“We are God’s fellow workers.”—1 COR. 3:9.
1. How does Jehovah feel about work, causing him to do what?
JEHOVAH is a worker who takes pleasure in what he does. (Ps. 135:6; John 5:17) To allow his intelligent creatures to experience a similar joyful and gratifying feeling of accomplishment, Jehovah has assigned them pleasant and satisfying work. For example, he involved his firstborn Son in His creative work. (Read Colossians 1:15, 16.) The Bible tells us that during his prehuman existence, Jesus was beside God in heaven “as a master worker.”—Prov. 8:30.
2. What indicates that spirit creatures have always had important and gratifying work?
2 From beginning to end, the Bible contains examples showing that Jehovah has always assigned work to his spirit sons. After Adam and Eve sinned and were ejected from their Paradise home, God “posted at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning continuously to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Gen. 3:24) And Revelation 22:6 reveals that Jehovah “sent his angel to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place.”
WHAT ABOUT HUMANS?
3. While on earth, how did Jesus follow his Father’s example?
3 While on earth as a perfect human, Jesus joyfully performed the work Jehovah had given him to do. Following his Father’s example, Jesus also assigned important work to his disciples. Arousing in them eager expectation for what they could accomplish, he said: “Most truly I say to you, whoever exercises faith in me will also do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father.” (John 14:12) To stress the urgency of such works, Jesus explained: “We must do the works of the One who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no man can work.”—John 9:4.
4-6. (a) Why can we be thankful that Noah and Moses fulfilled their assignments from Jehovah? (b) What do all of God’s work assignments for humans have in common?
4 Even prior to Jesus’ day, humans were given fulfilling work to do. Although Adam and Eve failed to perform the assignment they were given, others did as God directed. (Gen. 1:28) Noah was given specific instructions on how to build an ark to preserve life through the great Deluge. He carefully carried out what Jehovah asked of him. Thanks to his conscientiousness, we are here today!—Gen. 6:14-16, 22; 2 Pet. 2:5.
5 Moses was given specific instructions for building the tabernacle and organizing the priesthood, which he followed closely. (Ex. 39:32; 40:12-16) Even today, we benefit from his faithfulness in fulfilling that assignment. How so? The apostle Paul explained that those features of the Law were illustrative of “good things to come.”—Heb. 9:1-5, 9; 10:1.
6 The work God gives his servants differs from time to time according to the progressive outworking of his purpose. Still, the work they have been assigned has always glorified Jehovah and benefited believing mankind. This certainly applies to the things Jesus accomplished, both during his prehuman existence and later while he was here on earth. (John 4:34; 17:4) Similarly, the work assigned to us today glorifies Jehovah. (Matt. 5:16; read 1 Corinthians 15:58.) Why is that the case?
MAINTAINING A POSITIVE VIEW OF WORK ASSIGNMENTS
7, 8. (a) Describe the work that Christians today are privileged to do. (b) How should we respond to Jehovah’s direction?
7 You will agree that it is amazing that Jehovah has invited imperfect humans to have the honor of serving as his fellow workers. (1 Cor. 3:9) Those who are involved in building Assembly Halls, Kingdom Halls, and branch facilities are taking part in a physical building program, as did Noah and Moses. Whether you are working to renovate a local Kingdom Hall or to build our world headquarters at Warwick, New York, cherish your privilege to serve in this way. (See opening image for artist’s rendering.) It is sacred service. However, for the most part, Christians are invited to engage in a spiritual building program. It too is designed to glorify Jehovah and to benefit obedient humans. (Acts 13:47-49) Appropriate direction on how best to do this work is provided through God’s organization. This may at times mean being given new assignments of work.
8 Faithful servants of Jehovah have always been eager to submit to theocratic direction. (Read Hebrews 13:7, 17.) We may initially lack full understanding of the reasons for carrying out our assigned work in a particular way. Nevertheless, we are fully aware of the benefits of cooperating with Jehovah in any adjustments that he sees fit to make.
9. What example regarding work do the elders set for the congregation?
9 A strong desire to accomplish Jehovah’s will is seen in the way the elders take the lead in the congregation. (2 Cor. 1:24; 1 Thess. 5:12, 13) They manifest a willingness to work hard and to keep in step with changing circumstances. They eagerly adjust to new ways in which our work of preaching God’s established Kingdom is to be done. Although some may at first have been hesitant about organizing telephone witnessing, harbor witnessing, or public witnessing, they soon saw good results. For example, four pioneers in Germany decided to work business territory that had been neglected. Michael reports: “We had not engaged in this form of service for several years, so we had butterflies in our stomach. Jehovah must have known this, for he gave us an unforgettably pleasant morning of service. How happy we were that we followed the direction given in Our Kingdom Ministry and relied on Jehovah for support!” Are you eager to try new witnessing initiatives that are developed in your territory?
