Share in the Joy of Giving!
“There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.”—ACTS 20:35.
1. How does Jehovah demonstrate the joy of giving?
THE joy of knowing the truth and the resulting blessings are precious gifts from God. Those who have come to know Jehovah have many reasons to rejoice. But while there is joy in receiving a gift, there is also joy in giving one. Jehovah is the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect present,” and he is “the happy God.” (James 1:17; 1 Timothy 1:11) He imparts healthful teachings to all who listen, and he delights in the obedience of those whom he teaches, just as parents rejoice when their children respond to loving instruction.—Proverbs 27:11.
2. (a) What did Jesus say about giving? (b) What happiness do we receive when we teach others Bible truth?
2 Similarly, when on earth Jesus was happy to see people respond positively to his teaching. The apostle Paul quoted Jesus as saying: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) The happiness we receive when we teach others Bible truth is not simply the satisfaction of having someone agree with our religious beliefs. Far more than that, it is the joy of knowing that we are giving something of genuine and lasting value. By giving spiritually, we can help people to benefit themselves both now and throughout eternity.—1 Timothy 4:8.
Giving Brings Joy
3. (a) How did the apostles Paul and John express their joy in helping others spiritually? (b) Why is imparting Bible truth to our children an expression of love?
3 Yes, just as Jehovah and Jesus rejoice in imparting spiritual gifts, Christians do also. The apostle Paul found joy in the knowledge that he had helped others learn the truth of God’s Word. To the congregation in Thessalonica, he wrote: “What is our hope or joy or crown of exultation—why, is it not in fact you?—before our Lord Jesus at his presence? You certainly are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20) In like manner the apostle John, referring to his spiritual children, wrote: “No greater cause for thankfulness do I have than these things, that I should be hearing that my children go on walking in the truth.” (3 John 4) Think, too, of the joy there is in aiding our own children to become our spiritual children! Raising children in “the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah” is an expression of love on the part of parents. (Ephesians 6:4) Parents thereby show that they are concerned about their young ones’ eternal welfare. When these respond, parents experience great joy and satisfaction.
4. What experience demonstrates the joy of spiritual giving?
4 Dell is a full-time pioneer minister and the mother of five. She says: “I can relate very well to the apostle John’s words because I am very thankful that four of my children are ‘walking in the truth.’ I know that it brings honor and glory to Jehovah when families are united in true worship, so I feel deep satisfaction in seeing his blessing on my efforts to instill the truth in my children. The beautiful prospect of endless life in Paradise with my family fills me with hope and motivates me to endure in spite of difficulties and obstacles.” Unhappily, one of Dell’s daughters was disfellowshipped from the congregation because of pursuing an unchristian course. Still, Dell works hard to maintain a positive attitude. “I hope that one day my daughter will humbly and sincerely return to Jehovah,” she says. “But I thank God that most of my children continue to serve him faithfully. The joy that I feel has been a real source of strength to me.”—Nehemiah 8:10.
Making Everlasting Friends
5. As we give of ourselves in the work of making disciples, what knowledge gives us satisfaction?
5 Jesus directed his followers to make Christian disciples and teach them about Jehovah and his requirements. (Matthew 28:19, 20) Both Jehovah and Jesus have unselfishly helped people to learn the way of the truth. So as we give of ourselves in the work of making disciples, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we are imitating the example of Jehovah and of Jesus, as did the early Christians. (1 Corinthians 11:1) When we thus cooperate with Almighty God and his beloved Son, our lives take on real meaning. What a blessing it is to be counted among God’s “fellow workers”! (1 Corinthians 3:9) And is it not thrilling that even angels have a part in this activity of preaching the good news?—Revelation 14:6, 7.
6. As we share in spiritual giving, who become our friends?
6 In fact, by sharing in this work of spiritual giving, we can become more than fellow workers with God—we can come into an everlasting friendship with him. Because of his faith, Abraham was called Jehovah’s friend. (James 2:23) As we strive to do God’s will, we too can become God’s friends. If we do that, we also become friends of Jesus. He said to his disciples: “I have called you friends, because all the things I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) Many rejoice to be counted friends of influential people or high officials, but we can be counted as friends of the two greatest personalities in all the universe!
