Are You Earnestly Seeking Jehovah?
A CHRISTIAN man keenly desired to share the good news from the Bible with other commuters on the train. (Mark 13:10) Yet, fear paralyzed him. Did he give up? No, he made it a matter of fervent prayer and worked on learning how to strike up a conversation. Jehovah God answered this man’s request and gave him the strength to witness.
Such earnestness is vital when we seek Jehovah and his blessing. The apostle Paul said: “He that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Merely seeking Jehovah is not enough. The Greek verb translated “earnestly seeking” is in a form that implies intensity and concentrated effort. This involves one’s whole heart, mind, soul, and vital force. If we are earnestly seeking Jehovah, we do not conduct ourselves in an indifferent, self-sparing, or indolent manner. Rather, we show genuine zeal in pursuing him.—Acts 15:17.
Those Who Earnestly Sought Jehovah
The Scriptures abound with examples of those who put forth concerted efforts in seeking Jehovah. One such person was Jacob, who strenuously grappled with God’s materialized angel till dawn. As a result, Jacob was given the name Israel (Contender with God) because he “contended,” or “persisted,” “exerted [himself],” “persevered,” with God. The angel blessed him for his earnest endeavor.—Genesis 32:24-30, footnote.
Then there was the unnamed Galilean woman who for 12 years suffered from a flow of blood, causing her “many pains.” In this condition, she was not supposed to touch other people. Yet, she mustered up courage to go out to meet Jesus. She kept saying: “If I touch just his outer garments I shall get well.” Think of her as she worked her way through the ‘crowd that was following [Jesus] and pressing against him.’ On touching Jesus’ outer garment, she sensed that “her fountain of blood dried up”—her chronic illness was cured! When Jesus asked, “Who touched my outer garments?” she became frightened. But Jesus warmly told her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be in good health from your grievous sickness.” Her efforts were rewarded.—Mark 5:24-34; Leviticus 15:25-27.
On still another occasion, a Phoenician woman earnestly pleaded for Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus replied that it was inappropriate to give the children’s food to little dogs. He meant that he could not care for non-Israelites at the expense of deserving Jews. Discerning the point of his illustration, the woman nevertheless begged: “Yes, Lord; but really the little dogs do eat of the crumbs falling from the table of their masters.” Her strong faith and sincerity moved Jesus to say: “O woman, great is your faith; let it happen to you as you wish.”—Matthew 15:22-28.
What would have happened to these individuals had they not persisted in their efforts? Would they have received the blessings if they had given up when facing the initial hurdle or rebuff? No! These examples well illustrate the point that Jesus taught, namely that “bold persistence” is proper, even essential, in seeking Jehovah.—Luke 11:5-13.
According to His Will
In the aforementioned accounts of those who received miraculous healing, was earnestness the sole requirement for the cures? No, their requests had to be in harmony with God’s will. Jesus was given miraculous powers to provide outstanding evidence that he was God’s Son, the promised Messiah. (John 6:14; 9:33; Acts 2:22) Further, the miracles Jesus performed gave foregleams of the grand earthly blessings that Jehovah will bestow on mankind during Christ’s Millennial Rule.—Revelation 21:4; 22:2.
It is no longer God’s will that those practicing the true religion have miraculous powers, such as the ability to heal and speak in tongues. (1 Corinthians 13:8, 13) His will for our day includes having the good news of the Kingdom declared in all the earth so that ‘all sorts of men may come to an accurate knowledge of truth.’ (1 Timothy 2:4; Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) God’s servants can rightly expect a favorable hearing of their fervent prayers if they put forth sincere efforts in harmony with his will.
Some may wonder, ‘Why exert ourselves when God’s purpose will eventually be accomplished anyway?’ While it is true that Jehovah will achieve his purpose regardless of human endeavors, he is pleased to have individuals involved in carrying out his will. Jehovah might be likened to a man building a house. The builder has a complete blueprint for the project, but he chooses building materials from those available locally. Similarly, Jehovah has a project to accomplish today and is pleased to use his servants, who offer themselves willingly.—Psalm 110:3; 1 Corinthians 9:16, 17.
Consider the experience of young Toshio. Upon entering high school, he wanted to give as great a witness as possible in his unique territory. He always had his Bible ready and made a conscientious effort to be an exemplary Christian. Toward the end of his first school year, an opportunity to give a speech to the class presented itself. Toshio prayed to Jehovah for help and was thrilled to see the whole class pay close attention to his talk entitled “My Goal of Making Pioneering a Career.” He explained that he wanted to be a full-time minister of Jehovah’s Witnesses. One of the students agreed to study the Bible with him and progressed to the point of baptism. Toshio’s earnest efforts in harmony with his prayers were richly rewarded.
How Earnest Are You?
You can show in a variety of ways that you are earnestly seeking Jehovah and his blessings. First, there are basic things you can do, such as preparing well for Christian meetings. By means of well-thought-out comments, motivating talks, and effective demonstrations, you reveal the intensity with which you are seeking Jehovah. You can also demonstrate your earnestness by improving the quality of your ministry. How about trying to be friendlier in your approach at the door and using effective introductions that fit your territory? (Colossians 3:23) By wholeheartedly applying himself, a Christian man may be able to accept assignments in the congregation, such as serving as a ministerial servant or an elder. (1 Timothy 3:1, 2, 12, 13) By making yourself available, you can share in the joy of giving. You may be able to apply to serve on a branch construction project or at a branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you are a qualified single man, you may want to attend the Ministerial Training School, which equips spiritual men to be good shepherds. If you are married, missionary service might be a way to show your earnest desire to serve Jehovah more. Moving to where the need for the Kingdom preachers is greater may be a possibility for you.—1 Corinthians 16:9.
What really counts is the spirit with which you fulfill an assignment. Whatever responsibility you are given, tackle it earnestly, vigorously, and with “sincerity of heart.” (Acts 2:46; Romans 12:8) You do well to view each assignment as an opportunity to demonstrate your eagerness to bring praise to Jehovah. Pray constantly for Jehovah’s help, and do your best. Then you will reap a rich reward.
Earnest Efforts Rewarded
Remember the Christian man who prayed to overcome his fears so that he could preach to the other commuters? Jehovah blessed his sincere desire. The brother worked at having a pleasant approach, choosing subjects with which to start conversations. He was able to use the Bible effectively to witness to a man concerned about stressful human relationships. Several return visits on the train led to a home Bible study. Jehovah indeed blessed him for his earnest efforts!
You may have similar results if you continue to seek Jehovah earnestly. If you humbly persevere and put your whole heart into whatever theocratic activity you are involved in, Jehovah will use you in harmony with his purposes and pour out on you a rich blessing.
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What would have happened to this woman had she not persisted?
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Do you persist in begging Jehovah for his blessing?
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How can you show that you are earnestly seeking Jehovah?