“Where your treasure is, there your hearts will be also.”
1, 2. (a) What are three precious treasures from Jehovah? (b) What will we consider in this article?
JEHOVAH is the richest Person in the universe. Everything belongs to him. (1 Chronicles 29:11, 12) But Jehovah is very generous to all. How grateful we are that he has shared many spiritual treasures with us! What are some of those treasures? They include (1) God’s Kingdom, (2) our ministry, and (3) the precious truths found in his Word. But if we are not careful, in time we could forget how valuable these treasures are. We need to keep reminding ourselves of their value and deepen our love for them because, as Jesus said, “where your treasure is, there your hearts will be also.”
2 Let us consider how we can keep our love and gratitude for the Kingdom, the ministry, and the truth strong. As we do so, meditate on how you personally can deepen your love for these spiritual treasures.
GOD’S KINGDOM IS LIKE A PRECIOUS PEARL
3. What was the man in Jesus’ story willing to do in order to buy one pearl? (See opening picture.)
3 Read Matthew 13:45, 46. Jesus told a story about a man who was buying and selling pearls. One day, he found a pearl that was more valuable than all the other pearls he had seen before. The man wanted the pearl so much that he sold everything he had to buy it. Can you imagine how precious that pearl was to him?
If we love the Kingdom as much as the man valued the pearl, we will be willing to give up everything for it
4. What are we willing to do for the Kingdom?
4 What can we learn from Jesus’ story? The truth of God’s Kingdom is like that precious pearl. If we love the Kingdom as much as the man valued the pearl, we will be willing to give up everything in order to become and to remain subjects of the Kingdom. (Read Mark 10:28-30.) Let us see how two people did that.
5. What was Zacchaeus willing to do for the Kingdom?
5 Zacchaeus was a tax collector. He had become rich by extorting money from people. (Luke 19:1-9) But one day, Zacchaeus heard Jesus talk about the Kingdom. He liked what he heard so much that he wanted to change completely. He said: “Look! The half of my belongings, Lord, I am giving to the poor, and whatever I extorted from anyone, I am restoring four times over.” Zacchaeus returned the money he had taken from people and stopped being greedy.
6. What changes did one woman make, and why did she do so?
6 When one woman heard about the Kingdom some years ago, she was involved in a lesbian relationship. She was also the president of an organization that fought for the rights of homosexuals. But as she studied the Bible and learned about the value of God’s Kingdom, she realized that she needed to make major changes in her life. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) Because of her love for Jehovah, she left that organization and ended her lesbian relationship. She got baptized in 2009, and the next year, she became a regular pioneer. She made these big changes because her love for Jehovah was stronger than any improper desires she had.
7. How can we keep our love for God’s Kingdom strong?
7 In order to become subjects of God’s Kingdom, many of us had to change our lives completely. (Romans 12:2) But our fight is not over. We must not let our love for the Kingdom be weakened by anything, such as a love for material things or any immoral sexual desires. (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 5:27-29) To help us keep our love for God’s Kingdom strong, Jehovah has given us another valuable treasure.
OUR MINISTRY SAVES LIVES
8. (a) Why did the apostle Paul describe our ministry as a “treasure in earthen vessels”? (b) How did Paul show that he loved the ministry?
8 Jesus gave us the assignment to preach and teach the good news about God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 28:19, 20) The apostle Paul described the ministry as a treasure carried in earthen vessels, or clay jars. (2 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Timothy 1:12) Because we are imperfect, we are like those clay jars. But the message we preach is like a precious treasure because it can result in everlasting life for us and for those who listen to us. That is why Paul said: “I do all things for the sake of the good news, in order to share it with others.” (1 Corinthians 9:23) Paul worked hard to teach others about God’s Kingdom. (Read Romans 1:14, 15; 2 Timothy 4:2.) Love for the good news helped him to keep preaching despite facing cruel persecution. (1 Thessalonians 2:2) How can we imitate Paul’s love for the ministry?
The message we preach is like a precious treasure because it can result in everlasting life for us and for those who listen to us
9. What are some ways we can show that we love the ministry?
9 One way Paul showed that he loved the ministry was by using every opportunity to speak to others. Like Paul and the early Christians, we too share the good news with people from house to house, in public places, and wherever else we may find them. (Acts 5:42; 20:20) We look for ways to preach to as many people as possible. If we are able, perhaps we can serve as an auxiliary pioneer or a regular pioneer. Or we may learn another language, move to another area in our own country, or even move to another country.
10. What benefits did Irene experience because she worked hard to share the good news?
10 Irene, an unmarried sister in the United States, wanted to share the good news with people who spoke Russian. So in 1993, she joined a Russian group in New York City. At that time, there were only about 20 publishers in that group. After 20 years, Irene said, “I still do not speak Russian perfectly.” Yet, Jehovah has helped her and other publishers to preach to people in that language. As a result, today there are six Russian congregations in New York City. Irene studied the Bible with many people, and 15 of them got baptized. Some of them serve as Bethelites, pioneers, and elders. Irene says, “When I think of other goals I could have pursued, I can’t imagine one that would have brought me more joy.” Irene really treasures her ministry!
