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Thankless World

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We live in a thankless world. And little wonder when we consider who is the god of this worldвЂ"Satan the Devil, the greatest exponent of self-centeredness, whose pride and rebellious spirit permeate human society!вЂ"John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19.

2 Surrounded as we are by Satan’s world, we need to exercise care not to be corrupted by its attitudes. In the first century, the apostle Paul reminded the Ephesian Christians: “You at one time walked according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience. Yes, among them we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and the thoughts, and we were naturally children of wrath even as the rest.” (Ephesians 2:2, 3) That is also true of many today. How, then, can we maintain a thankful spirit? What help does Jehovah provide? In what practical ways can we demonstrate that we are truly thankful?

Third, Jehovah arranged for the practice of gleaning. “When you people reap the harvest of your land,” God instructed, “you must not reap the edge of your field completely, and the gleaning of your harvest you must not pick up. Also, you must not gather the leftovers of your vineyard, and you must not pick up the scattered grapes of your vineyard. For the afflicted one and the alien resident you should leave them. I am Jehovah your God.” (Leviticus 19:9, 10) Once again, no specific amount was required. It was up to each Israelite to decide how much to leave for the needy. Wise King Solomon aptly explained: “He that is showing favor to the lowly one is lending to Jehovah, and his treatment He will repay to him.” (Proverbs 19:17) Thus Jehovah taught compassion and consideration for disadvantaged ones.

God’s tender compassion is clearly evident in the Law he gave to the nation of Israel. Disadvantaged ones, such as widows, orphans, and the poor, were to be treated compassionately. (Exodus 22:22-27; Leviticus 19:9, 10; Deuteronomy 15:7-11)

13 In addition, we can profit from considering the other two provisions by which the Israelites could show their appreciationвЂ"voluntary contributions and gleaning. In contrast to tithing, which was a requirement with a clearly defined commitment, voluntary contributions and the gleaning arrangement did not require a fixed amount. Rather, they allowed for the depth of appreciation a servant of Jehovah had in his heart to prompt him to act. In a comparable way, although we appreciate that participation in the ministry and attendance at Christian meetings are a fundamental responsibility of every servant of Jehovah, do we share in them wholeheartedly and with a willing spirit? Do we view them as an opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation for all that Jehovah has done for us? Do we share liberally in these activities, to the extent our individual circumstances permit? Or do we view all of this only as an obligation that we must discharge? These, of course, are questions that we must answer personally. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Let each one prove what his own work is, and then he will have cause for exultation in regard to himself alone, and not in comparison with the other person.”вЂ"Galatians 6:4.

14 Jehovah God well knows our circumstances. He is aware of our limitations. He values the sacrifices, great or small, that his servants offer willingly. He does not expect that we will all give the same amount, nor can we do so. When discussing material giving, the apostle Paul told the Corinthian Christians: “If the readiness is there first, it is especially acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what a person does not have.” (2 Corinthians 8:12) This principle applies equally well to our service to God. What makes our service acceptable to Jehovah is determined, not by the amount that we do, but by the way we do itвЂ"joyfully and wholeheartedly.вЂ"Psalm 100:1-5; Colossians 3:23.

Demonstrating Thankfulness With Our “Valuable Things”

17 “Honor Jehovah with your valuable things,” notes Proverbs 3:9, “and with the firstfruits of all your produce.” Servants of Jehovah no longer need to tithe.

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