7. (a) How did one woman make a real friend? (b) Have you had a similar experience?
7 Further, when we help people to come to know God, they become our friends too, bringing us special happiness. Joan, who lives in the United States, began to study the Bible with a woman named Thelma. Though Thelma encountered family opposition to her study, she persevered and was baptized a year later. Joan wrote: “Our association did not end there; rather, it developed into a friendship that has lasted for about 35 years now. We have often gone in the ministry and to conventions together. Eventually, I moved to a new home 500 miles [800 km] away. But Thelma continues to send me the most loving and heartwarming letters, telling me that she thinks of me fondly and thanking me for being her friend and example and for teaching her the truth from the Bible. Having such a near and dear friend is a wonderful reward for the effort I made to help her to learn about Jehovah.”
8. What positive attitude will help us in the ministry?
8 The prospect of finding someone who wants to learn the truth can help us endure even if many of the people we meet show little or no interest in Jehovah’s Word. Such apathy can present a challenge to our faith and endurance. Yet, a positive attitude will help us. Fausto, who comes from Guatemala, said: “When I witness to others, I think about how great it would be if the person to whom I am speaking were to become a spiritual brother or sister. I reason that at least one person I will meet may eventually embrace the truth of God’s Word. That thought keeps me going and brings me real joy.”
Storing Up Treasures in Heaven
9. What did Jesus say about treasures in heaven, and what can we learn from this?
9 Making disciples, whether of our children or of other individuals, is not always easy. It may take time, patience, and perseverance. Remember, though, that many are willing to work hard to store up an abundance of material things, things that usually do not bring them joy and that do not last forever. Jesus told his listeners that it was better to work for spiritual things. He said: “Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19, 20) By pursuing spiritual goals—which include sharing in the important work of disciple making—we can have the satisfaction of knowing that we are doing God’s will and that he will reward us. The apostle Paul wrote: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.”—Hebrews 6:10.
10. (a) Why did Jesus have spiritual treasures? (b) How did Jesus give of himself, and with what great benefit to others?
10 If we work diligently to make disciples, we store up for ourselves “treasures in heaven,” in harmony with what Jesus said. This brings us the joy of receiving. If we unselfishly give, we end up being enriched ourselves. Jesus himself had faithfully served Jehovah for billions of years. Think of the treasures he had accumulated in heaven! Nevertheless, Jesus did not seek his own interests. The apostle Paul wrote: “[Jesus] gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from the present wicked system of things according to the will of our God and Father.” (Galatians 1:4) Not only did Jesus unselfishly give of himself in his ministry but he gave his very life as a ransom so that others might have the opportunity to store up treasures in heaven.
11. Why are spiritual gifts better than material ones?
11 By teaching people about God, we help them see how they too might store up imperishable spiritual treasures. What greater gift could you impart? If you give a friend an expensive watch, a car, or even a home, that friend will likely be grateful and happy, and you will have the joy of giving. But what will be the condition of that gift in 20 years? In 200 years? In 2,000 years? On the other hand, if you give of yourself to help a person serve Jehovah, he or she can benefit from that gift forever.
Seeking Out Those Who Want the Truth
12. How have many given of themselves to help others spiritually?
12 To share in the joy of spiritual giving, Jehovah’s people have reached out to the ends of the earth. Thousands have left home and family to take up missionary service in lands where they have had to adapt to new languages and cultures. Others have moved to areas in their own countries where there is a greater need for Kingdom proclaimers. Still others have learned a foreign language, opening up new opportunities of preaching in their own localities to immigrant populations. For example, after raising two children who are now serving at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses, one couple in New Jersey, U.S.A., began pioneering and learned Chinese. Over a three-year period, they conducted Bible studies with 74 Chinese-speaking people who attended a nearby college. Are you able to expand your ministry in some way in order to find more joy in the disciple-making work?
