Blessed Are Those Who Give Glory to God
“They will bow down before you, O Jehovah, and will give glory to your name.”—PSALM 86:9.
1. Why are we able to bring God glory in ways that surpass what inanimate creation can do?
JEHOVAH is worthy of praise from all his creation. While his inanimate creation silently brings him glory, we humans have the ability to reason, to comprehend, to appreciate, and to worship. It is to us, then, that the psalmist says: “Shout in triumph to God, all you people of the earth. Make melody to the glory of his name. Render his praise glorious.”—Psalm 66:1, 2.
2. Who have responded to the command to give glory to God’s name, and why?
2 The majority of mankind refuse to acknowledge God or to give him glory. However, in 235 lands, more than six million Witnesses of Jehovah demonstrate that they see God’s “invisible qualities” through the things he has made and that they have “heard” the silent witness of creation. (Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:2, 3) By studying the Bible, they have also come to know and love Jehovah. Psalm 86:9, 10 foretold: “All the nations whom you have made will themselves come, and they will bow down before you, O Jehovah, and will give glory to your name. For you are great and are doing wondrous things; you are God, you alone.”
3. How does the “great crowd” render “sacred service day and night”?
3 Revelation 7:9, 15 similarly describes “a great crowd” of worshipers as “rendering [God] sacred service day and night in his temple.” It is not that God literally demands nonstop praise from his servants, but his worshipers are a global organization. So when it is nighttime in some lands, God’s servants on the other side of the globe are busy witnessing. Thus it can be said that the sun never sets on those bringing glory to Jehovah. Soon “every breathing thing” will raise its voice in praise to Jehovah. (Psalm 150:6) In the meantime, though, what can we individually do to give glory to God? What challenges might we face? And what blessings await those who give God glory? In answer, let us consider a Bible account regarding the Israelite tribe of Gad.
An Ancient Challenge
4. What challenge was faced by the tribe of Gad?
4 Before entering the Promised Land, members of Israel’s tribe of Gad requested that they be allowed to settle in the cattle country east of the Jordan. (Numbers 32:1-5) Living there would mean coping with serious challenges. The tribes to the west would have the protection of the Jordan Valley—a natural barrier to military invasion. (Joshua 3:13-17) However, concerning the lands east of the Jordan, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land, by George Adam Smith, says: “[They] all roll off, with almost no intervening barrier, upon the great Arabian plateau. Consequently they have been exposed in all ages to the invasion of the hungry nomads, some of whom swarm upon them every year for pasture.”
5. How did Jacob encourage the descendants of Gad to respond when under attack?
5 How would the tribe of Gad fare under such unrelenting pressure? Centuries earlier, in his death-bed prophecy, their forefather Jacob foretold: “As for Gad, a marauder band will raid him, but he will raid the extreme rear.” (Genesis 49:19) At first glance those words may seem gloomy. In reality, though, they amounted to a command for the Gadites to strike back. Jacob assured them that if they did so, the raiders would make a humiliating retreat, with the Gadites pursuing their extreme rear.
Challenges to Our Worship Today
6, 7. How is the situation of Christians today similar to that of the tribe of Gad?
6 Like the tribe of Gad, Christians today are exposed to the pressures and burdens of Satan’s system; no miraculous protection spares us from grappling with them. (Job 1:10-12) Many of us must cope with the pressures of attending school, making a living, and rearing children. Not to be overlooked are the pressures of a personal or internal kind. Some must endure “a thorn in the flesh” in the form of a serious disability or ailment. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) Others are plagued with feelings of low self-worth. “The calamitous days” of old age may hinder elderly Christians from serving Jehovah with the vigor they once had.—Ecclesiastes 12:1.
7 The apostle Paul also reminds us that “we have a wrestling . . . against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) We are constantly exposed to “the spirit of the world,” the spirit of rebellion and moral corruption that Satan and his demons promote. (1 Corinthians 2:12; Ephesians 2:2, 3) Like God-fearing Lot, we today may be distressed by the immoral things that people around us say and do. (2 Peter 2:7) We are also exposed to Satan’s direct attack. Satan is waging war with the remnant of anointed ones, “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Revelation 12:17) Jesus’ “other sheep” too experience Satan’s attack in the form of bans and persecutions.—John 10:16.
Give In or Fight Back?
