Accept Gratefully—Give Wholeheartedly
JEHOVAH, our loving heavenly Father, has personal concern for us. God’s Word assures us that he deeply cares for all his servants. (1 Pet. 5:7) One way in which Jehovah demonstrates his care is by providing us with various forms of assistance to help us serve him faithfully. (Isa. 48:17) Especially when we face problems that are causing us distress, Jehovah wants us to make use of help that he makes available. The Mosaic Law illustrates that truth.
Under the Law arrangement, Jehovah provided loving assistance for “the afflicted one,” such as the orphan, the widow, and the alien resident. (Lev. 19:9, 10; Deut. 14:29) He knows that some of his servants may need help from their fellow worshippers. (Jas. 1:27) Hence, none of his servants need to be reluctant to accept help from those who are moved by Jehovah to give such assistance. Even so, when we accept help, we want to do so in the right spirit.
At the same time, God’s Word highlights that God’s people also have the opportunity to give. Recall the account of the “needy widow” whom Jesus observed at the temple in Jerusalem. (Luke 21:1-4) She likely benefited from Jehovah’s loving provisions for widows as mentioned in the Law. Still, although she was needy, that widow is remembered, not as someone who received, but as one who gave. Her giving attitude must have brought her happiness because, as Jesus said, “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) With that truth in mind, how might you “practice giving” and experience happiness as a result?—Luke 6:38.
“What Shall I Repay to Jehovah?”
The psalmist wondered: “What shall I repay to Jehovah for all his benefits to me?” (Ps. 116:12) What benefits had he received? Jehovah had sustained him during a period of “distress and grief.” Moreover, Jehovah had “rescued [his] soul from death.” Now he wanted to “repay” Jehovah somehow. What could the psalmist do? He said: “My vows I shall pay to Jehovah.” (Ps. 116:3, 4, 8, 10-14) He resolved to keep all the solemn promises that he had made to Jehovah and to fulfill all his obligations to him.
You can do the same. How? By following a life course that at all times conforms to God’s laws and principles. Hence, make sure that your worship of Jehovah remains the most important thing in your life and that you let God’s spirit guide you in everything you do. (Eccl. 12:13; Gal. 5:16-18) In reality, of course, you can never fully repay Jehovah for all he has done for you. Still, it does ‘make Jehovah’s heart rejoice’ to see that you are wholeheartedly giving of yourself in his service. (Prov. 27:11) What a wonderful privilege it is to give Jehovah pleasure in this way!
Contribute to the Well-Being of the Congregation
You will no doubt agree that you have benefited from the Christian congregation in many ways. Through the congregation, Jehovah has provided an abundance of spiritual food. You received the truth that set you free from religious error and spiritual darkness. (John 8:32) At congregation meetings, assemblies, and conventions arranged by “the faithful and discreet slave,” you obtained knowledge that will lead to everlasting life on a paradise earth without pain and suffering. (Matt. 24:45-47) Can you even begin to count all the benefits you have received—and will yet receive—through God’s congregation? What might you give the congregation in return?
The apostle Paul wrote: “All the body, by being harmoniously joined together and being made to cooperate through every joint that gives what is needed, according to the functioning of each respective member in due measure, makes for the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Eph. 4:15, 16) While that scripture applies primarily to the body of anointed Christians, the principle it contains can apply to all Christians today. Yes, each member of the congregation can contribute to the well-being and growth of the congregation. In what ways?
We can do this by striving to be, at all times, a source of encouragement and spiritual refreshment to others. (Rom. 14:19) We can also contribute to “the growth of the body” by cultivating the fruitage of God’s spirit in all our dealings with fellow believers. (Gal. 5:22, 23) Further, we can look for opportunities to “work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.” (Gal. 6:10; Heb. 13:16) Everyone in the congregation—brothers and sisters, young and old—can share in ‘building up the body in love.’
In addition, we can use our talents, energies, and resources to share in the life-saving work that the congregation carries out. “You received free,” said Jesus Christ. How should we respond? “Give free,” he said. (Matt. 10:8) Therefore, share fully in the vital work of Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20) Is your ability to do this limited? Remember the needy widow described by Jesus. What she gave was very limited. Yet, Jesus said that she did more than all the others. She gave all that her circumstances allowed her to give.—2 Cor. 8:1-5, 12.
Receive in the Right Spirit
Nevertheless, there might be times that you may need to receive support from the congregation. Never hesitate to accept any help the congregation can offer when you struggle to cope with the pressures this system brings. Jehovah has provided qualified and caring men to “shepherd the congregation”—to help you when you experience trials and tribulations. (Acts 20:28) Elders and others in the congregation want to console, support, and protect you during hard times.—Gal. 6:2; 1 Thess. 5:14.
Make sure, though, that when you receive some needed help, you do so in the right spirit. Always accept with appreciation the support you receive. View such help given by fellow believers as an expression of God’s undeserved kindness. (1 Pet. 4:10) Why is that important? Because we do not want to receive in the way many in the world do—without any gratitude.
Be Balanced and Reasonable
In his letter to the congregation in Philippi, Paul wrote regarding Timothy: “I have no one else of a disposition like his who will genuinely care for the things pertaining to you.” However, then Paul added: “All the others are seeking their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:20, 21) With Paul’s serious observation in mind, how can we today avoid becoming too preoccupied with our “own interests”?
We should never be demanding when we request others in the congregation to give us their time and attention to help us handle our problems. Why not? Think about this: No doubt, we would be deeply grateful if a brother gave us some material assistance to help us cope with an emergency. But would we ever demand such material help from him? Of course not. In a rather comparable way, while our loving brothers are always happy to help us, we need to be balanced and reasonable in what we expect them to give in the way of their time. After all, whatever fellow believers do to help us cope with difficult times, we would want them to do willingly.
No doubt your Christian brothers and sisters will always be ready and willing to assist you. Still, at times they may simply be unable to meet all your needs. If that happens, be sure that Jehovah will sustain you, as he did the psalmist, in whatever trials you may face.—Ps. 116:1, 2; Phil. 4:10-13.
So, then, do not hesitate to accept gratefully whatever provisions Jehovah makes for you—especially in times of distress and trouble. (Ps. 55:22) He wants you to do that. However, he also wants you to be “a cheerful giver.” Therefore, be fully “resolved in [your] heart” to give whatever your circumstances allow in support of true worship. (2 Cor. 9:6, 7) In that way, you will be able to do both—accept gratefully and give wholeheartedly.
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“What shall I repay to Jehovah for all his benefits to me?”—Ps. 116:12
▪ Make opportunities to “work what is good toward all”
▪ Be a source of encouragement and spiritual refreshment to others
▪ Share fully in the disciple-making work to the extent that your circumstances allow