“We are God’s fellow workers.”—1 COR. 3:9.
1. In what ways can we work with Jehovah?
THE Creator envisioned that perfect humans would cooperate with him to accomplish his purposes. Despite mankind’s current imperfect state, faithful people can still work with Jehovah each day. For example, we become “God’s fellow workers” by preaching the good news of his Kingdom and making disciples. (1 Cor. 3:5-9) Just think what a privilege we have to be counted worthy of cooperating with the almighty Creator of the universe in a work that he considers important! Yet, preaching and making disciples are not the only ways that we work with Jehovah. This article will examine other ways we can do so—by assisting our family and fellow worshippers, by being hospitable, by volunteering for theocratic projects, and by expanding our sacred service.—Col. 3:23.
2. Why would it be unwise to compare what you do to promote Jehovah’s purposes with what others do?
2 As we consider this material, do not compare what you can do for Jehovah with what others can do. Remember that age, health, circumstances, and abilities vary from one person to another. The inspired apostle Paul said: “Let each one examine his own actions, and then he will have cause for rejoicing in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person.”—Gal. 6:4.
GIVE ASSISTANCE TO YOUR FAMILY AND FELLOW WORSHIPPERS
3. Why can it be said that everyone who cares for his family is cooperating with God?
3 Jehovah expects his servants to care for their families. For example, you may have to work to provide financially for your loved ones. Many mothers stay at home to look after their infants. And some adult children may have to care for infirm parents. These are necessary activities. God’s Word states: “If anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.” (1 Tim. 5:8) If you have such responsibilities, you likely cannot set aside as much time for theocratic activities as you would like to. But take heart! Jehovah is pleased when you provide for your family.—1 Cor. 10:31.
4. How can parents put theocratic interests ahead of their own, and with what results?
4 Christian parents cooperate with Jehovah when they set theocratic goals before their children. Many who have done so have later seen their sons and daughters take up full-time service assignments far from home. Some are missionaries; others pioneer where the need for publishers is greater; still others serve at Bethel. Distance might mean that families cannot get together as often as they would like to. Nevertheless, the self-sacrificing parents encourage their children to persevere in their assignments. Why? They find great joy and satisfaction in knowing that their children are putting Kingdom interests first. (3 John 4) Perhaps many of these parents feel like Hannah, who said that she “lent” her son Samuel to Jehovah. These parents rightly view such cooperation as a precious privilege. They would not want things any other way.—1 Sam. 1:28.
5. How might you be able to offer practical assistance to members of your congregation? (See opening picture.)
5 If you do not have pressing family responsibilities, could you assist fellow worshippers who are caregivers and those who are infirm, elderly, or otherwise in need? Why not look around in your congregation and take note of who needs help? Perhaps you could spend time with the elderly parent of a Christian sister who is a caregiver while the sister attends to other matters. Or maybe you could help those who need assistance by offering to take them to meetings, to go shopping, to run errands, or to visit someone who is in the hospital. In doing so, you might be working with Jehovah to answer a prayer.—Read 1 Corinthians 10:24.
6. What is involved in showing hospitality?
6 God’s fellow workers are noted for practicing hospitality. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the term translated “hospitality” means “kindness to strangers.” (Heb. 13:2; ftn.) God’s Word recounts events that teach us to show such love. (Gen. 18:1-5) We can and should seize opportunities to help others regularly, whether they are “related to us in the faith” or not.—Gal. 6:10.
7. Why might you consider showing hospitality to visiting full-time servants?
7 Can you work with God by showing hospitality to visiting full-time servants? (Read 3 John 5, 8.) Such occasions often provide an opportunity for “an interchange of encouragement.” (Rom. 1:11, 12) Consider the experience of Olaf. He recalls that decades ago, no one in his congregation could accommodate the circuit overseer, who was single. Young Olaf asked his non-Witness parents if the circuit overseer could stay at the family home. They agreed but pointed out that Olaf would have to sleep on the couch. That adjustment was well worth it. “What a wonderful week!” Olaf recalls. “The circuit overseer and I got up early each morning and discussed many interesting topics over breakfast. The encouragement I received kindled my desire to take up the full-time service.” Over the last 40 years, Olaf has served in various missionary assignments.
8. What reasons do we have for showing kindness even if at first it does not seem to be appreciated? Illustrate.
8 You can show love to strangers in many ways even if at first your efforts are not appreciated. Consider this example. While conducting a Bible study, a publisher in Spain noticed that her student Yesica, from Ecuador, could not stop crying. The publisher asked why. Yesica related that before emigrating she was so poor that one day she had no food. All she had to give her daughter was water. Yesica tried to rock her child to sleep as she prayed for help. Soon after, two Witnesses visited her, but Yesica was unkind to them and tore up the magazine the sisters offered. “Is this the food you want me to give to my daughter?” she asked. The sisters tried to comfort her, but their attempts were in vain. Later, they left a basket of food at her door. Yesica was touched by their kindness and felt bad as she recalled that she paid no heed when God answered her prayer. Now, though, she was determined to serve Jehovah. What a fine effect their generosity produced!—Eccl. 11:1, 6.