8. How should we respond to Satan’s attacks, and why?
8 What should be our response to Satan’s attacks? Like the ancient tribe of Gad, we must be spiritually strong and fight back in accord with God’s directions. Sad to say, some have begun to give in under the pressures of life, neglecting their spiritual responsibilities. (Matthew 13:20-22) One Witness said this about why meeting attendance in his congregation was low: “The brothers are just getting tired. They’re all stressed out.” Granted, people today have many reasons to be tired. It is, therefore, easy to view God’s worship as another pressure, a burdensome obligation. But is that a healthy—or correct—view?
9. How does taking on Christ’s yoke lead to refreshment?
9 Consider what Jesus said to the crowds in his day who were likewise beaten down by the pressures of life: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you.” Did Jesus suggest that refreshment would come by curtailing one’s service to God? On the contrary, Jesus said: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls.” A yoke is a wooden or metal frame that allows a human or an animal to carry a heavy burden. Why, then, would anyone want to take on such a yoke? Are we not already “loaded down”? Yes, but the Greek text could also read: “Get under my yoke with me.” Just think: Jesus offers to help us pull our load! We do not have to do it in our own strength.—Matthew 9:36; 11:28, 29, footnote; 2 Corinthians 4:7.
10. What results from our efforts to give God glory?
10 When we take on the yoke of discipleship, we are fighting against Satan. “Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you,” promises James 4:7. This is not to say that doing so is easy. Serving God entails considerable effort. (Luke 13:24) But the Bible makes this promise at Psalm 126:5: “Those sowing seed with tears will reap even with a joyful cry.” Yes, we do not worship an ungrateful God. He is “the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him,” and he blesses those who give him glory.—Hebrews 11:6.
Glorifying God as Kingdom Preachers
11. How does the field ministry serve as a defense against Satan’s attacks?
11 Jesus commanded: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations.” The preaching work is the primary way to offer God “a sacrifice of praise.” (Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 13:15) Having our “feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace” is an indispensable part of our “complete suit of armor”—our defense against Satan’s attacks. (Ephesians 6:11-15) Praising God in the field ministry is a fine way to nourish our faith. (2 Corinthians 4:13) It helps us to keep our minds off negative thoughts. (Philippians 4:8) Sharing in the field ministry allows us to enjoy upbuilding association with fellow worshipers.
12, 13. How can regular participation in the field ministry benefit families? Illustrate.
12 The preaching work can also be a wholesome family activity. To be sure, young ones need balanced recreation. However, time spent as a family in the field ministry does not have to be drudgery. Parents can make it more enjoyable by training their children to be effective in the ministry. Do not young ones tend to enjoy things that they do well? Showing balance, not driving youngsters beyond their limitations, parents can help them to find joy in the ministry.—Genesis 33:13, 14.
13 Additionally, a family that praises God together forges close bonds. Consider one sister who was abandoned by her unbelieving husband and was left with five children. She thus faced the challenge of entering the work force and providing materially for her children. Was she so overwhelmed that she ignored the spiritual interests of her children? She recalls: “I studied the Bible and Bible publications diligently and tried to apply what I read. I took the children to meetings and in the door-to-door ministry on a regular basis. The results of my efforts? All five children are baptized.” A full share in the ministry can likewise help you in your efforts to raise your children “in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.”—Ephesians 6:4.
14. (a) How can young ones give God glory in school? (b) What can help youths not to be “ashamed of the good news”?
14 Young ones, if you live in a land where the law permits it, do you give God glory by witnessing in school, or do you allow fear of man to hold you back? (Proverbs 29:25) A 13-year-old Witness in Puerto Rico writes: “I have never felt embarrassed to preach in school because I know this is the truth. In class I always raise my hand and tell what I have learned from the Bible. If I have free time, I go to the library and read the Young People Ask book.” * Has Jehovah blessed her efforts? She reports: “Sometimes my classmates ask me questions and even ask for a copy of the book.” If you have been holding back in this regard, perhaps you need to prove to yourself “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” by diligent personal study. (Romans 12:2) When you are convinced that what you have learned is the truth, you will never be “ashamed of the good news.”—Romans 1:16.
An ‘Open Door’ of Service
15, 16. What “large door that leads to activity” have some Christians entered, and what blessings have resulted?
15 The apostle Paul wrote that “a large door that leads to activity” had been opened to him. (1 Corinthians 16:9) Might your circumstances permit you to enter a door to activity? Engaging in the regular or auxiliary pioneer ministry, for example, involves devoting 70 or 50 hours a month to the preaching work. Naturally, pioneers are appreciated by fellow Christians for their faithful service. But the fact that they spend more time in the ministry does not make them feel superior to their brothers and sisters. Rather, they cultivate the attitude encouraged by Jesus: “We are good-for-nothing slaves. What we have done is what we ought to have done.”—Luke 17:10.
