“Jehovah is good to all, and his mercies are over all his works.”—PS. 145:9.
1, 2. Jehovah’s friends have what opportunity?
“WE’VE been married for nearly 35 years,” says a Christian named Monika. “My husband and I know each other very well. Yet, even after all these years, we’re still learning things about each other that we never knew!” No doubt, the same is true in countless marriages and friendships.
2 We enjoy getting better acquainted with those whom we love. Of all the friendships we can cultivate, however, none are more important than our friendship with Jehovah. We will never know all there is to know about him. (Rom. 11:33) Throughout all eternity, we will have the opportunity and joy to deepen our appreciation for Jehovah’s qualities.—Eccl. 3:11.
3. What will we consider in this article?
3 The preceding article helped us to deepen our appreciation for Jehovah’s approachableness and his impartiality. Let us now consider two more of Jehovah’s endearing qualities—his generosity and his reasonableness. In so doing, we will come to recognize more fully that “Jehovah is good to all, and his mercies are over all his works.”—Ps. 145:9.
JEHOVAH IS GENEROUS
4. What is the essence of true generosity?
4 What does it mean to be generous? We find the answer in Jesus’ words recorded at Acts 20:35: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” With that simple statement, Jesus captured the essence of true generosity. A generous person gives freely of his time, energy, and resources to benefit others—and he does so gladly. Really, generosity is measured, not by the size of the gift, but by the motive of the giver. (Read 2 Corinthians 9:7.) No one is more generous than our “happy God,” Jehovah.—1 Tim. 1:11.
5. In what ways does Jehovah demonstrate generosity?
5 How does Jehovah demonstrate generosity? He provides for the needs of all humans, including those not yet worshipping him. Indeed, “Jehovah is good to all.” He “makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matt. 5:45) That is why the apostle Paul, when speaking to unbelievers, could say that Jehovah “did good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.” (Acts 14:17) Clearly, Jehovah is generous toward all humans.—Luke 6:35.
6, 7. (a) Jehovah especially delights in providing for the needs of whom? (b) Illustrate how God provides for his faithful worshippers.
6 Jehovah especially delights in providing for the needs of his faithful worshippers. King David observed: “A young man I used to be, I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for bread.” (Ps. 37:25) Many faithful Christians have experienced such evidence of Jehovah’s care. Consider an example.
7 Some years ago, a full-time minister named Nancy found herself in a predicament. “I needed $66 to pay my rent, which was due the next day,” Nancy recalls. “I didn’t know how I was going to come up with the money. I prayed about the problem, and then I went to my job as a waitress. I didn’t expect to receive many tips that evening because it was a time of the week that was typically not very busy. To my surprise, several customers came to the restaurant that night. When I finished my shift and added up the tips I had received, the total was $66.” Nancy is convinced that Jehovah generously provided exactly what she needed.—Matt. 6:33.
8. What is Jehovah’s most generous gift?
8 Jehovah’s most generous gift is available to everyone. What is it? The ransom sacrifice of his Son. Jesus said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) In this context, “the world” refers to humankind. Yes, Jehovah’s most generous gift is open to all who choose to accept it. Those who exercise faith in Jesus will receive life in abundance—everlasting life! (John 10:10) Really, what greater proof could there be that Jehovah is generous?
IMITATE JEHOVAH’S GENEROSITY
9. How can we imitate Jehovah’s generosity?
9 How can we imitate Jehovah’s generosity? Jehovah “furnishes us all things richly for our enjoyment”; hence, we should want to be “ready to share” with others, thus contributing to their joy. (1 Tim. 6:17-19) We gladly use our resources to give gifts to our loved ones and to help those in need. (Read Deuteronomy 15:7.) What can help us to remember to be generous? Some Christians take this practical approach: Whenever they receive a gift, they look for an opportunity to give someone else a gift. The Christian congregation is blessed with countless brothers and sisters who cultivate a spirit of generosity.
10. What is one outstanding way to be generous?
10 One of the best ways to be generous is to give of ourselves in word and deed. How can we do that? By using our time and energy to help and encourage others. (Gal. 6:10) To test how we are doing in this regard, we might ask ourselves: ‘Do others sense that I’m willing to give of myself and listen to their concerns? If someone asks for assistance with a project or an errand, do I say yes whenever possible? When was the last time that I gave sincere commendation to a family member or a fellow believer?’ When we “practice giving,” we are sure to draw closer both to Jehovah and to our friends.—Luke 6:38; Prov. 19:17.
11. What are some ways that we can be generous toward Jehovah?
11 We can also be generous toward Jehovah. “Honor Jehovah with your valuable things,” admonish the Scriptures. (Prov. 3:9) Those “valuable things” include our time, energy, and resources, which we can freely spend in his service. Even young children can learn to be generous toward Jehovah. “When our family makes a donation at the Kingdom Hall, we let our children put the money in the contribution box,” says their father, Jason. “They enjoy it because, as they put it, they’re ‘giving something to Jehovah.’” Children who experience the joy of giving to Jehovah while they are young are likely to continue being generous toward him in adulthood.—Prov. 22:6.
