Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Our heavenly Father, Jehovah, is the personification of love. Hence, the Bible states: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Even though Jehovah is the Almighty, his Word never says, “God is power” or, “God is might.” He bases his rule primarily on love. How this attracts us to him!
Happily, Jehovah does not force us to serve him. He is not a dictator. He wants us to serve him out of love from our heart. When we do this, we show that we want his rulership because we believe that the way he rules is right and loving. This has been evident from the beginning of human history.
Rather than compel Adam and Eve to obey him, Jehovah gave them the opportunity to make their own choice. If they had really loved Jehovah and appreciated what he had done for them, they would have resisted Satan’s efforts to cause them to rebel.
Later on, Moses said in his parting speech to the nation of Israel: “See, I do put before you today life and good, and death and bad.” (Deut. 30:15) The people had the freedom to decide how they wanted to live. Similarly, Joshua said to the Israelites: “If it is bad in your eyes to serve Jehovah, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.” In reply, the people answered Joshua: “It is unthinkable, on our part, to leave Jehovah.” (Josh. 24:15, 16) That is how we feel today as well. Because we love Jehovah, it is “unthinkable” for us to leave him.
Within the Christian congregation, we clearly understand the matter of free will. While elders are authorized to counsel and even to discipline, they do not seek to dominate or to control the life or faith of others. The apostle Paul wrote: “Not that we are the masters over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, for it is by your faith that you are standing.”—2 Cor. 1:24.
How satisfying it is to do something because we want to do it instead of being forced to do it! Jehovah invites us to do what is good out of love. The importance of that is seen in Paul’s inspired words: “If I give all my belongings to feed others, and if I hand over my body, that I may boast, but do not have love, I am not profited at all.”—1 Cor. 13:3.
What joy it brings to Jehovah—what praise—to see millions of our brothers and sisters serving him because they love him with all their heart!
Jehovah, in turn, dearly loves all his servants, including all you children and teenagers who show that you love Jehovah rather than the world and the self-gratification it offers. Be assured, too, that we love you dearly.—Luke 12:42, 43.
Out of love for Jehovah, last year you brothers, sisters, and young people spent 1,748,697,447 hours proclaiming the good news. Prompted by love, 7,782,346 shared in the field ministry worldwide. We rejoice in the fact that 268,777 new ones, among them many young ones, symbolized their dedication to Jehovah through water baptism. This means that 5,168 were baptized on average each weekend. How this touches our heart!
In this time of the end, God’s people have to cope with many problems, challenges, persecution, sickness, and some have to contend with old age. But we are determined never to “shrink back” or to “give up.” We love you all very much.—Heb. 10:39; 2 Cor. 4:16.
Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses