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 STUDY ARTICLE 21

Do You Appreciate God-Given Gifts?

Do You Appreciate God-Given Gifts?

“How many things you have done, O Jehovah my God, your wonderful works and your thoughts toward us.”​—PS. 40:5.

SONG 5 God’s Wondrous Works

PREVIEW *

1-2. According to Psalm 40:5, what gifts has Jehovah given us, and why will we consider them?

JEHOVAH is a generous God. Think of some of the gifts he has given us: our beautiful and unique home, the earth; our marvelously designed brain; and his precious Word, the Bible. By means of these three gifts, Jehovah has given us a place to live, he has granted us the ability to think and communicate, and he has answered the most important questions we could ask.​—Read Psalm 40:5.

2 In this article, we will briefly consider those three gifts. The more we meditate on them, the more we will appreciate them and the stronger our desire will be to please our loving Creator, Jehovah. (Rev. 4:11) We will also be better equipped to help those who have been misled by the false doctrine of evolution.

OUR UNIQUE PLANET

3. Why is the earth unique?

3 God’s wisdom is clearly seen in the way he constructed our home, the earth. (Rom. 1:20; Heb. 3:4) Ours is not the only planet to orbit the sun, but the earth is unique because it has all the right conditions to sustain human life.

4. Why can we say that the earth is better than any man-made boat?

4 In some respects, the earth is like a boat floating in the vast ocean of space. But there are key differences between a man-made boat, full of people, and our earth. For example, how long would the occupants of a literal boat survive if they had to produce their own oxygen, food, and water and if they could not throw any waste products overboard? The people in that boat would soon  die. In contrast, the earth supports billions of living creatures. It produces all the oxygen, food, and water we need, and we do not run out of those vital supplies. Its waste products are not ejected into space; yet, the earth remains beautiful and habitable. How is that possible? Jehovah designed the earth with the ability to recycle resources. We will briefly look at two of these brilliantly designed cycles, the oxygen cycle and the water cycle.

5. What is the oxygen cycle, and what does it confirm?

5 Oxygen is a life-sustaining gas that is used by some living things, including us. It has been estimated that living creatures breathe in a hundred billion tons of oxygen in a year. These same creatures breathe out a waste product called carbon dioxide. Yet, these living creatures never consume all the oxygen, and the atmosphere never becomes choked with the “waste” gas, carbon dioxide. Why not? Because Jehovah also created organisms​—from large trees to tiny algae—​that take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. In a very literal way, the oxygen cycle confirms the words recorded at Acts 17:24, 25: “God . . . gives to all people life and breath.”

6. What is the water cycle, and what does it prove? (See also the box “ Jehovah’s Gift of the Water Cycle.”)

6 Water in liquid form exists on earth because our planet is located at the perfect distance from the sun. If it were just a little closer, all the water would boil off, leaving a hot, lifeless rock. If the earth were just a little farther from the sun, all the water would freeze, turning the earth into a giant ball of ice. Because Jehovah placed the earth at this ideal location, the earth’s water cycle can sustain life. The sun heats water in the oceans and on the earth’s surface and evaporates the water to form clouds. Each year, the sun evaporates nearly 120,000 cubic miles (500,000 cu km) of water. This water stays in the atmosphere for about ten days before falling as rain or snow. The water eventually makes its way back to the oceans or other bodies of water, and the cycle is repeated. This efficient, sustainable cycle proves that Jehovah is both wise and powerful.​—Job 36:27, 28; Eccl. 1:7.

7. What are some ways that we can show appreciation for the gift described at Psalm 115:16?

7 How can we develop appreciation for our amazing planet and all that it supplies? (Read Psalm 115:16.) One way is by meditating on the things Jehovah has made. That will motivate us to thank Jehovah each day for the good things he gives us. And we show that we appreciate the earth by keeping the part of it where we live as clean as possible.

OUR UNIQUE BRAIN

8. Why can we say that our brain is a marvel of engineering?

8 The human brain is a marvel of engineering. When you were in your mother’s womb, your brain was built according to a preset plan, and thousands of new brain cells were constructed every minute! Researchers estimate that an adult’s brain contains close to 100 billion special cells called neurons. These cells have been efficiently assembled into a package that weighs about 3.3 pounds  (1.5 kg). Consider just a few of the brain’s amazing abilities.

9. What proves to you that our ability to speak is a gift from God?

9 Our ability to speak is a miracle. Think for a moment about the mechanics of speaking. With each word you say, your brain has to coordinate the movement of some 100 muscles in your tongue, throat, lips, jaw, and chest. All those muscles have to move according to precise timing if the words are to be understood. Regarding the ability to speak languages, a study published in 2019 showed that newborn babies can pick out individual words. This finding reinforces what many researchers believe​—that we are born with the ability to recognize and learn languages. Certainly, our ability to speak is a gift from God.​—Ex. 4:11.