16 Pioneering requires self-discipline, personal organization, and a willingness to make sacrifices. The blessings, though, are well worth it. “Being able to handle God’s Word of truth aright is a real blessing,” says a young pioneer named Tamika. “When you pioneer, you use the Bible so much. Now when I go from door to door, I can think of scriptures that are appropriate for each householder.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Says a pioneer named Mica: “Seeing how the truth affects people’s life is another amazing blessing.” A youth named Matthew similarly speaks of the joy of “seeing someone come into the truth. No other kind of joy can replace this.”
17. How did one Christian overcome negative feelings about pioneering?
17 Could you consider entering the door to pioneering? Perhaps you would like to do so but feel inadequate. “I had negative feelings about pioneering,” admits a young sister named Kenyatte. “I didn’t feel capable. I didn’t know how to prepare introductions or reason from the Scriptures.” However, the elders assigned a mature pioneer sister to work with her. “It was fun working with her,” Kenyatte recalls. “That made me want to pioneer.” With some encouragement and training, perhaps you too will want to pioneer.
18. What blessings may come to those who enter missionary service?
18 Pioneering may open the door to other privileges of service. For example, some married couples may qualify for missionary training to be sent out to preach in a foreign land. Missionaries must adapt to a new country, perhaps a new language, a new culture, and new foods. But the blessings make such inconveniences pale into insignificance. Mildred, a veteran missionary in Mexico, says: “I’ve never regretted my decision to become a missionary. It’s something that has been my desire since I was a little girl.” What blessings has she enjoyed? “Back home, finding a Bible study was difficult. Here, I have had up to four students at a time starting out in field service!”
19, 20. How have Bethel service, international service, and the Ministerial Training School brought blessings to many?
19 Rich blessings also come to those in Bethel service at branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Sven, a young brother serving in Germany, says of his work at Bethel: “I feel that I am doing something that has lasting value. I could have used my skills in the world. But it would have been like depositing money in a bank that is about to go bankrupt.” True, serving as an unsalaried volunteer involves sacrifice. But Sven says: “When you go home, you know that everything you’ve done that day was for Jehovah. And that gives you a ‘super’ feeling.”
20 Some brothers have enjoyed the blessing of international service, working on branch construction in foreign lands. One couple who have served in eight foreign assignments wrote: “The brothers here are wonderful. It will be a heartbreak to leave—the eighth time our hearts have been ‘broken.’ What a fantastic experience we’ve had!” Then there is the Ministerial Training School. It offers spiritual training to qualified single brothers. Wrote one graduate: “I am perplexed as I try to find the way to thank you for such a marvelous school. What other organization would put forth so much effort to give training?”
21. What challenge do all Christians face in their service to God?
21 Yes, many doors of activity are open. Granted, most of us are not able to serve at Bethel or in a foreign land. Jesus himself acknowledged that Christians would produce different amounts of “fruit” because of different circumstances. (Matthew 13:23) Our challenge as Christians, then, is to make the most of our situation—to have as full a share in Jehovah’s service as our circumstances permit. When we do that, we are giving glory to Jehovah, and we can be assured that he is well pleased. Consider Ethel, an elderly sister in a nursing home. She witnesses regularly to fellow residents in her home and engages in telephone witnessing. Despite her limitations, she is whole-souled in her service.—Matthew 22:37.
22. (a) In what additional ways can we bring God glory? (b) What marvelous time awaits us?
22 Remember, though, that preaching is just one way in which we bring glory to Jehovah. By being exemplary in our conduct and appearance when we are on our job, in school, and at home, we make Jehovah’s heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) Proverbs 28:20 promises: “A man of faithful acts will get many blessings.” We should therefore ‘sow bountifully’ in our service to God, knowing that we will reap bountiful blessings. (2 Corinthians 9:6) Doing so, it will be our privilege to be alive at that marvelous time when “every breathing thing” will give Jehovah the glory he so richly deserves!—Psalm 150:6.
^ par. 14 The book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work is published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Do You Recall?
• How do God’s people serve Jehovah “day and night”?
• What challenge did the tribe of Gad face, and what does that teach Christians today?
• How does the field ministry act as a protection against Satan’s attacks?
• What ‘open door’ have some entered, and what blessings have they enjoyed?
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As the Gadites fought against marauding bands, Christians must fight against Satan’s attacks
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We enjoy upbuilding association in the field ministry
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Pioneering may open the door to other privileges of service, including:
1. International service
2. Bethel service
3. Missionary service