THINK about the happiest day of your life. Was it when you got married or when your first child was born? Or was it the day you got baptized? That was likely the most important and joyful day of your life. And on that day, how glad your brothers and sisters were to see you prove that you love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, and strength!
Very likely, you have experienced much joy in serving Jehovah since your baptism. However, a number of publishers have lost some of the joy they once had. Why has this happened? What reasons do we have for continuing to serve Jehovah with joy?
WHY SOME HAVE LOST THEIR JOY
The Kingdom message brings us a lot of joy. Why? Because Jehovah promises that the Kingdom will soon put an end to this wicked world and bring in God’s new world. Zephaniah 1:14 tells us: “The great day of Jehovah is near! It is near and it is approaching very quickly!” But if we feel that we have to wait longer than expected, we could lose the joy we once had. This could cause us to slow down in our service to God.
When we spend time with our brothers and sisters, we feel encouraged to keep on serving Jehovah with joy. The good conduct of Jehovah’s people may have attracted us to true worship and helped us to begin serving God joyfully. (1 Peter 2:12) However, what could happen if one of our brothers or sisters was disciplined because he or she did not obey God’s commands? This may discourage some in the congregation and cause them to lose their joy.
Materialism could also cause us to lose our joy. How so? Satan’s world tries to convince us that we should buy things that we really do not need. So may we remember Jesus’ words: “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” (Matthew 6:24) We cannot serve Jehovah with joy and at the same time try to get all that we can from this world.
JOYFUL IN JEHOVAH’S SERVICE
Serving Jehovah is not a heavy load for those who love him. (1 John 5:3) Remember that Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for yourselves. For my yoke is kindly, and my load is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Being a true Christian is refreshing and brings us joy. We certainly have good reasons for being joyful in Jehovah’s service. Let us now consider three of them.
We serve our Life-Giver, the happy God. (Acts 17:28; 1 Timothy 1:11) We realize that we owe our lives to our Creator. So let us continue to serve him with joy, regardless of how many years have gone by since we got baptized.
Consider Héctor, who served Jehovah as a traveling overseer for 40 years. “Even in old age,” he still enjoys serving Jehovah. (Psalm 92:12-14) His wife’s illness has limited his activity in God’s service, but Héctor has not lost his joy. He says: “Although it is sad to see my wife’s health gradually deteriorate and it has been challenging to care for her, I have not allowed this to rob me of my joy in serving the true God. Knowing that I owe my life to Jehovah, who created man for a purpose, is reason enough to love him deeply and serve him wholeheartedly. I strive to stay active in the preaching work, and I try to keep the Kingdom hope foremost in my mind so as not to lose my joy.”
Jehovah has provided the ransom sacrifice, making it possible for us to have a joyful life. Indeed, “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Yes, our sins can be forgiven and we can have everlasting life when we show faith in God’s loving gift of the ransom. This is truly an excellent reason to be grateful! And our gratitude for the ransom will motivate us to serve Jehovah joyfully.
A brother named Jesús, who lived in Mexico, said: “I was a slave to my job, at times working five consecutive shifts even though it was not obligatory to do so. I did it just to make more money. Then I learned about Jehovah and how he had given his dear Son for mankind. I had an intense desire to serve him. So I dedicated my life to Jehovah, and after having worked for the company for 28 years, I decided to quit and take up the full-time ministry.” That is how Jesús started serving Jehovah with joy.
We live a morally clean life, which brings us happiness. Do you remember what your life was like before you came to know Jehovah? The apostle Paul reminded Christians in Rome that they “were once the slaves of sin” but had become “slaves to righteousness.” Because they were living a clean life, they could look forward to everlasting life. (Romans 6:17-22) We too follow Jehovah’s standards, so we are free from the sadness that comes from an immoral or violent way of life. What a cause for joy!
Consider Jaime, who was an atheist and evolutionist and also a boxer. Jaime began to attend Christian meetings and was touched by the love he found there. To abandon his former lifestyle, Jaime had to ask Jehovah to help him believe in Him. “Little by little, I discovered the existence of a loving Father and merciful God,” Jaime says. “Keeping Jehovah’s righteous standards has been a protection for me. Had I not changed, I might have been killed, as some of my former boxing friends were. The happiest years of my life have been those spent serving Jehovah.”
DO NOT GIVE UP!
How should we feel while we wait for the end of this wicked world? Remember, we are doing God’s will and we are looking forward to everlasting life. “So let us not give up in doing what is fine, for in due time we will reap if we do not tire out.” (Galatians 6:8, 9) With Jehovah’s help, let us endure, work hard to cultivate the qualities we need to survive “the great tribulation,” and continue to serve Jehovah with joy.
We can be confident that Jehovah will reward our endurance because he knows the work we do and the love we show for him and his name. If we keep on serving him with joy, we will be like the psalmist David, who said: “I keep Jehovah before me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I will never be shaken. So my heart rejoices, my whole being is joyful. And I reside in security.”