“Whoever approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.”
1, 2. (a) How are love and faith connected? (b) What questions will we consider?
OUR Father, Jehovah, promises to bless his loyal servants. This is one way that Jehovah shows his love for us, and we love him “because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) As our love for Jehovah grows, our faith in him becomes stronger and we are more convinced that Jehovah will reward those whom he loves.
2 Jehovah is a rewarder! It is an important part of who he is and what he does. So our faith in God is not complete unless we are convinced that he will reward those who earnestly seek him. Why is that? Because “faith is the assured expectation of what is hoped for.” (Hebrews 11:1) Faith means having the absolute confidence that God will bless his loyal ones. How, though, does the hope of a reward benefit us? How has Jehovah rewarded his servants in the past and in the present? Let us see.
JEHOVAH PROMISES TO BLESS HIS SERVANTS
3. What promise do we read at Malachi 3:10?
3 Jehovah God has promised to reward his faithful servants. He invites us to give him our best and to trust that he will bless us. Jehovah says: “Test me out, please.” He continues: “See whether I will not open to you the floodgates of the heavens and pour out on you a blessing until there is nothing lacking.” (Malachi 3:10) We show our thankfulness for this offer when we accept Jehovah’s invitation to test him out.
4. Why can we trust Jesus’ promise found at Matthew 6:33?
4 Jesus promised his disciples that if they put the Kingdom first, God would support them. (Read Matthew 6:33.) Jesus could say that because he knew that God’s promises always come true. (Isaiah 55:11) So we too can be sure that if we show complete faith in Jehovah, he will keep this promise: “I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5) This promise of Jehovah helps us trust Jesus’ words found at Matthew 6:33.
5. Why is Jesus’ reply to Peter encouraging to all of us?
5 The apostle Peter once asked Jesus: “We have left all things and followed you; what, then, will there be for us?” (Matthew 19:27) Jesus did not correct Peter for asking that question. Instead, Jesus told his disciples that they would be rewarded for their sacrifices. The apostles and other faithful ones will rule with Jesus in heaven in the future. But Jesus also said that even now there are rewards: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit everlasting life.” (Matthew 19:29) All of Jesus’ followers can find fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and children in the congregation today. That is certainly much more valuable than anything we have sacrificed for God’s Kingdom.
“AN ANCHOR FOR THE SOUL”
6. Why does Jehovah promise to reward his servants?
6 In addition to enjoying many wonderful blessings now, we look forward to even greater blessings in the future. (1 Timothy 4:8) Jehovah promises to reward his faithful servants, and knowing this helps us to endure difficult times. By being absolutely convinced that Jehovah “becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him,” we can remain faithful.
7. How is hope like an anchor?
7 In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Rejoice and be overjoyed, since your reward is great in the heavens, for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.” (Matthew 5:12) Some of God’s servants will receive a reward in heaven. And others will receive the reward of everlasting life on a paradise earth. That is also reason to “rejoice and be overjoyed.” (Psalm 37:11; Luke 18:30) But for all of us, our hope can be “an anchor for the soul, both sure and firm.” (Hebrews 6:17-20) Just as an anchor keeps a ship secure during a storm, our strong hope can help us to remain stable. It can give us the strength to endure difficult times.
Jehovah promises to reward his faithful servants, and knowing this helps us to endure difficult times
8. How does our hope reduce anxiety?
8 Our hope can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. Just as balm can soothe our skin, God’s promises can calm our anxious heart. It is comforting to know that Jehovah will take care of us when we throw our burden on him. (Psalm 55:22) We can have complete confidence that God can do “more than superabundantly beyond all the things we ask.” (Ephesians 3:20) Jehovah will help us, not just abundantly or superabundantly, but “more than superabundantly”!
9. How can we be sure to receive Jehovah’s blessing?
9 To receive the reward, we need to have complete faith in Jehovah and be obedient to his directions. Moses told the nation of Israel: “Jehovah will surely bless you in the land that Jehovah your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, but only if you strictly obey the voice of Jehovah your God and carefully observe all this commandment that I am giving you today. For Jehovah your God will bless you just as he has promised you.” (Deuteronomy 15:4-6) Are you absolutely convinced that Jehovah will bless you if you continue to serve him faithfully? You have good reason for such confidence.
JEHOVAH WAS THEIR REWARDER
10, 11. How did Jehovah reward Joseph?
10 The Bible was written for our benefit. In it we find many examples of how God rewarded his faithful servants in the past. (Romans 15:4) Joseph was an excellent example of this. First, his brothers sold him as a slave. Later, his master’s wife falsely accused him and he was sent to an Egyptian prison. When Joseph was in prison, was he separated from Jehovah? Not at all! The Bible says: “Jehovah continued with Joseph and kept showing loyal love to him,” and “Jehovah was with Joseph and Jehovah made whatever he did successful.” (Genesis 39:21, 23) Even through those difficult times, Joseph waited patiently on his God.
11 Years later, Pharaoh released Joseph from prison, and this humble slave became the second most powerful ruler in Egypt. (Genesis 41:1, 37-43) When Joseph and his wife had two sons, “Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, for he said, ‘God has made me forget all my trouble and all the house of my father.’ And he named the second one Ephraim, for he said, ‘God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.’” (Genesis 41:51, 52) Jehovah rewarded Joseph’s loyalty, and he was able to save both the Israelites and the Egyptians from famine. And Joseph knew that it was Jehovah who had rewarded him and blessed him.
Jesus certainly found joy in being able to sanctify God’s name
12. How did Jesus remain faithful when he was tested?
12 Jesus Christ also remained obedient to God through many tests, and Jehovah rewarded him. What helped Jesus to remain faithful? God’s Word explains: “For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame.” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus certainly found joy in being able to sanctify God’s name. And Jesus was rewarded with his Father’s approval and many wonderful privileges. The Bible says that he “has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We also read: “God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name.”
JEHOVAH DOES NOT FORGET WHAT WE DO
13, 14. How does Jehovah feel about what we do for him?
13 We can be sure that Jehovah values everything we do to serve him. He understands when we are not sure of ourselves or when we doubt our own abilities. He cares deeply for us when we are anxious about our job or providing for our family. And he understands when we cannot do as much as we once did in his service because we are now sick or depressed. We can be completely confident that Jehovah values our faithfulness despite our problems.
14 Remember, too, that Jehovah is the “Hearer of prayer.” We can be sure that when we pray to him, he will listen to us. (Psalm 65:2) “The Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort” will give us everything we need in order to stay close to him. At times he may use our brothers and sisters to do that. (2 Corinthians 1:3) Jehovah is pleased when we show compassion for others. “The one showing favor to the lowly is lending to Jehovah, and He will repay him for what he does.” (Proverbs 19:17; Matthew 6:3, 4) So when we are generous and help our brothers, Jehovah considers the good that we do as a loan made to him. And he promises to reward that kindness.
REWARDS NOW AND FOREVER
15. What rewards do you personally look forward to? (See opening picture.)
15 Anointed Christians have the hope of receiving “the crown of righteousness,” a reward from Jesus. (2 Timothy 4:7, 8) However, you are not less valuable to God if you have a different hope. Millions of Jesus’ “other sheep” eagerly look forward to the future reward of everlasting life on a paradise earth. There “they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”
16. What comfort do we find at 1 John 3:19, 20?
16 Sometimes we may feel that we are not doing much in Jehovah’s service, or we may wonder whether Jehovah is pleased with what we do. We may even feel that we do not qualify to receive any kind of reward. But we should never forget that “God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.” (Read 1 John 3:19, 20.) When we serve Jehovah because of our faith and love for him, we can be sure that he will reward us, even if what we do may seem to us to be of very little value.
17. What are some of the rewards that we enjoy now?
17 Even in these last days of Satan’s wicked system, Jehovah is blessing his people. He makes sure that we receive an abundance of knowledge and peace as part of an international brotherhood. (Isaiah 54:13) Yes, as Jesus promised, Jehovah rewards us now with a loving family of brothers and sisters all over the world. (Mark 10:29, 30) Also, those who earnestly seek God are rewarded with great inner peace, satisfaction, and happiness.
18, 19. How do Jehovah’s servants feel about the rewards they receive?
18 Jehovah’s servants around the world have experienced wonderful rewards from our Father. For example, Bianca from Germany says: “I cannot thank Jehovah enough for helping me with my worries and for being at my side each day. The world out there is chaotic and bleak. But as I work closely with Jehovah, I feel secure in his arms. Whenever I make personal sacrifices for him, he gives me back a hundredfold in blessings.”
19 Or consider 70-year-old Paula in Canada, who is severely limited by spina bifida, a serious condition of the spine. She says that just because her condition limits her ability to move, that does not mean her ministry is limited. She adds: “I take advantage of different forms of service, such as telephone and informal witnessing. For my own encouragement, I keep a notebook with scriptures and thoughts from our publications that I can consult from time to time. I call it ‘My Survival Notebook.’ Discouragement is temporary if we focus on Jehovah’s promises. Jehovah is always there to help us, regardless of our circumstances.” Your situation may be very different from that of Bianca or that of Paula. Yet, you can likely think of ways in which Jehovah has rewarded you and those around you. How good it is to think about how Jehovah is rewarding you at this time and how he will reward you in the future!
20. What can we look forward to if we continue to do our best to serve Jehovah faithfully?
20 Never forget that your sincere prayers “will be richly rewarded.” You can be sure that “after you have done the will of God,” you will “receive the fulfillment of the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35, 36) So let us continue to strengthen our faith and do everything we can to serve Jehovah. We have the confidence that Jehovah will reward us!