“Working together with him, we also urge you not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose.”—2 COR. 6:1.
SONGS: 75, 74
1. Even though Jehovah is the Supreme One, what has he invited others to do?
JEHOVAH is the Supreme One, the Creator of all things, the One possessing infinite wisdom and power. Job came to understand that. After Jehovah questioned Job about His works of creation, Job replied: “I know that you are able to do all things and that nothing you have in mind to do is impossible for you.” (Job 42:2) Though Jehovah can accomplish whatever he sets out to do—without assistance—he has from the very beginning lovingly invited others to work along with him to achieve his purpose.
2. What important work did Jehovah invite Jesus to do?
2 God’s first creation was his only-begotten spirit Son. Jehovah allowed his Son to share in all further works of creation, both spirit and material. (John 1:1-3, 18) Concerning Jesus, the apostle Paul wrote: “By means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him.” (Col. 1:15-17) Thus, Jehovah honored his Son both by including him in the works of creation and by telling others about his Son’s important role.
3. What did Jehovah invite Adam to do, and why?
3 Jehovah also invited humans to work along with him. For example, he allowed Adam to name the animals. (Gen. 2:19, 20) What pleasure it must have brought Adam to observe these creatures, to study their characteristics, and to decide what name might be appropriate for each one of them! Jehovah could have named the animals himself—he created them. Yet, he lovingly allowed Adam to name them. God also gave Adam the opportunity to expand Paradise beyond the borders of Eden. (Gen. 1:27, 28) Sadly, Adam eventually chose not to work along with God, bringing catastrophe on himself and all his offspring.—Gen. 3:17-19, 23.
4. How did others work with God to accomplish his will?
4 Later, God invited other humans to share in the outworking of his purpose. Noah built an ark that preserved him and his family alive through the global Deluge. Moses delivered the nation of Israel from Egypt. Joshua brought that nation into the Promised Land. Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem. Mary became mother to Jesus. All these faithful ones and many others worked along with Jehovah to accomplish his will.
5. In what work can we share, and did Jehovah need to involve us in this work? (See opening picture.)
5 Today, Jehovah invites us to give our full support to the Messianic Kingdom. There are many avenues of sacred service. Some may not be available to all Christians, but all of us can participate in the work of preaching the good news of the Kingdom. Of course, Jehovah did not have to involve us in this work. He could have chosen to speak directly from heaven to people on earth. Jesus said that Jehovah could even have had the stones cry out about the Messianic King. (Luke 19:37-40) Yet, Jehovah allows us to be his “fellow workers.” (1 Cor. 3:9) The apostle Paul wrote: “Working together with him, we also urge you not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose.” (2 Cor. 6:1) Working along with God is an undeserved honor, causing us great rejoicing. Let us consider some reasons why.
WORKING WITH GOD MAKES US HAPPY
6. How did God’s firstborn Son describe how he felt about working beside his Father?
6 From earliest times, Jehovah’s servants have found joy in working with God. God’s firstborn spirit Son, represented as the personification of wisdom, is depicted as saying: “Jehovah produced me as the beginning of his way . . . I was beside him as a master worker. I was the one he was especially fond of day by day; I rejoiced before him all the time.” (Prov. 8:22, 30) Jesus joyfully worked alongside his Father, rejoicing both in what he accomplished and in the knowledge that Jehovah was fond of him. What, though, about us?
7. Why does the preaching work bring us joy?
7 Jesus said that there is happiness both in giving and in receiving. (Acts 20:35) It brought us joy to receive the truth, and it brings us joy to share the truth with others. As we share Bible truths with others, we see spiritually hungry ones filled with delight as they begin to understand and appreciate our God and the precious truths contained in his Word. It touches our heart to see them make changes not just in their thinking but also in their way of life. We realize that the work of sharing the good news is vitally important. It opens the way to everlasting life for those who become reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:20) What more joyful, satisfying work could we engage in than that of helping people chart a course that will result in their living forever?
8. What have some said about the joy of working with Jehovah?
8 Though we find happiness when people respond to the message we preach, we also delight in knowing that we are pleasing to Jehovah and that he appreciates our efforts to serve him. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:58.) Marco, who lives in Italy, observes: “I have the priceless joy of knowing that I am giving my best to Jehovah and not to someone who will soon forget what I’ve done.” Similarly, Franco, who also serves in Italy, says: “By means of his Word and his spiritual provisions, Jehovah reminds us every day that he loves us and that everything we do for him is important, even though our efforts may seem like nothing to us. This is why working along with God makes me happy and gives my life meaning.”
WORKING WITH GOD DRAWS US CLOSER TO HIM AND TO OTHERS
9. What relationship existed between Jehovah and Jesus, and why?
9 When we work along with those we love, we draw close to them and come to know their personality and their qualities. We learn not only what they want to accomplish but also how they go about doing it. Jesus worked along with Jehovah for perhaps billions of years, and they forged a strong, unbreakable bond of love and affection for each other. Pointing to the closeness of their relationship, Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) They enjoyed a wonderful unity, always working together in full harmony.