13. What might you do if you would like to have a more fruitful ministry?
13 Perhaps you yearn to conduct a Bible study but have not been able to do so. In some lands it is difficult to find interested ones. Maybe the people you meet show no interest in the Bible. If that is so, perhaps you can mention your desire more often in prayer, knowing that both Jehovah and Jesus Christ are keenly interested in the work and may guide you to a sheeplike person. Seek suggestions from those in your congregation who are more experienced or whose ministry is more fruitful. Take advantage of the training and suggestions given at Christian meetings. Benefit from the counsel of traveling overseers and their wives. Above all, never give up. The wise man wrote: “In the morning sow your seed and until the evening do not let your hand rest; for you are not knowing where this will have success.” (Ecclesiastes 11:6) In the meantime, remember such faithful men as Noah and Jeremiah. Although very few responded positively to their preaching, their ministry was a success. Above all, it pleased Jehovah.
Doing the Best You Can
14. How does Jehovah view those who have grown old in his service?
14 It may be that your circumstances do not permit you to do as much as you would like to in the ministry. For example, old age may limit what you can do in Jehovah’s service. Still, remember what the wise man wrote: “Gray-headedness is a crown of beauty when it is found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31) To Jehovah, a life spent in his service is beautiful. Further, the Scriptures say: “Even to one’s old age I [Jehovah] am the same One; and to one’s gray-headedness I myself shall keep bearing up. I myself shall certainly act, that I myself may carry and that I myself may bear up and furnish escape.” (Isaiah 46:4) Our loving heavenly Father promises to sustain and support his loyal ones.
15. Do you believe that Jehovah understands your circumstances? Why?
15 Perhaps you are coping with sickness, opposition from an unbelieving mate, heavy family responsibilities, or some other difficult problem. Jehovah recognizes our limitations and circumstances, and he loves us for our earnest efforts to serve him. That is true even though what we do may be less than what others do. (Galatians 6:4) Jehovah knows that we are imperfect, and he is realistic in what he expects of us. (Psalm 147:11) If we do our best, we may rest assured that we are precious in God’s sight and that he will not forget our acts of faith.—Luke 21:1-4.
16. In what way does an entire congregation share in making a disciple?
16 Remember, too, that the disciple-making work is a group effort. No one individual makes a disciple, any more than one drop of rain nourishes a plant. True, one Witness may locate an interested person and conduct a Bible study. But once that new one comes to the Kingdom Hall, the whole congregation helps him or her to recognize the truth. The warmth of the brotherhood shows the influence of God’s spirit. (1 Corinthians 14:24, 25) Children and teenagers give stimulating comments, showing the new person that our young ones are different from the youth of the world. The sick, the infirm, and the elderly in the congregation teach new ones what endurance involves. Regardless of our age or limitations, all of us play an important part in helping new ones as their love of Bible truth deepens and they progress toward baptism. Every hour we spend in the ministry, each return visit, each conversation with an interested person at the Kingdom Hall, may seem insignificant on its own, but it is part of a mighty work that Jehovah is accomplishing.
17, 18. (a) In addition to engaging in the disciple-making work, how may we share in the joy of giving? (b) By sharing in the joy of giving, whom do we imitate?
17 Of course, besides sharing in the important disciple-making work, we as Christians also share in the joy of giving in other ways. We can set aside funds to contribute to the support of pure worship and to help those in need. (Luke 16:9; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2) We can look for opportunities to show hospitality to others. (Romans 12:13) We can strive to “work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.” (Galatians 6:10) And in simple yet important ways, we can give to others—a letter, a telephone call, a gift, a helping hand, a word of encouragement.
18 By giving, we show that we imitate our heavenly Father. We also demonstrate our brotherly love, the identifying mark of true Christians. (John 13:35) Remembering these things can help us share in the joy of giving.
Can You Explain?
• How have Jehovah and Jesus set the example in giving spiritually?
• How might we make everlasting friends?
• What steps might we take to make our ministry more successful?
• How can all in the congregation share in the joy of giving?
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When children respond to training, parents experience great joy and satisfaction
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In making disciples, we can make real friends
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Jehovah bears us up in old age
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In simple yet important ways, we find joy in giving