“Jehovah is good to all, and his mercies are over all his works.”
1, 2. What will we be able to do forever?
A SISTER named Monika who has been married for almost 35 years says: “My husband and I know each other very well. Yet, even after all these years, we’re still learning things about each other that we never knew!” Many of us could say the same about our husband, our wife, or our friends.
2 We enjoy learning more about those we love. But it gives us even more joy to learn about Jehovah, the best Friend we could ever have. It is impossible to know all there is to know about him. (Romans 11:33) We will be able to keep learning about Jehovah’s qualities forever and to value them more and more.
3. What will we learn about in this article?
3 The last article helped us to appreciate two of Jehovah’s qualities even more. We learned that he is both approachable and impartial. In this article, we will learn how generous and reasonable Jehovah is. This will help us to understand more clearly that “Jehovah is good to all, and his mercies are over all his works.”
JEHOVAH IS GENEROUS
4. What does it mean to be generous?
4 What does it mean to be generous? Jesus’ words recorded at Acts 20:35 help us to find the answer: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” So a generous person is someone who gladly gives of his time, of his energy, and of the things he has to help others. A person is generous, not because he gives big expensive gifts, but because when he gives something, he gives it from the heart. (Read 2 Corinthians 9:7.) No one is more generous than Jehovah, our “happy God.”
5. How does Jehovah show that he is generous?
5 How does Jehovah show that he is generous? The Bible says: “Jehovah is good to all.” He gives all humans what they need, even those who do not yet worship him. He “makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) That is why Paul could tell some who were not Christians that Jehovah “did good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.” (Acts 14:17) Clearly, Jehovah is generous toward everyone.
6, 7. (a) Whom is Jehovah especially happy to help? (b) What example shows that God cares for the needs of his servants?
6 It makes Jehovah especially happy to give his servants what they need. King David said: “A young man I used to be, I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for bread.” (Psalm 37:25) Many faithful Christians have seen in their own life how Jehovah cares for them.
7 For example, some years ago a pioneer named Nancy was in a difficult situation. She needed $66 to be able to pay her rent the next day. But she did not have the money. She says: “I prayed about the problem, and then I went to my job as a waitress. I didn’t expect to receive many tips that evening because it was a time of the week that was typically not very busy. To my surprise, several customers came to the restaurant that night. When I finished my shift and added up the tips I had received, the total was $66.” Nancy is sure that it was Jehovah who helped her to get exactly what she needed.
The ransom sacrifice is the greatest proof that Jehovah is generous
8. What is Jehovah’s most generous gift?
8 Jehovah’s most generous gift is available to everyone. What is it? The ransom sacrifice of his Son. Jesus said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Here, “the world” means all humans. So Jehovah gives his most generous gift to all who choose to accept it. Any who show faith in Jesus will have everlasting life! (John 10:10) This is the greatest proof that Jehovah is generous.
BE GENEROUS LIKE JEHOVAH
9. How can we be generous like Jehovah?
9 How can we be generous like Jehovah? Just as Jehovah gives us many things to make us happy, we too should want to give others things to make them happy. (1 Timothy 6:17-19) We are glad to give gifts to our friends and family and to help those in need. (Read Deuteronomy 15:7.) What can help us to remember to be generous? Some have decided that whenever they receive a gift, they will look for an opportunity to give someone else a gift. Many of Jehovah’s people today are good examples of being generous.
10. What is one of the best ways we can be generous?
10 One of the best ways we can be generous is by using our time and energy to help and encourage others. (Galatians 6:10) Are you being generous in this way? You might ask yourself: ‘Do I show that I am willing to listen to others? If someone asks me to help him to do something or to go get something for him, am I willing to help? When was the last time that I commended a family member or someone in the congregation?’ When we “practice giving,” we feel closer to Jehovah and to our friends.
Generously use your time and energy to help others
11. What are some ways that we can be generous toward Jehovah?
11 We can also be generous toward Jehovah. The Bible encourages us to honor Jehovah with our “valuable things.” (Proverbs 3:9) Those “valuable things” include the time, energy, and money that we can use in his service. Even young children can learn to be generous toward Jehovah. A father named Jason says: “When our family makes a donation at the Kingdom Hall, we let our children put the money in the contribution box. They enjoy it because, as they put it, they’re ‘giving something to Jehovah.’” If children realize at a young age that giving to Jehovah makes them happy, they will continue to be generous toward him when they grow up.
JEHOVAH IS REASONABLE
12. What does it mean to be reasonable?
12 Another one of Jehovah’s wonderful qualities is that he is reasonable. What does it mean to be reasonable? (Titus 3:1, 2) A reasonable person is willing to yield. He does not always have to follow a rule. He is not strict or harsh. He treats people in a kind way and really tries to understand their circumstances. He is willing to listen to others and, when it is appropriate, to allow them to have or to do what they want.
