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 STUDY ARTICLE 22

Show Your Appreciation for Unseen Treasures

Show Your Appreciation for Unseen Treasures

“Keep [your] eyes . . . on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.”​—2 COR. 4:18.

SONG 45 The Meditation of My Heart

PREVIEW *

1. What did Jesus say about heavenly treasures?

NOT all treasures can be seen. In fact, the greatest treasures are unseen. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentioned heavenly treasures that are vastly superior to material possessions. Then he added this truth: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21) Our heart will move us to pursue the things we treasure, or value highly. We store up “treasures in heaven” by gaining a good name, or standing, with God. Such treasures, Jesus explained, can never be destroyed or stolen.

2. (a) According to 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18, what does Paul urge us to focus on? (b) What will we discuss in this article?

2 The apostle Paul urges us to “keep our eyes . . . on the things unseen.” (Read 2 Corinthians 4:17, 18.) These unseen things are treasures that include the blessings we will enjoy in God’s new world. In this article, we will examine four unseen treasures that we can benefit from right now​—friendship with God, the gift of prayer, the help of God’s holy spirit, and heavenly support we have in our ministry. We will also consider how we can show that we appreciate these unseen treasures.

FRIENDSHIP WITH JEHOVAH

3. What is the greatest unseen treasure, and how is it possible?

3 The greatest unseen treasure is friendship with Jehovah God. (Ps. 25:14) How is it possible for God to make  friends with sinful humans and remain completely holy? He can do so because the ransom sacrifice of Jesus “takes away the sin of the world” of mankind. (John 1:29) Jehovah knew in advance that his purpose to provide a Savior for mankind would not fail. That is why God could befriend humans who lived before Christ died.​—Rom. 3:25.

4. Give some examples of pre-Christian men who became friends of God.

4 Consider some pre-Christian men who became friends of God. Abraham was a man who showed outstanding faith. Over 1,000 years after Abraham’s death, Jehovah called him “my friend.” (Isa. 41:8) So not even death can separate Jehovah from his close friends. Abraham is alive in Jehovah’s memory. (Luke 20:37, 38) Another example is Job. Before an assembly of the angels in heaven, Jehovah spoke confidently about Job. Jehovah called him “an upright man of integrity, fearing God and shunning what is bad.” (Job 1:6-8) And how did Jehovah feel about Daniel, who served God faithfully in a pagan land for about 80 years? Three times angels assured that aged man that he was “very precious” to God. (Dan. 9:23; 10:11, 19) We can be certain that Jehovah longs for the day when he will resurrect his beloved friends who have died.​—Job 14:15.

What are some ways in which we can show our appreciation for unseen treasures? (See paragraph 5) *

5. What is required to enjoy close friendship with Jehovah?

5 How many imperfect humans today enjoy a close friendship with Jehovah? There are millions. We know this because so many men, women, and children earth wide are proving by their conduct that they want to be God’s friends. Jehovah’s “close friendship is with the upright.” (Prov. 3:32) This friendship is possible because of their faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. On that basis, Jehovah kindly allows us to dedicate ourselves to him and get baptized. When we take these important steps, we join the millions of dedicated, baptized Christians who are enjoying “close friendship” with the greatest Person in the universe!

6. How can we show our appreciation for God’s friendship?

6 How can we show that we treasure God’s friendship? Like Abraham and Job, who remained faithful to God for well over a hundred years, we must remain faithful​—no matter how long we have been serving Jehovah in this old system. Like Daniel, we must value our friendship with God more than life. (Dan. 6:7, 10, 16, 22) With Jehovah’s help, we can endure any trials we face and thus keep our close bond with him.​—Phil. 4:13.

THE GIFT OF PRAYER

7. (a) According to Proverbs 15:8, how does Jehovah feel about our prayers? (b) How does Jehovah answer our prayers?

7 Another unseen treasure is prayer. Close friends enjoy sharing thoughts and feelings with each other. Is that true of our friendship with Jehovah? Yes! Jehovah speaks to us through his Word, and in it he reveals to us his thoughts and feelings. We communicate with him in prayer, and we can share with him our deepest thoughts and innermost feelings. Jehovah finds pleasure in listening to our prayers. (Read Proverbs 15:8.) As a loving Friend, Jehovah not only listens to our prayers but  also answers them. Sometimes the answer comes quickly. At other times we may have to keep praying about a matter. Still, we can be confident that the answer will come at the right time and in the best way. Of course, God’s answer may be different from what we expect. For example, rather than remove a trial, he might give us the wisdom and strength “to endure it.”​—1 Cor. 10:13.

(See paragraph 8) *

8. How can we show our appreciation for the gift of prayer?

8 How can we show our appreciation for this priceless gift of prayer? One way is by heeding the divine counsel to “pray constantly.” (1 Thess. 5:17) Jehovah does not force us to pray. Instead, he respects our free will and urges us to “persevere in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12) So we can show our appreciation by praying often throughout each day. Of course, we should include in our prayers expressions of thanks and praise to Jehovah.​—Ps. 145:2, 3.

9. How does one brother feel about prayer, and how do you feel about it?

9 The longer we serve Jehovah and experience the ways he answers our requests, the deeper our appreciation for prayer should become. Take, for example, Chris, a brother who has been in full-time service for the past 47 years. “How pleasurable it is to have a time slot early in the morning to linger in prayer to Jehovah,” he says. “What a refreshing experience it is to talk to Jehovah as the first rays of the sun cause the dewdrops to sparkle! This moves me to thank him for all his gifts, including the privilege of prayer. Then after praying at the end of the day, what a pleasure it is to go to sleep with a clean conscience.”

THE GIFT OF HOLY SPIRIT

10. Why should we treasure God’s holy spirit?

10 God’s active force is another unseen gift we should treasure. Jesus urged us to keep praying for holy spirit. (Luke  11:9, 13) By means of his spirit, Jehovah gives us power​—even “power beyond what is normal.” (2 Cor. 4:7; Acts 1:8) With the help of God’s spirit, we can endure any trial we may be facing.

(See paragraph 11) *

11. In what way can holy spirit help us?

11 Holy spirit can help us handle our assignments in God’s service. God’s spirit can enhance our talents and abilities. It enables us to carry out our Christian responsibilities. We can honestly attribute the good results of our efforts, not to ourselves, but to the help of God’s spirit.

12. According to Psalm 139:23, 24, we can pray for holy spirit to help us do what?

12 Another way to show that we value God’s holy spirit is by praying that it will help us detect any wrong thoughts or desires in our heart. (Read Psalm 139:23, 24.) If we make such a request, Jehovah, through his spirit, can make us aware of wrong thinking or inclinations. And if we become aware of a wrong thought or desire, we should pray for God’s spirit to give us the strength to resist such a thought or desire. Thus we will show that we are determined to avoid doing anything that would cause Jehovah to stop helping us with his holy spirit.​—Eph. 4:30.

13. How can we deepen our appreciation for holy spirit?

13 We can deepen our appreciation for holy spirit by reflecting on what that spirit has accomplished in our day. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his disciples: “You will receive power when the holy spirit comes upon you, and you will be witnesses of me . . . to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) These words are being fulfilled in a wonderful way. With the backing of holy spirit, some eight and a half million worshippers of Jehovah have been gathered from every corner of the earth. Also, we enjoy a spiritual paradise because God’s spirit helps us to cultivate beautiful qualities, such as love, joy,  peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control. These qualities make up “the fruitage of the spirit.” (Gal. 5:22, 23) What a precious gift holy spirit is!

HEAVENLY SUPPORT IN OUR MINISTRY

14. What unseen support do we have when we share in the ministry?

14 We have the unseen treasure of “working together” with Jehovah and the heavenly part of his organization. (2 Cor. 6:1) We do so whenever we share in the disciple-making work. Paul said of himself and those who share in this work: “We are God’s fellow workers.” (1 Cor. 3:9) When we participate in the Christian ministry, we are also Jesus’ fellow workers. Recall that after commanding his followers to “make disciples of people of all the nations,” Jesus said: “I am with you.” (Matt. 28:19, 20) And what about the angels? What a blessing it is to be directed by angels as we declare “everlasting good news . . . to those who dwell on the earth”!​—Rev. 14:6.