11. What are the results when we continue preaching despite persecution?
11 If we treasure our ministry, we will be like the apostle Paul and continue preaching even when we are persecuted. (Acts 14:19-22) For example, between the years 1930 and 1944, our brothers in the United States were severely persecuted. But they still continued to preach. When the authorities tried to stop them, our brothers went to court and won many cases. In 1943, Brother Knorr mentioned one of the victories we won in the U.S. Supreme Court. He said that there would not have been any cases to bring to that Court if the brothers had not continued preaching. He added that because the brothers all over the world kept preaching, they proved that persecution is not successful. Brothers in other countries have also won similar legal cases. Yes, our love for the ministry will not allow persecution to stop us from preaching.
12. What are you determined to do?
12 When we treasure our ministry, we will not be concerned only about how many hours we write on our report. We will do everything we can to give a “thorough witness to the good news.” (Acts 20:24; 2 Timothy 4:5) But what will we teach to others? Consider another treasure from God.
THE PRECIOUS TRUTHS WE LEARN
13, 14. What is the “treasure store” that Jesus referred to at Matthew 13:52, and how do we fill it?
13 A third treasure that Jehovah has given to us is all the truths that we have learned. Jehovah is the Source of truth. (2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 31:5) And as a generous Father, he wants to share these truths with us. So far, we have learned many of these by reading his Word and our publications and by attending our conventions, assemblies, and weekly meetings. As we collect more and more truths, we will have what Jesus called a “treasure store” of truths “both new and old.” (Read Matthew 13:52.) Jehovah will help us to fill our “treasure store” if we search for truths the same way that we would search for hidden treasures. (Read Proverbs 2:4-7.) How do we do that?
14 We need to study the Bible and our publications regularly and do careful research. This will help us to discover “new” truths, ones we did not know before. (Joshua 1:8, 9; Psalm 1:2, 3) The first issue of the Watch Tower, published in July 1879, compared the truth to a flower hidden among many weeds. In order to find a flower like that, a person must search for it carefully. And when he finds it, he should not be content to have only one. He should continue his search to find more and more flowers. In a similar way, we should not be content when we find only one truth. We should be eager to continue searching for many more truths.
15. Why may we call some truths “old,” and which do you especially value?
15 When we started studying the Bible, we learned some wonderful truths. We may call them “old” truths because we learned them first. What are some of these truths? In the beginning, we learned that Jehovah is our Creator and that he has a purpose for humans. We also learned that God sent his Son to earth to die as a ransom sacrifice so that we could be free from sin and death. And we learned that God’s Kingdom will end all suffering and that we can live forever on earth in peace and happiness.
16. What do we need to do when there are adjustments in our understanding of Bible truths?
16 At times, our understanding of a Bible prophecy or a scripture may be adjusted. When that happens, it is important to take the time to study the adjustment and meditate on it. (Acts 17:11; 1 Timothy 4:15) We not only need to understand the main differences between the old understanding and the new one, but we also need to pay attention to the details of the new understanding. Such a careful study will guarantee that the new truth becomes part of our collection of Bible truths. Why is it good for us to make such efforts?
17, 18. How can holy spirit help us?
17 Jesus taught that God’s spirit can help us to remember things that we learned in the past. (John 14:25, 26) How can this help us when we preach the good news? Consider the experience of a brother named Peter. In 1970, he was 19 years old and had recently begun serving at Bethel in Britain. Peter was preaching from house to house and met a bearded middle-aged man. He asked the man if he would like to understand the Bible. The man was a Jewish rabbi, and he was shocked that a young man thought he could teach him the Bible. To test Peter, the rabbi asked, “So, my boy, what language was the book of Daniel written in?” Peter said, “Part of it was written in Aramaic.” “The rabbi,” Peter remembers, “was surprised that I knew the answer
18 If we love the truths we learn from Jehovah and we are grateful for them, we will want to keep adding them to our treasure store. The more we do this, the more prepared we will feel to teach others.
PROTECT YOUR TREASURES
19. Why must we protect our spiritual treasures?
19 In this article, we have learned how important it is for us to value spiritual treasures. But we must be very careful that we do not allow Satan and this world to weaken our love for these treasures. If we are not careful, we could become distracted by things such as the promise of a job that pays a lot of money, the dream of living in luxury, or the desire to show off our material things. The apostle John reminds us that this world and all that it offers will soon be gone. (1 John 2:15-17) That is why we must remain grateful for our spiritual treasures and protect them.
20. What are you determined to do to protect your spiritual treasures?
20 Be willing to give up anything that could weaken your love for God’s Kingdom. Be determined to preach with zeal, and never lose your love for the ministry. Keep searching for Bible truths. As you do this, you will build up “treasure in the heavens, where no thief gets near and no moth consumes. For where your treasure is, there your hearts will be also.”