Jehovah is reasonable and accepts our worship if we give him our best
13, 14. (a) How does Jehovah show that he is reasonable? (b) What do you learn about being reasonable from the way God treated Lot?
13 How does Jehovah show that he is reasonable? He thinks about his servants’ feelings, and he often allows them to do something the way they prefer to do it. For example, think about how Jehovah treated the righteous man Lot. When Jehovah decided to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he clearly told Lot to flee to the mountains. But for some reason, Lot begged Jehovah to allow him to go somewhere else. Imagine that! Lot was asking Jehovah to change His instructions.
14 When you read that story, you might think that Lot’s faith was weak or that he was being disobedient. Of course, Jehovah could have kept him alive anywhere. So Lot had no reason to fear. Still, Lot was afraid. Jehovah respected the way Lot felt and allowed him to flee to another city, even though Jehovah had wanted to destroy that city too. (Read Genesis 19:21, 22.) It is clear that Jehovah is neither strict nor harsh. He is always reasonable.
15, 16. How did the Law that Jehovah gave to Israel show that he is reasonable? (See opening picture.)
15 The Law that Jehovah gave to Israel also shows how reasonable he is. For example, if an Israelite was too poor to bring a lamb or a goat as a sacrifice, he could offer two turtledoves or two pigeons. But what if an Israelite was so poor that he could not even afford two pigeons? Jehovah allowed him to offer some flour instead. But Jehovah did not want just any flour. The Law said that it had to be “fine flour,” the kind that the Israelites used for important guests. (Genesis 18:6) How does this example show that Jehovah is reasonable?
16 Well, imagine that you are an Israelite and that you are very poor. As you bring your sacrifice of flour to the tabernacle, you see other Israelites who have more money than you bringing animals to offer. You might feel embarrassed about your small sacrifice. But then you remember that to Jehovah, your sacrifice is very valuable. Why? Well, Jehovah’s Law required that you bring “fine flour,” flour of very good quality. It is as if Jehovah said to you: ‘I realize that you cannot offer as much as others can, but I also know that you are giving me your best.’ This example certainly shows that Jehovah is reasonable. He does not ask more of his servants than what they can give.
17. What kind of worship does Jehovah accept?
17 It comforts us to know that Jehovah is reasonable and that he accepts our worship when we give him our best. (Colossians 3:23) An older Italian sister named Constance said: “Speaking to others about my Creator is what I have always loved to do the most. That is why I continue to preach and to conduct Bible studies. Sometimes I regret that I cannot do more because of my health. But I realize that Jehovah knows my limitations and that he loves me and appreciates what I am able to do.”
BE REASONABLE LIKE JEHOVAH
18. What is one way that parents can imitate Jehovah’s example?
18 How can we be reasonable like Jehovah? Think again about how Jehovah treated Lot. Jehovah certainly had the authority to tell Lot where he should go. But Jehovah was kind; he listened as Lot explained his feelings, and he allowed Lot to go where he wanted. If you have children, can you imitate Jehovah’s example? Perhaps you could listen to what your children want and then, when it is appropriate, adjust the way you want things to be done. How can you do this? The Watchtower of September 1, 2007, says that when some parents are going to make rules for the family, they listen to what their children have to say. For example, parents may want to make a rule about what time the children should be home in the evening. Parents certainly have the authority to do this, but they might talk to their children about it before deciding on the exact time. In some situations, parents may decide that as long as it would not go against something the Bible says, there is nothing wrong with adjusting the time the children should be home. When parents talk to their children before making rules, the children will better understand the rules and be more willing to obey them.
When parents talk to their children before making rules, the children will be more willing to obey
19. How can elders try to be reasonable like Jehovah?
19 Congregation elders should try to be reasonable like Jehovah. They can do this by not expecting too much from their brothers and sisters. Remember that Jehovah valued even the sacrifices of poorer Israelites. In a similar way, some brothers and sisters can spend only a little time in the ministry, perhaps because they have health problems or because they are getting old. What if they feel discouraged because they cannot do as much as they would like? The elders can help them to realize that Jehovah loves them for doing their best in his service.
20. What does it mean to be reasonable in God’s service?
20 Of course, being reasonable does not mean doing less in God’s service just to “be kind to” ourselves. (Matthew 16:22) We do not want to do just a little when we could do more. Instead, all of us need to remember Jesus’ words: “Exert yourselves vigorously.” (Luke 13:24) So we must be balanced. We do our best in God’s service and, at the same time, remember that Jehovah never asks more of us than we can give. When we give him our best, we can be sure that he is pleased. It is wonderful to serve such a reasonable God! In the next article, we will talk about two more of Jehovah’s beautiful qualities.