15. Relate a Bible example that shows the important part Jehovah plays in our ministry.

15 With such heavenly support, what is being accomplished? As we sow the Kingdom message, some seeds fall on receptive hearts and grow. (Matt. 13:18, 23) Who causes those seeds of truth to grow and become fruitful? Jesus explains that no man can become his follower unless “the Father . . . draws him.” (John 6:44) The Bible gives a specific example of this. Recall the occasion when Paul witnessed to a group of women outside the city of Philippi. Note what the Bible says about one of them, a woman named Lydia: “Jehovah opened her heart wide to pay attention to the things Paul was saying.” (Acts 16:13-15) Like Lydia, millions of others have been drawn by Jehovah.

16. Who should get the credit for any success we experience in the ministry?

16 Who really is responsible for any success we have in the ministry? Paul answered that question when he wrote these words about the Corinthian congregation: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept making it grow, so that neither is the one who plants anything nor is the one who waters, but God who makes it grow.” (1 Cor. 3:6, 7) Like Paul, we should always give credit to Jehovah for any success enjoyed in the ministry.

17. How can we show our appreciation for “working together” with God, Christ, and the angels?

17 How can we show our appreciation for the privilege of “working together” with God, Christ, and the angels? We can do so by zealously seeking opportunities to share the good news with others. There are numerous ways to do this, such as by witnessing “publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20) Many also enjoy informal witnessing. When they meet a stranger, they greet him in a friendly manner and try to start a conversation. If the person responds favorably, they tactfully introduce the Kingdom message.

(See paragraph 18) *

18-19. (a) How do we water seeds of truth? (b) Relate an experience that shows how Jehovah helped one Bible student.

18 As “God’s fellow workers,” we must not only plant seeds of truth but also water them. When an individual shows interest,  we want to do our best to follow up on it or to arrange for someone else to contact that person with a view to starting a Bible study. As the study progresses, we rejoice when we see how Jehovah works on the heart and mind of a potential disciple.

19 Consider the example of Raphalalani, a traditional healer in South Africa. He loved what he learned from his Bible study. But he faced a big challenge when he read what God’s Word says about communicating with dead ancestors. (Deut. 18:10-12) Gradually, he allowed God to mold his thinking. And in time, he quit his practice as a witch doctor, though this meant the loss of his livelihood. Raphalalani, who is now 60 years old, says: “I am very thankful to Jehovah’s Witnesses for assisting me in so many ways, such as helping me to find employment. Most of all, I am thankful to Jehovah for helping me to clean up my life, so that now I can share in the ministry as one of his baptized Witnesses.”

20. What are you determined to do?

20 In this article, we have considered four unseen treasures. The greatest one of all is the privilege of having Jehovah as our closest Friend. That enables us to benefit from the other unseen treasures​—approaching him in prayer, experiencing the help of his holy spirit, and receiving heavenly support in our ministry. May we be determined to deepen our appreciation for these unseen treasures. And may we never stop thanking Jehovah for being such a wonderful Friend.

SONG 145 God’s Promise of Paradise

^ par. 5 In the preceding article, we considered several treasures from God that can be seen. This article will focus on treasures that we cannot see and how we can show our appreciation for them. It will also deepen our appreciation for the Source of such treasures, Jehovah God.

^ par. 58 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: (1) While enjoying Jehovah’s creation, a sister meditates on her friendship with Jehovah.

^ par. 60 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: (2) The same sister asks Jehovah for strength to give a witness.

^ par. 62 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: (3) Holy spirit helps the sister to have the courage to share the Kingdom message informally.

^ par. 64 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: (4) The sister conducts a Bible study with the person to whom she witnessed informally. The sister carries out the preaching and disciple-making work with the support of the angels.