Jehovah’s Blessing Makes Us Rich
“The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”—PROVERBS 10:22.
1, 2. Why is happiness not associated with material wealth?
MATERIALISTIC pursuits govern the lives of millions today. But do material things make them happy? “I can’t remember a time when people have been so gloomy about their lot,” says The Australian Women’s Weekly. It adds: “It’s a paradox. We’re told that Australia is in excellent shape economically, that life has never been better. . . . Still pessimism is rife across the nation. Men and women alike sense that something is missing from their lives but aren’t able to define what it is.” How true the Scriptures are in pointing out that neither happiness nor life results from the things we possess!—Ecclesiastes 5:10; Luke 12:15.
2 The Bible teaches that the greatest happiness comes from God’s blessing. In this regard, Proverbs 10:22 states: “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” Pain often results from greedy acquisition of material riches. Fittingly, the apostle Paul warned: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”—1 Timothy 6:9, 10.
3. Why do God’s servants experience trials?
3 On the other hand, painless blessings overtake all who “keep listening to the voice of Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 28:2) Yet, some may ask, ‘If no pain is added to Jehovah’s blessing, why do many of God’s servants suffer?’ The Bible reveals that our trials are permitted by God but actually originate with Satan, his wicked system, and our own imperfect nature. (Genesis 6:5; Deuteronomy 32:4, 5; John 15:19; James 1:14, 15) Jehovah is the source of “every good gift and every perfect present.” (James 1:17) Hence, his blessings never cause pain. Let us therefore consider some of God’s perfect presents.
God’s Word—A Priceless Gift
4. What blessing and priceless gift do Jehovah’s people enjoy during this “time of the end”?
4 Regarding “the time of the end,” Daniel’s prophecy states: “The true knowledge will become abundant.” However, this was qualified by the words: “No wicked ones at all will understand; but the ones having insight will understand.” (Daniel 12:4, 10) Imagine that! God’s Word—prophecy in particular—is expressed with such divine wisdom that the wicked cannot get the real sense of it, though Jehovah’s people do. “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,” prayed God’s Son, “because you have carefully hidden these things from wise and intellectual ones, and have revealed them to babes.” (Luke 10:21) What a blessing it is to have the priceless gift of God’s written Word, the Bible, and to be among those to whom Jehovah has granted spiritual insight!—1 Corinthians 1:21, 27, 28; 2:14, 15.
5. What is wisdom, and how can we obtain it?
5 We would have no spiritual insight at all were it not for “the wisdom from above.” (James 3:17) Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge and understanding to solve problems, avoid or avert dangers, achieve goals, or provide sound counsel. How do we obtain godly wisdom? Proverbs 2:6 states: “Jehovah himself gives wisdom; out of his mouth there are knowledge and discernment.” Yes, Jehovah will bless us with wisdom if we persist in praying for it, even as he gave King Solomon “a wise and understanding heart.” (1 Kings 3:11, 12; James 1:5-8) To gain wisdom, we must also keep listening to Jehovah by regularly studying and applying his Word.
6. Why is it the course of wisdom to apply God’s laws and principles in our life?
6 Prime examples of godly wisdom are found in the Bible’s laws and principles. These benefit us in every way—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The psalmist fittingly sang: “The law of Jehovah is perfect, bringing back the soul. The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise. The orders from Jehovah are upright, causing the heart to rejoice; the commandment of Jehovah is clean, making the eyes shine. The fear of Jehovah is pure, standing forever. The judicial decisions of Jehovah are true; they have proved altogether righteous. They are more to be desired than gold, yes, than much refined gold.”—Psalm 19:7-10; 119:72.
7. What results from disregarding God’s righteous standards?
7 On the other hand, those who disregard God’s righteous standards do not find the happiness and freedom they seek. Sooner or later, they discover that God is not one to be mocked, for a person will reap what he sows. (Galatians 6:7) Millions who disregard Bible principles are reaping such tragic consequences as unwanted pregnancies, loathsome diseases, or debilitating addictions. Unless they repentantly change their course in life, their path will ultimately lead them to death and perhaps destruction at God’s hand.—Matthew 7:13, 14.
8. Why are lovers of God’s Word happy?
8 However, those who love God’s Word and apply it will be overtaken with rich blessings now and in the future. They rightly feel liberated by God’s law, are truly happy, and keenly await the time when they will be set free from sin and its deadly effects. (Romans 8:20, 21; James 1:25) This hope is sure because it rests on God’s most loving gift to mankind—the ransom sacrifice of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16; Romans 6:23) Such a superlative gift confirms the depth of God’s love for humankind and guarantees endless blessings for all who keep on listening to Jehovah.—Romans 8:32.
