate will, that the Kingdom work benefits in the event of their death. Some expressions received from executors, commenting on the fine attitude of such testators, include:
“A very kind person to everyone, all her life . . . she loved Jehovah and his creation.”
“Always, the interests of the Kingdom were her first concern.”
“He achieved his heavenly reward after 70 years of faithful service . . . he always wanted to further the truth with his assets.”
We also enjoy hearing from young ones, intent on using their material things for Jehovah’s work. One letter received at the Society’s office in Britain came from a school-age publisher. She related that she had won first prize in an essay competition. She enclosed the entire prize money. The Society’s publications were the sole source of material for her essay on “Christian Commitment,” so she felt the money rightly belonged to Jehovah.
After asking what he will repay to Jehovah, the writer of Psalm 116 continues in verses 13 and 14 to say: “The cup of grand salvation I shall take up, and on the name of Jehovah I shall call. My vows I shall pay to Jehovah, yes, in front of all his people.” Appreciating the precious gift of salvation from Jehovah through his Son, we feel moved, as did the psalmist, to call on Him and keep our promises to Him.
Jehovah has benefited us so much, and whatever we can do in return seems little in comparison. How appropriate, then, that as an expression of gratitude, we do all we can, in every way! “To you I shall offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and on the name of Jehovah I shall call.”—Psalm 116:17.
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HOW SOME CONTRIBUTE TO THE KINGDOM WORK
□ GIFTS: Voluntary donations of money may be sent directly to the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201, or to the Society’s local branch office. Property such as real estate, as well as jewelry or other valuables, can also be donated. A brief letter stating that such is an outright donation should accompany these contributions.
□ CONDITIONAL-DONATION ARRANGEMENT: Money may be given to the Watch Tower Society to be held in trust, with the provision that in case of personal need, it will be returned to the donor.
□ INSURANCE: The Watch Tower Society may be named as the beneficiary of a life-insurance policy or in a retirement/pension plan. The Society should be informed of any such arrangements.
□ TRUSTS: Bank savings accounts can be placed in trust for the Society. If this is done, please inform the Society. Stocks, bonds, and property can also be donated under an arrangement to benefit the donor during his or her lifetime. This method eliminates the expense and uncertainties of probate of will, while ensuring that the Society receives the property in the event of death.
□ WILLS: Property or money may be bequeathed to the Watch Tower Society by means of a legally executed will. A copy should be sent to the Society.
For more information and advice regarding such matters, write to the Treasurer’s Office, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania, 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, New York 11201, or to the Society’s local branch office.