True Love Is Rewarding
“God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.”—HEBREWS 6:10.
1, 2. Why is true love rewarding to us personally?
UNSELFISH love is the greatest, noblest, most precious quality we can express. This love (Greek, a·gaʹpe) consistently asks much of us. But because we were created by a God of justice and love, we find that unselfish love is indeed rewarding. Why is this so?
2 One reason that true love is rewarding involves the psychosomatic principle, the effect of thoughts and emotions upon our bodies. An authority on stress has said: “‘Love thy neighbor’ is one of the sagest bits of medical advice ever given.” Yes, “a man of loving-kindness is dealing rewardingly with his own soul.” (Proverbs 11:17) Of similar import are the words: “The generous soul will itself be made fat, and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.”—Proverbs 11:25; compare Luke 6:38.
3. How does God act to make true love rewarding?
3 Love is also rewarding because God rewards unselfishness. We read: “He that is showing favor to the lowly one is lending to Jehovah, and his treatment [God] will repay to him.” (Proverbs 19:17) Jehovah’s Witnesses act in harmony with these words when they proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom. They know that ‘God is not unrighteous so as to forget their work and the love they show for his name.’—Hebrews 6:10.
Our Finest Example
4. Who provides the finest example that true love is rewarding, and how has he done so?
4 Who provides the finest example that true love is rewarding? Why, this is furnished by none other than God himself! He “loved the world [of mankind] so much that he gave his only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16) The giving of his Son so that those accepting that ransom sacrifice might have everlasting life surely cost Jehovah a great deal, and it clearly showed that he has both love and empathy. This is further shown by the fact that ‘during all the distress of Israel in Egypt, it was distressing to him.’ (Isaiah 63:9) How much more distressing it must have been to Jehovah to see his Son suffer on the torture stake and hear him cry out: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—Matthew 27:46.
5. What has taken place because God loved mankind so much that he gave his Son as a sacrifice?
5 Did Jehovah find his own expression of true love rewarding? He most certainly did. Outstandingly, what an answer God was able to hurl in the face of the Devil because Jesus proved faithful in spite of all that Satan could do to him! (Proverbs 27:11) In fact, all that the Kingdom of God will accomplish in clearing Jehovah’s name of reproach, restoring Paradise to this earth, and giving millions eternal life will take place because God loved mankind so much that he gave the dearest treasure of his heart as a sacrifice.
Jesus’ Fine Example
6. Love motivated Jesus to do what?
6 Another fine example proving that true love is rewarding is that of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He loves his heavenly Father, and that love has moved Jesus to do Jehovah’s will at all costs. (John 14:31; Philippians 2:5-8) Jesus kept on showing his love for God even though that sometimes meant that he had to beseech his Father “with strong outcries and tears.”—Hebrews 5:7.
7. In what ways has Jesus found true love to be rewarding?
7 Was Jesus rewarded for such self-sacrificing love? Indeed he was! Think of the joy he derived from all the good things he did during his three-and-a-half-year ministry. How much he helped people spiritually and physically! Above all, by demonstrating that a perfect man could perfectly maintain integrity to God despite all that Satan could bring against him, Jesus had the satisfaction of proving the Devil a liar. Moreover, as a faithful servant of God, Jesus received the great reward of immortality upon his resurrection to heavenly life. (Romans 6:9; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:15, 16; Hebrews 1:3, 4) And what wonderful privileges lie before him at Armageddon and during his Millennial Reign, when Paradise will be restored to the earth and thousands of millions will be raised from the dead! (Luke 23:43) There is no question that Jesus has found true love to be rewarding.
8. What was Paul’s experience because of his true love for God and for his fellowman?
8 The apostle Peter once asked Jesus: “Look! We have left all things and followed you; what actually will there be for us?” In part, Jesus replied: “Everyone that has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive many times more and will inherit everlasting life.” (Matthew 19:27-29) We have a striking example of this in the apostle Paul, who enjoyed many blessings, as recorded especially by Luke in the book of Acts. True love for God and for his fellowman caused Paul to give up his career as an honored Pharisee. Think, too, of what Paul endured in the way of blows, near-deaths, dangers, and privations—all because of true love for God and His sacred service.—2 Corinthians 11:23-27.
9. How was Paul rewarded for displaying true love?
9 Did Jehovah reward Paul for being such a fine example in displaying true love? Well, think of how fruitful Paul’s ministry was. He was able to establish one Christian congregation after another. And what miracles God empowered him to perform! (Acts 19:11, 12) Paul was also privileged to receive supernatural visions and to write 14 letters that are now part of the Christian Greek Scriptures. To crown all of this, the prize of immortality in the heavens was given to him. (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54; 2 Corinthians 12:1-7; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8) Paul surely found that God rewards true love.
True Love Is Rewarding in Our Day
10. What may it cost to become Jesus’ disciple and to express our love for Jehovah?
10 Jehovah’s Witnesses today have likewise found that true love is rewarding. Expressing our love for Jehovah by taking our stand on his side and becoming Jesus’ disciples may even cost us our lives as integrity keepers. (Compare Revelation 2:10.) That is why Jesus said that we should count the cost. But we do not do that to determine whether being a disciple is rewarding or not. Rather, we do so to prepare ourselves to pay whatever discipleship may cost.—Luke 14:28.
11. Why do some fail to dedicate themselves to God?
11 Today, many—no doubt millions—believe the message Jehovah’s Witnesses bring them from God’s Word. But they shrink back from dedicating themselves to God and getting baptized. Could this be so because they lack the true love for God that others possess? Many fail to take the steps of dedication and baptism because they want to stay in the favor of an unbelieving mate. Others do not draw close to God because they have the attitude of a businessman who told a Witness: “I like sin.” Obviously, such individuals do not appreciate all that God and Christ have done for them.
12. What has this journal said that highlights the rewards of knowledge that draws us closer to God in true love?
12 If we have genuine appreciation for all that Jehovah God and Jesus Christ have done for us, we will show this by willingly paying whatever it costs to serve our heavenly Father and be one of Jesus’ disciples. Because of true love for God, men and women in all walks of life—successful businessmen, prominent sports personalities, and so forth—have exchanged self-seeking careers for the Christian ministry, as did the apostle Paul. And they would take nothing in place of the rewards of knowing and serving God. In this regard, The Watch Tower once said: “We have sometimes asked, How many brethren would be willing to take a thousand dollars for what they know of the Truth? Not a hand was seen! Who would take ten thousand dollars? None! Who would take a million dollars? Who will take the whole world in exchange for what he knows about the Divine character and the Divine Plan? Nobody! Then we said, You are not a badly discontented crowd, dear friends. If you feel so rich that you would take nothing in exchange for your knowledge of God, then you feel just as rich as we do.” (December 15, 1914, page 377) Yes, accurate knowledge of God and his purposes draws us closer to him in true love that is rewarding indeed.
13. How should we view personal study?
13 If we love God, we will strive to know and do his will. (1 John 5:3) We will take a serious view of personal study, prayer, and the attending of Christian meetings. All of this requires self-sacrifice, for these activities involve the expenditure of time, energy, and other resources. We may have to choose between viewing a television program and engaging in personal Bible study. But how much stronger we become spiritually, how much better able to witness to others, and how much more we get out of Christian meetings when we take such study seriously and set aside adequate time for it!—Psalm 1:1-3.
14. How important are prayer and a good relationship with Jehovah God?
14 Do we regularly enjoy talking to our heavenly Father by ‘persevering in prayer’? (Romans 12:12) Or are we often too busy to do justice to this precious privilege? ‘Praying incessantly’ is a vital way to strengthen our relationship with Jehovah God. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) And there is nothing like a good relationship with Jehovah to help us when we face temptations. What enabled Joseph to resist when tempted by Potiphar’s wife? And why did Daniel not cease praying when the law of the Medes and the Persians forbade him to petition Jehovah? (Genesis 39:7-16; Daniel 6:4-11) Why, a good relationship with God helped those men to come off victorious, even as it will help us to do so!
15. How should we view Christian meetings, and why?
15 Then, how seriously do we take attendance at our five weekly meetings? Do we let tiredness, a slight physical indisposition, or a little bad weather interfere with our obligation not to forsake assembling with fellow believers? (Hebrews 10:24, 25) One well-paid American machinist saw that his job repeatedly interfered with his presence at Christian meetings. So he changed his job, taking a financial loss so as to be able to attend all congregation meetings regularly. Our meetings enable us to enjoy an interchange of encouragement and to strengthen one another’s faith. (Romans 1:11, 12) In all these matters, do we not find that “he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully”? (2 Corinthians 9:6) Yes, demonstrating true love in such ways is very rewarding.