VOLUNTEER FOR THEOCRATIC PROJECTS
9, 10. (a) What were some of the occasions in Bible times when a need arose for volunteers among God’s people? (b) What are some of the needs that are generally cared for by willing men in the congregation today?
9 On various occasions in the history of ancient Israel, volunteers were needed. (Ex. 36:2; 1 Chron. 29:5; Neh. 11:2) Today, you also have many opportunities to volunteer your time, resources, and skills to help your brothers and sisters. And you will feel great joy and receive many blessings from making yourself available.
10 God’s Word encourages men in the congregation to work with Jehovah by reaching out for privileges of service and oversight. (1 Tim. 3:1, 8, 9; 1 Pet. 5:2, 3) Those who do so want to assist others in both practical and spiritual matters. (Acts 6:1-4) Have the elders asked if you would be willing to serve as an attendant or to help with literature, territories, maintenance, or the like? Those who care for such duties will tell you that it is most enjoyable to assist others.
11. How has one sister benefited from the friendships she made on theocratic projects?
11 Those who volunteer for theocratic projects often make new friends. Consider the example of Margie, a sister who has worked on Kingdom Hall construction projects for 18 years. Over the years, she has taken several younger sisters under her wing to give them training. She has found the experience to be an excellent way of encouraging one another spiritually. (Rom. 1:12) During trying periods of her life, Margie has received encouragement from those whose friendships she forged on construction projects. Have you ever volunteered for such a construction project? Whether you are skilled or not, can you make yourself available?
12. How might you be able to contribute to disaster relief?
12 When disasters strike, God’s people have opportunities to work with God by helping their brothers in practical ways. For example, they give financial support to those affected. (John 13:34, 35; Acts 11:27-30) Another practical way is by assisting with cleaning or reconstruction. Gabriela, a sister from Poland whose home was virtually destroyed by a flood, cheered up when brothers from nearby congregations came to her aid. “I don’t want to talk about what I lost—those are just material things,” she relates. “Rather, I want to tell you how much I gained. This experience reassured me that being a part of the Christian congregation is a unique privilege as well as a source of joy and happiness.” Many who receive help after a disaster say that they feel richer from the experience. And those who work with Jehovah to provide such help enjoy great satisfaction themselves.—Read Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6, 7.
13. How can volunteering strengthen our relationship with Jehovah? Give an example.
13 Stephanie and other publishers had the joy of working with God by assisting Witnesses who had arrived in the United States as refugees. They helped to find and furnish homes for families relocating from war-torn areas. “We were moved by their joy and appreciation as they experienced the love of their worldwide brotherhood,” says Stephanie. “The families think that we have helped them, but in reality, they have helped us much more.” She adds, “The love, unity, faith, and reliance on Jehovah that we have witnessed have truly strengthened our love for Jehovah, and this has given us a deeper appreciation for all that we receive through his organization.”
EXPAND YOUR SERVICE
14, 15. (a) What spirit did the prophet Isaiah manifest? (b) How can Kingdom preachers today imitate Isaiah’s attitude?
14 Would you like to work with Jehovah more fully? Would you be willing to relocate to serve him where there is a greater need for workers in his organization? Of course, God’s servants do not have to travel far from home to express generosity. But the circumstances of some brothers and sisters allow them to make themselves available farther afield. Their attitude is similar to that of the prophet Isaiah. In response to Jehovah’s question, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” he replied: “Here I am! Send me!” (Isa. 6:8) Do you have the desire and circumstances to respond in a similar way to theocratic needs? What needs exist?
15 Concerning the preaching and disciple-making work, Jesus said: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matt. 9:37, 38) Can you serve in a field where the need is greater, perhaps as a pioneer? Or can you help someone else to do so? Many brothers and sisters have felt that the best way to show love for God and neighbor is to pioneer in areas or in territories in which there is a greater need for harvest workers. Can you think of other ways to expand or increase your service? Great joy comes from doing so.
16, 17. What further opportunities exist if you desire to expand the work you do for Jehovah?
16 Would you be willing to serve at Bethel or assist in the construction of a theocratic facility, either as a temporary worker or as a commuter? There is a constant need for individuals who can serve Jehovah wherever they are assigned and at whatever task they are given to do. This might require that they work in a field where there is a specific need, even though they have skills and experience in another field. Yet, Jehovah appreciates the self-sacrificing spirit shown by individuals who offer themselves to serve wherever there is a need.—Ps. 110:3.
17 Do you desire to receive further training so as to be better equipped to carry out your sacred service? If so, you may qualify to attend the School for Kingdom Evangelizers. This school gives training to spiritually-minded men and women who are in full-time service, so that they can expand theocratic interests in the field. Those who apply to attend this school need to be willing to accept any assignment when they graduate. Would you be willing to take advantage of this opportunity to reach out for greater privileges of service?—1 Cor. 9:23.
18. What do you stand to gain by working with Jehovah each day?
18 As Jehovah’s people, we are moved to be generous—which is a manifestation of goodness, kindness, and love—and to care about others each day. When we do that, we gain joy, peace, and happiness. (Gal. 5:22, 23) Whatever your circumstances in life, you can find joy by imitating Jehovah’s generous personality and by being one of his precious fellow workers!—Prov. 3:9, 10.