“We received . . . the spirit that is from God, so that we might know the things that have been kindly given us by God.”
1. How do many people feel about what they have?
HAVE you ever heard people say, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”? Maybe you have felt this way too. For example, a person who grows up in a rich family may take everything for granted. Or because he lacks experience, a young person may not understand what is really important in life.
2, 3. (a) What way of thinking do young Christians need to avoid? (b) What can help us to appreciate what we have?
2 If you are young, what is important to you? Young people in the world today often make material things more important than relationships. They may want a good job, a nice home, or the latest electronic gadgets. If their life revolves around these things, they are missing the most important thing, which is their relationship with God. If you have been raised by Christian parents, you have received a wonderful spiritual gift. (Matthew 5:3) A lack of appreciation for your spiritual inheritance could have a bad effect on you for the rest of your life.
3 That does not have to happen to you. We will examine some Bible examples that will help you to appreciate your spiritual inheritance. These examples will help not only young people but all of us to value what Jehovah has given us.
SOME WHO LACKED APPRECIATION
4. How does 1 Samuel 8:1-5 describe Samuel’s sons?
4 Some people mentioned in the Bible received a wonderful spiritual inheritance but did not appreciate it. The prophet Samuel started serving Jehovah when he was very young and was always loyal to Him. (1 Samuel 12:1-5) Samuel set a good example, but his sons, Joel and Abijah, did not imitate him. Instead, they became corrupt and bad.
5, 6. What happened with Josiah’s sons and grandson?
5 It was similar with the sons of King Josiah. Josiah was a faithful king who loved and worshipped Jehovah. When the book of God’s Law was found and read to Josiah, he applied Jehovah’s instructions. He removed idolatry and spiritism from the land, and he urged the people to obey Jehovah. (2 Kings 22:8; 23:2, 3, 12-15, 24, 25) His sons received a wonderful spiritual inheritance! But when three of his sons and one grandson later became kings, not one of them appreciated what he had received.
6 When Josiah’s son Jehoahaz became king, he did “what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes.” He was king for only three months when an Egyptian Pharaoh put him in prison. He later died far from home, as a captive. (2 Kings 23:31-34) Next, his brother Jehoiakim was king for 11 years. He too did not appreciate what he had received from his father. He was so bad that Jeremiah said about him: “With the burial of a donkey he will be buried.” (Jeremiah 22:17-19) Josiah’s son Zedekiah and grandson Jehoiachin were just as bad and did not follow the faithful example of Josiah.
7, 8. (a) How did Solomon waste his spiritual inheritance? (b) What can we learn from Bible examples of those who wasted their spiritual inheritance?
7 King Solomon learned from his father, David, how to serve Jehovah, but he later lost appreciation for his spiritual inheritance. “In Solomon’s old age, his wives inclined his heart to follow other gods, and his heart was not complete with Jehovah his God like the heart of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:4) Because of this, Solomon lost Jehovah’s favor.
8 All these men had the opportunity to know Jehovah and do what was right. Sadly, they wasted their opportunity. But not all young ones wasted their spiritual inheritance. We will now see some good examples of young ones whom you can imitate.
SOME WHO APPRECIATED WHAT THEY HAD RECEIVED
9. How did Noah’s sons set an excellent example? (See opening picture.)
9 Noah’s sons set an excellent example. They had the privilege to help Noah build the ark to save people. They knew that they needed to obey Jehovah, and they went into the ark before the Flood began. (Genesis 7:1, 7) What was the result? Genesis 7:3 says that they took animals into the ark “to preserve their offspring alive over all the earth.” Humans were saved too. Because Noah’s sons appreciated their spiritual inheritance, they had the privilege to help save the human race and to set up true worship again on the earth.
The four young Hebrews never forgot who they were and what they had learned
10. How did four young Hebrew men in Babylon show appreciation for their spiritual inheritance?
10 Hundreds of years later, four young Hebrew men refused to follow the Babylonian way of life. Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Daniel had been captured and taken to Babylon in 617 before Christ. They were handsome and smart and could have been very successful in Babylon. But they never forgot who they were and what they had learned, and for this Jehovah blessed them very much.
11. How did others benefit from Jesus’ spiritual inheritance?
11 Jesus was the greatest example of one who appreciated his spiritual inheritance. Jesus really loved what his Father taught him. This was clear when he said: “Just as the Father taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28) He enjoyed sharing what he learned with others so that they could also benefit. He said: “I must also declare the good news of the Kingdom of God to other cities, because for this I was sent.” (Luke 4:18, 43) The world does not value the truth from God, and that is why Jesus warned his disciples not to be “part of the world.”
APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED
12. (a) How does 2 Timothy 3:14-17 apply to many young people today? (b) What should young Christians ask themselves?
12 If you have parents who love Jehovah, you have received a spiritual inheritance. What the Bible says about Timothy may also apply to you. (Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17.) Your parents have taught you about Jehovah and how to please him. Maybe they have taught you from the time you were a baby. This has helped you to become “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” and to be “completely equipped” to serve God. But do you really appreciate what you have? Ask yourself: ‘How do I feel about the many faithful witnesses who lived before me? Am I proud to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses? How do I feel to be one of the few people whom God knows? Do I realize what a unique and wonderful privilege I have?’
13, 14. What can some who are raised in the truth be tempted to do, but why would that be foolish? Give an example.
13 Some young people who are brought up by Christian parents may not realize how beautiful the truth is and how ugly Satan’s world is. Some have even been tempted to see what life in the world is like. But would you run in front of a moving car just to see if you would get hurt or even die? That would be foolish! So we do not need to try the bad things of this world to discover how much pain they can cause us.
We do not need to try the bad things of this world to discover how much pain they can cause us
14 A young man named Gener was raised in the truth in Asia. He was baptized when he was 12. But when he was a teenager, he was tempted to try out life in the world, hoping to find freedom. Gener began to lie to his family and keep secrets from them. By the time he was 15, he was doing some of the bad things his friends were doing, such as drinking and cursing. Gener would come home late after playing billiards and violent computer games with them. Eventually he realized that the things he was doing did not make him happy, and he felt empty. He is now back in the truth. He says that from time to time, he is still tempted by the world but that having Jehovah’s blessing is more important to him.
15. What should we all think about, whether we were raised by Christian parents or not?
15 Even if your parents are not in the truth, think about the wonderful privilege you have to know and serve the Creator! Of all the billions of people on the earth, Jehovah kindly revealed himself to you. What a blessing! (John 6:44, 45) Whether we learned the truth from our parents or not, we can be very happy that we know it. (Read 1 Corinthians 2:12.) Gener says: “Who am I to be known by Jehovah, the Owner of the universe?” (Psalm 8:4) A Christian sister says: “Students feel very proud just to be recognized by their teacher. How much more of a privilege it is to be known by Jehovah, the Grand Instructor!”
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
16. What is the wise choice for young Christians?
16 Think about your wonderful spiritual inheritance, and make it your goal to serve Jehovah. Follow the good example of faithful ones of the past. Do not be like most young people in the world who are wasting their lives and who do not have a future.
17-19. Why is it smart to be different from the world?
17 Of course, it is not always easy to be different from the world. But it is the smart thing to do. Think about an athlete who qualifies for the Olympics. To reach that level, he has to be different from his peers. He avoids many things that would take his time and attention. He is willing to be different so that he can train more and reach his goal.
Think about your wonderful spiritual inheritance, and make it your goal to serve Jehovah
18 Most people in the world do not think much about the bad results their actions could lead to, but Jehovah’s servants do. If we are different from the world and we avoid things such as immorality that could ruin our relationship with Jehovah, we will “get a firm hold on the real life.” (1 Timothy 6:19) The sister mentioned earlier says: “If you stand up for what you believe, you’ll really feel great at the end of the day. It will prove that you’ve got the strength to go against the flow of Satan’s world. Most of all, it’s as if you can see Jehovah God being proud of you and smiling at you! That’s when you feel good about being different!”
19 Do not waste your life by thinking only about what you can get now. (Ecclesiastes 9:2, 10) You understand why you are here and that you have the opportunity to live forever. This helps you to make good decisions and avoid “walking just as the nations” do. Your life has real meaning.
20, 21. If we make the right decisions, what can be our future? But what does Jehovah require of us?
20 If we make the right decisions, we can have a happy life now and even live forever in God’s new world. Jehovah will bless us more than we can ever imagine. (Matthew 5:5; 19:29; 25:34) However, he does not give these blessings to everyone. He requires our obedience. (Read 1 John 5:3, 4.) But our efforts to serve Jehovah faithfully now are worth it!
21 Jehovah has already given us so much. We have accurate knowledge of his Word and a clear understanding of the truth about him and his purposes. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have the privilege of being called by his name. God promises us that he is on our side helping us. (Psalm 118:7) Let us all, whether we are young or old, show that we appreciate our spiritual inheritance and that we desire to give Jehovah “the glory forever.”