True Love and Our Ministry
16. What may result when love motivates us to witness informally?
16 Love motivates us to preach the good news as Jehovah’s people. For instance, it moves us to engage in informal witnessing. We may hesitate to witness informally, but love will impel us to speak. Indeed, love will cause us to think of tactful ways to get a conversation started and then direct it toward the Kingdom. To illustrate: Aboard a plane, a Christian elder once found himself sitting beside a Roman Catholic priest. At first, the elder plied the priest with inoffensive questions. By the time the priest got off the plane, however, his interest had prompted him to obtain two of our books. What a fine outcome for witnessing informally!
17, 18. Love will prompt us to do what with regard to the Christian ministry?
17 True love also prompts us to participate regularly in the house-to-house preaching work and other forms of the Christian ministry. To the extent that we are able to have Bible discussions, we will bring honor to Jehovah God and will help sheeplike ones to get on the road to everlasting life. (Compare Matthew 7:13, 14.) Even if we are unable to have Bible discussions, our efforts will not have been in vain. Our very presence at the homes of the people serves as a witness, and we ourselves benefit from the ministry, for we cannot declare Bible truths without strengthening our faith. True, it takes humility to go from house to house, ‘doing all things for the sake of the good news, that we may become sharers of it with others.’ (1 Corinthians 9:19-23) But because of love for God and fellow humans, we humbly put forth effort and are rewarded with rich blessings.—Proverbs 10:22.
18 It also takes true love for Jehovah’s servants to be conscientious about making return visits on people interested in Bible truth. Conducting Bible studies week after week and month after month is an expression of love for God and neighbor, for this work calls for the expenditure of time, effort, and material resources. (Mark 12:28-31) Yet, when we see one of these Bible students get baptized and perhaps even enter the full-time ministry, are we not convinced that true love is rewarding?—Compare 2 Corinthians 3:1-3.
19. What relationship is there between love and full-time service?
19 Unselfish love motivates us to sacrifice material comforts for the sake of the full-time service if it is possible for us to participate in such activity. Thousands upon thousands of Witnesses can testify that expressing their love to that extent has been most rewarding. If circumstances permit you to share in the full-time ministry but you do not take advantage of them, you just do not know what blessings you are missing.—Compare Mark 10:29, 30.
Rewarding in Other Ways
20. How does love help us to be forgiving?
20 Another way in which true love is rewarding is that it helps us to be forgiving. Yes, love “does not keep account of the injury.” In fact, “love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Peter 4:8) “A multitude” means many sins, does it not? And how rewarding it is to be forgiving! When you forgive, this makes you and the one who sinned against you feel better. But far more important is the fact that unless we have already forgiven those sinning against us, we cannot expect Jehovah to forgive us.—Matthew 6:12; 18:23-35.
21. How does true love help us to be submissive?
21 Furthermore, true love is rewarding in that it helps us to be submissive. If we love Jehovah, we will humble ourselves under his mighty hand. (1 Peter 5:6) Love for him will also move us to submit to his chosen instrument, “the faithful and discreet slave.” This includes being submissive to those taking the lead in the congregation. This is rewarding because failure to do so would be “damaging” to us. (Matthew 24:45-47; Hebrews 13:17) Of course, this principle of being submissive also applies within the family circle. Such a course is rewarding because it promotes family joy, peace, and harmony while giving us the satisfaction that goes with knowing that we are pleasing God.—Ephesians 5:22; 6:1-3.
22. How can we be truly happy?
22 Clearly, then, the greatest quality we can cultivate is a·gaʹpe, the unselfish, principled kind of love. And there can be no doubt that true love is rewarding. Hence, we will be happy indeed if we cultivate and express this quality in ever greater measure to the glory of our loving God, Jehovah.
How Would You Respond?
□ In what ways has Jehovah God displayed true love?
□ How has love been shown by Jesus Christ?
□ What example did the apostle Paul set in showing true love?
□ How have Jehovah’s Witnesses been displaying love?
□ Why would you say that true love is rewarding?
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Jehovah’s love for mankind moved him to give his Son so that we might gain eternal life. Do you appreciate such true love?
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True love for Jehovah will move us to “persevere in prayer”