10. Why does preaching draw us closer to God and to others?
10 In prayer, Jesus asked Jehovah to watch over his disciples. The reason? He prayed: “So that they may be one just as we are one.” (John 17:11) As we conform to God’s standards and share in the work of preaching, we come to understand his appealing qualities. We learn why it is wise to trust in him and to follow his direction. As we draw close to God, he draws close to us. (Read James 4:8.) We also draw close to our spiritual brothers and sisters because we face similar challenges and joys and because we share the same goals. Yes, we work together, rejoice together, and endure together. Octavia, who lives in Britain, says: “Working with Jehovah draws me closer to others because my friendships and relationships are no longer based on a superficial affinity but on a common goal and direction.” Do you not feel the same way? Are you not drawn closer to others when you see the efforts they make to please Jehovah?
11. Why will we draw even closer to Jehovah and to our brothers in the new world?
11 The bonds of love that we enjoy with God and with fellow humans may be strong now, but they will be even stronger in the righteous new world. Think of the work that lies ahead! There will be resurrected ones to be welcomed back and to be educated in the ways of Jehovah. The earth will need to be transformed into a paradise. These are no small tasks, but how joyful it will be to work shoulder to shoulder and to grow to perfection under the Messianic Kingdom! Those in the human family will draw ever closer to one another and to their God, who will without fail “satisfy the desire of every living thing.”—Ps. 145:16.
WORKING WITH GOD IS A PROTECTION
12. How is the preaching work a protection?
12 We need to safeguard our spirituality. Because we live in a world that is dominated by Satan the Devil and because we are imperfect, it is easy for us to adopt the wrong thinking and conduct of the world. The world’s spirit might be compared to a river current that is pulling us in a direction we do not want to go. To avoid being swept downstream, we must vigorously swim in the other direction. Similarly, effort is required to keep from being swept away by the spirit of Satan’s world. When we are preaching to others, we focus on important and beneficial spiritual matters, not on thoughts that will erode our faith. (Phil. 4:8) Preaching strengthens our convictions, reminding us of God’s promises and loving standards. It also helps keep our spiritual armor intact.—Read Ephesians 6:14-17.
13. How does one Witness in Australia feel about preaching?
13 If we keep busy in the preaching work and in other spiritual activities, we simply do not have time to become overly concerned with our own problems, and that helps to protect us. Joel, who lives in Australia, says: “The preaching work helps me not to lose touch with reality. It reminds me of the challenges people are facing and of the benefits I have experienced by applying Bible principles in my life. The preaching work helps me to try to stay humble; it gives me an opportunity to rely on Jehovah and on my brothers and sisters.”
14. Why does our perseverance in preaching show that God’s spirit is with us?
14 Preaching also strengthens our conviction that God’s spirit is with us. Consider: Suppose you were offered a job to distribute nutritious bread to people in your community. You would neither be paid for your work nor be reimbursed for your expenses. What is more, you would soon discover that most people did not want the bread and that some would even hate you for distributing it. How long would you continue to work at such a job? Feeling disheartened by the people’s negative response, you would probably not have the inner strength to continue for very long. Yet, many of us have persevered in the ministry year after year at our own expense and despite the scorn and ridicule of thankless ones. Does that not give evidence that God’s spirit is at work in us?
WORKING WITH GOD SHOWS OUR LOVE FOR HIM AND FOR OTHERS
15. How is the preaching of the good news connected with God’s purpose for humankind?
15 Just think about how the preaching of the good news fits in with Jehovah’s loving purpose for humankind. He purposed that humans would inhabit the earth without ever dying; though Adam sinned, Jehovah did not change His mind. (Isa. 55:11) Instead, he arranged for humans to be delivered from condemnation to sin and death. Working along with that purpose, Jesus came to earth and sacrificed his life for obedient humans. In order to become obedient, however, they had to understand what God required of them. So Jesus also taught people what God’s requirements are, and he commanded his disciples to do the same. By helping others to become reconciled to God, we share directly in his loving arrangement to rescue mankind from sin and death.
16. How is our preaching linked to God’s greatest commandments?
16 Helping others on the road to everlasting life demonstrates our love both for our fellow man and for Jehovah, “whose will is that all sorts of people should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) When asked what was the greatest of all the laws given to the nation of Israel, Jesus replied: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt. 22:37-39) By sharing in the preaching work, we demonstrate our obedience to these commandments.—Read Acts 10:42.
17. How do you feel about the honor to preach the good news?
17 How blessed we are! Jehovah has given us a work that brings us joy, that draws us closer to him and to others, and that serves to protect us spiritually. It also gives us the opportunity to show our love for God and for our fellow man. The circumstances of God’s people vary greatly throughout the earth, but whether young or old, rich or poor, strong or weak, millions are seeking and finding ways to share their faith with others. Likely, you will agree with Chantel, who lives in France. She says: “The most powerful Person in the universe, the Creator of all things, the happy God, says to me: ‘Go! Speak! Speak for me, speak from your heart. I give you my strength, my Word the Bible, heavenly support, earthly companions, progressive training, and precise instructions at the appropriate time.’ What an immense privilege it is to do what Jehovah asks of us and to work together with our God!”