Grateful for the Gift of Holy Spirit
9, 10. How do we benefit from Jehovah’s gift of holy spirit? Give an example.
9 Another loving gift of God for which we should be grateful is his holy spirit. On the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., the apostle Peter urged the multitude present in Jerusalem: “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the free gift of the holy spirit.” (Acts 2:38) Today, Jehovah gives holy spirit to his dedicated servants who pray for it and who want to do his will. (Luke 11:9-13) In ancient times, this most potent force in the universe—God’s holy spirit, or active force—empowered men and women of faith, including the early Christians. (Zechariah 4:6; Acts 4:31) It can do the same for us, even though we may face formidable obstacles or challenges as Jehovah’s people.—Joel 2:28, 29.
10 Consider the example of Laurel, who was stricken with polio and lived in an iron lung for 37 years.* In spite of her extremely trying circumstances, she served God zealously until her death. Over the years, Jehovah’s rich blessing overtook Laurel. For instance, she was able to help some 17 individuals to come to an accurate knowledge of Bible truth, even though she was confined to her machine 24 hours a day! Her situation calls to mind the apostle Paul’s words: “When I am weak, then I am powerful.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) Yes, any success we might have in preaching the good news stems, not from our own ability and power, but from God’s help by holy spirit, which he gives to those who keep on listening to his voice.—Isaiah 40:29-31.
11. What qualities does God’s spirit produce in those who put on “the new personality”?
11 If we obediently listen to God, his spirit produces in us the qualities of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22, 23) This “fruitage of the spirit” is part of “the new personality” that Christians put on in place of any rapacious, beastlike traits they may formerly have displayed. (Ephesians 4:20-24; Isaiah 11:6-9) Of great importance in this fruitage is love, “a perfect bond of union.”—Colossians 3:14.
Christian Love—A Gift to Cherish
12. How did Tabitha and other first-century Christians demonstrate love?
12 Christian love is another blessed gift from Jehovah—one that we rightly cherish. It is governed by principle, but it is so rich in affection that it draws believers closer together than even fleshly ties can. (John 15:12, 13; 1 Peter 1:22) For example, consider Tabitha, a fine Christian woman of the first century. “She abounded in good deeds and gifts of mercy,” especially in behalf of the widows in the congregation. (Acts 9:36) These women may have had fleshly relatives, but Tabitha wanted to do what she could to help and encourage them. (1 John 3:18) What a fine example Tabitha set! Brotherly love moved Prisca and Aquila to ‘risk their own necks’ for Paul. Love also motivated Epaphras, Luke, Onesiphorus, and others to help the apostle while he was imprisoned in Rome. (Romans 16:3, 4; 2 Timothy 1:16; 4:11; Philemon 23, 24) Yes, Christians of that sort today ‘have love among themselves,’ a blessed gift from God that identifies them as Jesus’ true disciples.—John 13:34, 35.
13. How can we show that we deeply appreciate our Christian brotherhood?
13 Do you cherish the love manifested in the Christian congregation? Are you grateful for our spiritual brotherhood, which circles the globe? These too are blessed and enriching gifts from above. How can we show that we value them? By rendering sacred service to God, by sharing in Christian meetings, and by displaying love and the other fruits of God’s spirit.—Philippians 1:9; Hebrews 10:24, 25.
“Gifts in Men”
14. What is required of a Christian if he is to serve as an elder or a ministerial servant?
14 Christian men who desire to serve their fellow worshipers as elders or ministerial servants have a fine goal. (1 Timothy 3:1, 8) To qualify for these privileges, a brother must be a spiritual man, well-versed in the Scriptures and zealous in the field ministry. (Acts 18:24; 1 Timothy 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:5) He must display humility, modesty, and patience, for divine blessings do not overtake presumptuous, proud, and ambitious people. (Proverbs 11:2; Hebrews 6:15; 3 John 9, 10) If married, he would have to be a loving family head capable of presiding well over his entire household. (1 Timothy 3:4, 5, 12) Because he values spiritual riches, such a man invites Jehovah’s blessing.—Matthew 6:19-21.
15, 16. Who prove to be “gifts in men”? Give examples.
15 When those serving as elders in the congregation exert themselves as evangelizers, shepherds, and teachers, they give us sound reasons to appreciate such “gifts in men.” (Ephesians 4:8, 11) Those who benefit from their loving service may not always express their appreciation, but Jehovah sees all that faithful elders do. He will not forget the love they show for his name by ministering to his people.—1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 6:10.
16 Consider the case of one hard-working elder who visited a Christian girl about to have brain surgery. “He was so kind, so supportive, so caring,” wrote a family friend. “He asked permission to pray to Jehovah with us. As he prayed, the father [not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses] sobbed, and tears fell from the eyes of everyone in the hospital room. How tender that elder’s prayer was, and how loving of Jehovah to send him at just such a time!” Another Witness patient said of the elders who visited her: “When they came toward my bed in the intensive care unit, I knew that no matter what happened from that point on, I could bear it. I became strong and peaceful.” Could anyone buy such loving concern? Never! It is a gift from God, made available through the Christian congregation.—Isaiah 32:1, 2.
The Gift of the Field Ministry
17, 18. (a) What gift of service has Jehovah made available to all his people? (b) What help has God provided so that we can accomplish our ministry?
17 No greater honor could be bestowed on any human than that of serving Jehovah, the Most High. (Isaiah 43:10; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Peter 2:9) Nevertheless, the privilege of sharing in the public ministry is open to all—young and old, male and female—who have a genuine desire to serve God. Do you make use of this precious gift? Some may hold back because they feel inadequate, but remember that Jehovah gives holy spirit to those serving him, and it makes up for any lack we may have.—Jeremiah 1:6-8; 20:11.
18 Jehovah has entrusted the Kingdom-preaching work to his humble servants, not to individuals who tend to be proud and to rely on their own abilities. (1 Corinthians 1:20, 26-29) Humble, modest people acknowledge their limitations and depend on God’s help as they engage in the field ministry. They also appreciate the spiritual assistance he provides through “the faithful steward.”—Luke 12:42-44; Proverbs 22:4.
Happy Family Life—A Fine Gift
19. What factors lead to success in raising children?
19 Marriage and a happy family life are gifts from God. (Ruth 1:9; Ephesians 3:14, 15) Children too are a precious “inheritance from Jehovah,” bringing joy to parents who successfully instill godly qualities in them. (Psalm 127:3) If you are a parent, keep listening to Jehovah’s voice by training your little ones according to his Word. Those who do so are sure to experience Jehovah’s support and rich blessing.—Proverbs 3:5, 6; 22:6; Ephesians 6:1-4.
20. What may be helpful to parents whose children turn away from true worship?
20 Despite the conscientious efforts of godly parents, perhaps certain ones of their children choose to turn away from true worship when they get older. (Genesis 26:34, 35) This can be emotionally devastating to parents. (Proverbs 17:21, 25) Instead of giving up all hope, however, it may be helpful for them to remember Jesus’ illustration of the prodigal son. Although that son left home and pursued a wayward course, he later returned to the house of his father, who received him in a joyful and loving manner. (Luke 15:11-32) Whatever may happen, faithful Christian parents can be assured of Jehovah’s understanding, his loving concern, and his unfailing support.—Psalm 145:14.
21. To whom should we listen, and why?
21 Let each of us, then, determine what is truly important in our life. Are we avidly pursuing material abundance, which may bring pain to us and to our families? Or are we pursuing the ‘good gifts and perfect presents’ that come from “the Father of the celestial lights”? (James 1:17) Satan, “the father of the lie,” wants us to toil for material wealth and to lose out on both happiness and life. (John 8:44; Luke 12:15) Jehovah, though, has our very best interests at heart. (Isaiah 48:17, 18) So, then, let us keep on listening to our loving heavenly Father and always “take exquisite delight” in him. (Psalm 37:4) If we pursue such a course, Jehovah’s priceless gifts and abundant blessing will make us rich—and that without a hint of pain.
Do You Recall?
• Where can the greatest happiness be found?
• What are some of the gifts that Jehovah gives to his people?
• Why is the field ministry a gift?
• What can parents do to gain God’s blessing as they raise their children?
[Picture on page 16]
Do you show appreciation for God’s gift of his written Word?
[Picture on page 17]
In spite of very difficult circumstances, Laurel Nisbet served God zealously
[Pictures on page 18]
Like Tabitha, present-day Christians are well-known for their acts of love
[Picture on page 19]
Christian elders have loving concern for fellow believers