JEHOVAH IS REASONABLE
12. What does it mean to be reasonable?
12 Another one of Jehovah’s endearing qualities is reasonableness. What does it mean to be reasonable? The original-language word usually translated “reasonable” in the New World Translation literally means “yielding.” (Titus 3:1, 2, ftn.) A reasonable person does not insist on always holding to the letter of the law, nor is he unduly strict, stern, or harsh. Rather, he strives to be gentle in his dealings with others, taking into consideration their circumstances. He is willing to listen to others and, when appropriate, to yield to their wishes and adjust his requirements.
13, 14. (a) How does Jehovah demonstrate reasonableness? (b) What can we learn about reasonableness from the way God dealt with Lot?
13 How does Jehovah demonstrate reasonableness? He kindly considers his servants’ feelings, and he is often able to accommodate their requests. For example, consider how Jehovah dealt with the righteous man Lot. When Jehovah determined that he would destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he gave Lot clear direction to flee to the mountains. For some reason, though, Lot pleaded for permission to flee to another location. Just think—Lot actually asked Jehovah to change His instructions!—Read Genesis 19:17-20.
14 It might be easy for someone to judge Lot as being weak or disobedient. After all, Jehovah surely could have kept Lot alive anywhere, so Lot’s fears really had no basis. Nevertheless, they were still his fears—Lot felt what he felt, and Jehovah yielded accordingly. He allowed Lot to flee to a city that He had intended to destroy. (Read Genesis 19:21, 22.) Clearly, Jehovah is neither stern nor rigid. He is yielding and reasonable.
15, 16. How did the Mosaic Law reflect Jehovah’s reasonableness? (See opening image.)
15 Consider another example of Jehovah’s reasonableness as manifested in the Mosaic Law. If an Israelite was too poor to offer a lamb or a goat as a sacrifice, he could offer instead two turtledoves or two pigeons. But what if an Israelite was so poor that he could not even afford two pigeons? In that case, Jehovah allowed the needy Israelite to offer a little flour. However, note this important detail: It had to be, not just any flour, but “fine flour,” the kind used for honored guests. (Gen. 18:6) Why is that significant?—Read Leviticus 5:7, 11.
16 Well, imagine that you are an Israelite and quite poor. As you arrive at the tabernacle with a little flour to offer as a sacrifice, you notice wealthier Israelites bringing livestock. You might feel embarrassed about your seemingly insignificant sacrifice of flour. Then you remember that in Jehovah’s eyes, your offering is significant. Why? For one thing, Jehovah required that the flour be of high quality. In effect, Jehovah was saying to poorer Israelites: ‘I realize that you cannot offer as much as others can, but I also know that what you are giving me is your best.’ Truly, Jehovah displays reasonableness by taking into account his servants’ limitations and their circumstances.—Ps. 103:14.
17. You can be sure that Jehovah accepts what sort of service?
17 We can draw comfort from knowing that in his reasonableness, Jehovah accepts our whole-souled service. (Col. 3:23) An elderly Italian sister named Constance said: “Speaking to others about my Creator is what I have always loved to do the most. That is why I continue to preach and to conduct Bible studies. Sometimes I regret that I cannot do more because of my health. But I realize that Jehovah knows my limitations and that he loves me and appreciates what I am able to do.”
IMITATE JEHOVAH’S REASONABLENESS
18. What is one way that parents can imitate Jehovah’s example?
18 How can we imitate Jehovah’s reasonableness? Think again of the way that Jehovah dealt with Lot. Jehovah was the one in authority; yet, he kindly listened as Lot expressed his feelings. And God accommodated Lot’s request. If you are a parent, can you imitate Jehovah’s example? Can you listen to your children’s requests and, where appropriate, accede to their wishes? Along this line, the September 1, 2007, issue of The Watchtower mentioned that some parents may bring their children into the discussion of house rules. For example, parents decide to impose a curfew, and surely parents have the right to choose a specific time that they require their children to arrive home. Even so, Christian parents might listen to their children’s expressions about the set time. In some instances, the parents may choose to make some adjustment in the set time as long as Bible principles are not being jeopardized. Parents may find that when they consider their children’s thoughts about house rules, the children are more inclined to understand the rules and to obey them.
19. How can elders strive to imitate Jehovah’s reasonableness?
19 Congregation elders strive to imitate Jehovah’s reasonableness by taking into account the circumstances of their fellow believers. Recall that Jehovah valued even the sacrifices offered by poorer Israelites. Likewise, some brothers and sisters are very limited in what they can do in the ministry, perhaps because of health problems or advanced age. What if these dear ones feel disheartened because of their limitations? The elders can kindly reassure them that Jehovah loves them for giving their best.—Mark 12:41-44.
20. Does being reasonable mean holding back from serving God? Explain.
20 Of course, we would never want to confuse being reasonable with holding back from rendering service to God just to be kind to ourselves. (Matt. 16:22) We do not want to take it easy and then defend our attitude by saying that we are being reasonable. Rather, all of us need to “exert [ourselves] vigorously” in support of Kingdom interests. (Luke 13:24) Really, we strive to balance two principles. On the one hand, we exert ourselves, not holding back in our service. On the other hand, we remember that Jehovah never asks more of us than we can give. When we give him our best, we can be sure that he is pleased. Do we not enjoy serving such an appreciative and reasonable Master? In the following article, we will consider two more aspects of Jehovah’s endearing personality.—Ps. 73:28.