Does Jehovah Notice What You Do?
HOW would you answer that question? Many would say: ‘I believe that God noticed the accomplishments of men like Moses, Gideon, and David, but I doubt that he is interested in anything I can do. I am certainly no Moses, Gideon, or David.’
It is true that some faithful men in Bible times performed extraordinary acts of faith. They ‘defeated kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, stayed the force of fire, and escaped the edge of the sword.’ (Hebrews 11:33, 34) Others, though, displayed their faith in less spectacular ways, and the Bible assures us that God noticed their acts of faith too. To illustrate, consider the Scriptural examples of a shepherd, a prophet, and a widow.
A Shepherd Offers a Sacrifice
What do you remember about Abel, the second son of Adam and Eve? You may recall that he died a martyr’s death, something that few of us are likely to experience. But Abel first came to God’s attention for another reason.
One day, Abel took some of the choicest animals of his flock and offered a sacrifice to God. His gift might be considered relatively modest today, but Jehovah took note of it and expressed his approval. That is not all, however. Nearly four thousand years later, Jehovah inspired the apostle Paul to write about it in the book of Hebrews. After so many years, God had not forgotten that simple sacrifice!—Hebrews 6:10; 11:4.
How did Abel decide what type of sacrifice to offer? The Bible does not say, but he must have given the matter some thought. He was a shepherd, so it is not unexpected that he offered some of his flock. Notice, though, that he gave the choicest—the “fatty pieces.” (Genesis 4:4) It is also possible that he meditated on Jehovah’s words to the serpent in the garden of Eden: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 12:9) Although not understanding the identity of “the woman” and her “seed,” Abel may have realized that the ‘bruising of the heel’ of the woman’s seed would involve the shedding of blood. He surely recognized that nothing could be more valuable than a living, breathing creature. In any event, the sacrifice he offered was truly appropriate.
Like Abel, Christians today offer sacrifices to God. They offer, not firstlings of the flock, but “a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to [God’s] name.” (Hebrews 13:15) Our lips make public declaration when we share our faith with others.
Would you like to improve the quality of your sacrifice? Then give careful thought to the needs of the people in your territory. What are their concerns? Their interests? What aspects of the Bible’s message would appeal to them? During each witnessing period, analyze the calls you have made with a view to improving your effectiveness. And when you speak about Jehovah, do so with conviction, from the heart. Make your sacrifice a real “sacrifice of praise.”
A Prophet Preaches to Unreceptive Neighbors
Consider now the prophet Enoch. He may have been totally alone as a witness of Jehovah God. Are you, like Enoch, the only member of your family who is faithfully serving Jehovah? Are you the only student in your class or the only worker at your place of employment who adheres to Bible principles? If so, you may face challenges. Friends, relatives, classmates, or workmates may urge you to transgress God’s laws. “No one will ever know what you have done,” they may say. “We won’t tell.” They may insist that it is foolish to worry about the Bible’s moral standards because God does not care what you do. Resenting that you do not think and act like them, they may do everything in their power to break down your resistance.
Admittedly, it is not easy to face such pressure, but it is not impossible. Think about Enoch, the seventh man in line from Adam. (Jude 14) By the time Enoch was born, most people were past all moral sense. Their speech was disgraceful; their conduct was “shocking.” (Jude 15) They acted in much the same way that many people do today.
How did Enoch cope? The answer to that question is of interest to us today. Although Enoch may then have been the only man on earth who worshiped Jehovah, he was not really alone. Enoch walked with God.—Genesis 5:22.
Pleasing God was the focus of Enoch’s life. He knew that walking with God meant more than merely living a clean, moral life. Jehovah expected him to preach. (Jude 14, 15) The people needed to be warned that their ungodly deeds had not gone unnoticed. Enoch continued to walk with God for more than 300 years—far longer than any of us have endured. Until he died, he kept right on walking with God.—Genesis 5:23, 24.
Like Enoch, we too have been commissioned to preach. (Matthew 24:14) In addition to witnessing from house to house, we try to reach relatives, business acquaintances, and classmates with the good news. Sometimes, though, we may hesitate to speak up. Is that the case with you? Do not despair. Imitate the early Christians, and pray to God for boldness. (Acts 4:29) Never forget that as long as you are walking with God, you are never really alone.
A Widow Prepares a Meal
Imagine, an unnamed widow obtained two blessings because she prepared a simple meal! She was, not an Israelite, but a foreigner who lived in the tenth century B.C.E. in the town of Zarephath. Near the end of a long period of drought and famine, the widow’s food supply was running out. All she had left was a handful of flour and enough oil to make one last meal for herself and her son.
At this point, a visitor approached. It was God’s prophet Elijah, who asked to share the widow’s meager fare. There was little enough for her and her son, and certainly she had nothing to spare for the visitor. But Elijah assured her, by Jehovah’s word, that if she shared her food with him, she and her son would not go hungry. It took faith to believe that the God of Israel would notice her, a foreign widow. Yet, she believed Elijah, and Jehovah rewarded her. “The large jar of flour itself did not get exhausted, and the small jar of oil itself did not fail, according to Jehovah’s word that he had spoken by means of Elijah.” The woman and her son had a regular supply of food until the famine ended.—1 Kings 17:8-16.
However, another blessing awaited the widow. Some time after that miracle, her beloved son fell ill and died. Moved with pity, Elijah implored Jehovah to restore the boy to life. (1 Kings 17:17-24) That would require an unprecedented miracle. There is no record of anyone being resurrected before! Would Jehovah again show mercy to this foreign widow? He did. Jehovah empowered Elijah to restore the boy to life. Jesus later observed regarding this privileged woman: “There were many widows in Israel . . . Yet Elijah was sent . . . to Zarephath in the land of Sidon to a widow.”—Luke 4:25, 26.
Today’s economic climate is far from stable, even in industrialized lands. Some large corporations have laid off employees who have been loyal workers for decades. Faced with the prospect of unemployment, a Christian might be tempted to spend an inordinate amount of time at work, hoping that his company will retain him. Doing so may leave him little time to attend Christian meetings, to share in the field ministry, or to care for the emotional and spiritual needs of his family. However, he feels that he must keep that job at almost any cost.
A Christian in such an economically difficult situation has a right to be concerned. It is difficult to find employment these days. Most of us are not striving to get rich, but like the widow of Zarephath, we do want to put food on the table. However, the apostle Paul reminds us that God said: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.” We can confidently say: “Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5, 6) Paul staked his very life on that promise, and Jehovah always took care of him. God will do the same for us if we do not forsake him.
We may feel that we could never match the exploits of such spiritual individuals as Moses, Gideon, and David, but we can imitate their faith. And we can remember the simple acts of faith that Abel, Enoch, and the widow of Zarephath performed. Jehovah is interested in all acts of faith—even small ones. When a God-fearing student refuses to accept drugs from a peer, when a Christian worker rejects immoral advances on the job, or when an older Witness faithfully attends congregation meetings despite fatigue and poor health, Jehovah sees it. And he rejoices!—Proverbs 27:11.
Do You Notice What Others Do?
Yes, Jehovah notices what we do. Hence, as imitators of God, we should be alert to recognize the efforts of others. (Ephesians 5:1) Why not take a closer look at the challenges your fellow Christians face in order to attend congregation meetings, to engage in the field ministry, even to go about their daily life?
Then, let your fellow worshipers of Jehovah know that you appreciate their efforts. They will be glad that you noticed, and your concern may serve to reassure them that Jehovah notices too.