10. What organizational adjustments have been made in recent times?
10 At times, organizational adjustments need to be made. In recent years, a number of branch offices have been merged with others. Though such changes require that the brothers and sisters serving at these branches make adjustments, before long the advantages of the changes become clear to all involved. (Eccl. 7:8) What a joy it is for such willing workers to play a part in the ongoing history of Jehovah’s people!
11-13. What challenges have some faced because of organizational adjustments?
11 We can learn valuable lessons from those who were directly involved in branch mergers. Some had served full-time in their respective Bethel homes for decades. A couple who served in a small Bethel family in Central America were asked to join a Bethel family almost 30 times as large in Mexico. “Leaving family and friends was very hard,” Rogelio says. Juan, another brother who was asked to move to Mexico, says: “It is almost like being born a second time; you must form new bonds. It requires adjusting to new customs and ways of thinking.”
12 Bethelites who were asked to move to the branch office in Germany from other European countries likewise faced challenges. Anyone who enjoys mountain scenery can appreciate that it was difficult for those moving from Switzerland to leave behind their majestic Alpine surroundings. And those from Austria at first missed the more relaxed lifestyle enjoyed there.
13 For those moving to another country, this meant getting used to new living accommodations, working with brothers and sisters they did not know, and possibly having to learn to do a different type of work. It meant adjusting to a new congregation and preaching in a new territory, perhaps even in another language. Making such changes can be difficult. Yet, many Bethelites have accepted the challenge. Why have they done so?
14, 15. (a) How have many shown that they cherish the privilege of working with Jehovah, whatever that work may be? (b) In what respect are they a fine example for all of us?
14 Grethel says: “I accepted the invitation because it was my way of showing Jehovah that my love for him went beyond a country, a building, or a certain privilege.” Dayska says: “When I remembered that the invitation came from Jehovah, I accepted it gladly.” André and Gabriela agree, saying: “In this we saw a further opportunity of serving Jehovah by pushing personal desires into the background. We told ourselves, ‘When faced with Jehovah’s winds of change, it is better to set your sails than to build barriers.’”
15 Because of branch mergers, some Bethelites are reassigned to serve in the pioneer work. This was true of several Bethelites when the branches in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were merged to form the Scandinavia branch office. Among them were Florian and Anja, who said: “We view our new assignment as an exciting challenge. For us, it is wonderful to be used by Jehovah no matter where we serve. We can honestly say that we feel richly blessed!” Even though most of us may never have to make such adjustments, can we not imitate the willingness of these brothers and sisters to put Kingdom interests first? (Isa. 6:8) Jehovah always blesses those who cherish their privilege of working with him, wherever that work may be.
CONTINUE ENJOYING YOUR PRIVILEGE OF WORKING WITH JEHOVAH!
16. (a) What does Galatians 6:4 tell us to do? (b) What is the greatest privilege any human can have?
16 Imperfect humans tend to make comparisons, but God’s Word tells us to focus on what we personally are able to do. (Read Galatians 6:4.) Most of us have no position of authority within the organization. Also, not all of us can be pioneers or missionaries or serve at Bethel. These are fine privileges, to be sure! But we must never forget that the greatest privilege any human can have is one that all of us share. It is that of being a fellow worker with Jehovah in the Christian ministry. This is a privilege to be cherished!
17. What reality will continue as long as Satan’s world exists, but why should this not unduly discourage us?
17 As long as Satan’s world exists, our possibilities of service to Jehovah may be limited. We may have no control over our family responsibilities, health, or other circumstances. But that is no reason to be unduly discouraged. Never underestimate your potential for working with God by bearing witness to his name and making known his Kingdom at every opportunity. Of prime importance is that you are working with him to the extent possible for you personally and that you are praying for his blessing to be with your brothers who are able to do more than you can. Remember, every person who praises Jehovah’s name is precious in his eyes!
18. What should we be willing to postpone, and why?
18 Despite our weaknesses and imperfections, Jehovah is pleased to use us as his fellow workers. How we cherish our privilege of working with our God in these last days! Thus, we should be willing to postpone the pursuit of many of our personal interests, knowing that in his new world, Jehovah will allow us to enjoy “the real life”—everlasting life in happy, peaceful conditions.—1 Tim. 6:18, 19.
19. What future prospect does Jehovah hold out for us?
19 Standing as we are on the threshold of the new world, think of what Moses told the Israelites shortly before they entered the Promised Land: “Jehovah your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hands.” (Deut. 30:9) Once Armageddon is past, those who have been busy working with God will take possession of the land that he has promised them. Then, we will direct our attention to a new work assignment—making the earth a beautiful paradise!