10. How can we show that we appreciate the God-given gift of speech?

10 One way we can show that we appreciate our gift of speech is by explaining our belief in God to those who wonder why we do not accept the teaching of evolution. (Ps. 9:1; 1 Pet. 3:15) Those who promote that doctrine would have us believe that the earth and all life on it came about by accident. Using the Bible and some of the points we discussed in this article, we can defend our heavenly Father and explain to those who are willing to listen why we are convinced that Jehovah is the Creator of heaven and earth.​—Ps. 102:25; Isa. 40:25, 26.

11. What is one reason why our brain is amazing?

11 Our capacity to remember is amazing. In the past, one author estimated that the human brain has the ability to remember information that would fill the equivalent of 20 million books. Now, however, it is thought that our memory capacity is much larger. What unique ability do humans have?

12. How does our ability to learn moral lessons separate us from the animals?

12 Among all the creatures on earth, only humans have the ability to learn moral lessons by remembering and analyzing past events. As a result, we can adopt better values and change our way of thinking and living. (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Col. 3:9, 10) In fact, we can train our conscience to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Heb. 5:14) We can learn to show love, compassion, and mercy. And we can develop a healthy sense of justice.

13. In line with Psalm 77:11, 12, how should we use our gift of memory?

13 One way we prove that we appreciate the gift of memory is by choosing to remember all the times that Jehovah has helped and comforted us in the past.  This will build our confidence that he will also help us in the future. (Read Psalm 77:11, 12; 78:4, 7) Another way is by remembering the good things that other people do for us and being grateful for what they do. Researchers have found that people who are grateful are more likely to be happy. We also do well to imitate Jehovah regarding the things he chooses to forget. For example, Jehovah has a perfect memory, but if we are repentant, he chooses to forgive and forget the mistakes we make. (Ps. 25:7; 130:3, 4) And he wants us to do the same for others when they are sorry for mistakes they make that hurt us.​—Matt. 6:14; Luke 17:3, 4.

We show appreciation for the gift of our brain by using it to honor Jehovah (See paragraph 14) *

14. How can we show appreciation for the marvelous gift of our brain?

14 We can show appreciation for the marvelous gift of our brain by using it to honor the One who gave it to us. Some choose to use their brain for selfish purposes​—to set their own standards of right and wrong. But because Jehovah created us, it is only reasonable to expect that his standards are better than any standards we could set for ourselves. (Rom. 12:1, 2) When we live by his standards, our life is peaceful. (Isa. 48:17, 18) And we gain a clear purpose for living​—to bring honor to our Creator and Father and make him proud of us.​—Prov. 27:11.

THE BIBLE​—A UNIQUE GIFT

15. How does the gift of the Bible reflect Jehovah’s love for mankind?

15 The Bible is a loving gift from God. Our heavenly Father inspired men to write it because he cares greatly for his earthly children. By means of the Bible, Jehovah answers the most important questions we could ask, such as: Where did we come from? What is the purpose of life? And what does the future  hold? Jehovah wants all his children to learn the answers to those questions, so throughout the centuries he has moved men to translate the Bible into many languages. Today, the whole Bible or portions of it are available in over 3,000 languages! The Bible is the most widely translated and distributed book in history. No matter where people live or what language they speak, most have the opportunity to learn the Bible’s message in their mother tongue.​—See the box “ Making the Bible Available in African Languages.”

16. Based on Matthew 28:19, 20, how can we prove that we appreciate the Bible?

16 We can prove that we appreciate the Bible by reading it each day, meditating on what it teaches, and doing our best to apply what we learn. In addition, we show our gratitude to God by doing all we can to share its message with as many people as possible.​—Ps. 1:1-3; Matt. 24:14; read Matthew 28:19, 20.

17. What kind of gifts have we considered in this article, and what will be discussed in the next article?

17 So far we have considered such God-given gifts as our home, the earth; our amazingly designed brain; and God’s inspired Word, the Bible. But there are other gifts that Jehovah has given us that are invisible to our eyes. These unseen treasures will be discussed in the next article.

SONG 12 Great God, Jehovah

^ par. 5 This article will build our appreciation for Jehovah and for three of the gifts that he has given us. It will also help us to reason with those who doubt that God exists.

^ par. 64 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: A sister is learning a foreign language in order to teach immigrants the truths of God’s Word.