FOR some 1,500 years, Jehovah God dealt with the nation of Israel as his name people. Then Jehovah “turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14) People for Jehovah’s name would be his witnesses, united in thought and action regardless of where they lived on earth. Uniting a people for God’s name would be the result of the commission that Jesus gave to his followers: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—Matt. 28:19, 20.
You are part of a united, worldwide brotherhood of Christians, who do not allow national, tribal, or economic differences to divide them
2 By dedicating yourself to Jehovah and getting baptized, you have become a disciple of Jesus Christ. You are part of a united, worldwide brotherhood of Christians, who do not allow national, tribal, or economic differences to divide them. (Ps. 133:1) As a result, you love and respect your Christian companions in the congregation. Some of them may be of a different race or nationality or educational background and may formerly have been socially unacceptable to you because of these differences. You share a bond of brotherly love that is far stronger than any other relationship, be it social, religious, or family.—Mark 10:29, 30; Col. 3:14; 1 Pet. 1:22.
ADJUSTMENTS IN THINKING
3 If some have difficulty overcoming racial, political, social, or other ingrained prejudices, they might think of the early Jewish Christians, who had to break free from Jewish religious prejudices against people of all other nations. When Peter was instructed to go to the home of the Roman centurion Cornelius, Jehovah kindly prepared Peter for the assignment.—Acts, chap. 10.
4 In a vision, Peter was told to kill and eat certain animals that were ceremonially unclean for Jews. When Peter objected, a voice from heaven told him: “Stop calling defiled the things God has cleansed.” (Acts 10:15) It took this divine intervention for Peter to condition his mind for the assignment he was about to receive, namely, to visit a man of the nations. When obeying Jehovah’s direction, Peter declared to those gathered: “You well know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or approach a man of another race, and yet God has shown me that I should call no man defiled or unclean. So I came, really without objection, when I was sent for.” (Acts 10:28, 29) Thereafter, Peter witnessed the evidence of Jehovah’s approval of Cornelius and his household.
5 Saul of Tarsus, a highly educated Pharisee, had to humble himself and associate with those who had formerly been socially unacceptable to him. He even had to take direction from them. (Acts 4:13; Gal. 1:13-20; Phil. 3:4-11) We can only imagine the adjustments that must have taken place in the thinking of such people as Sergius Paulus, Dionysius, Damaris, Philemon, Onesimus, and others as they accepted the good news and became disciples of Jesus Christ.—Acts 13:6-12; 17:22, 33, 34; Philem. 8-20.
MAINTAINING OUR INTERNATIONAL UNITY
6 No doubt the love of the brothers and sisters in the congregation helped draw you to Jehovah and his organization. You observed the unmistakable mark of love that characterizes true disciples of Jesus Christ, as he expressed it: “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:34, 35) And you came to appreciate Jehovah and his organization even more when you realized that the love in the congregation is only a reflection of the love that exists in the worldwide brotherhood. You are experiencing the fulfillment of Bible prophecy about the gathering of people in the last days to worship Jehovah in peace and unity.—Mic. 4:1-5.
7 In view of the many divisive factors that exist today, who would ever have thought it possible to unite people “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues”? (Rev. 7:9) Consider the differences between the people of a high-tech society and those who hold to ancient tribal customs. Look at the religious rivalries between people of the same race and nationality. With nationalism coming to the fore, people have become more divided politically than ever. And if you consider economic differences as well as countless other divisive factors, the uniting of people out of all nations, languages, groups, and classes in an unbreakable bond of love and peace is a miracle that only Almighty God can bring about.—Zech. 4:6.
8 But such unity is a reality, and when you became a dedicated, baptized Witness of Jehovah, you became part of it. Benefiting from that unity, you have the responsibility to help maintain it. This is done by heeding the apostle Paul’s words found at Galatians 6:10: “As long as we have the opportunity, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.” We also follow this counsel: “Do nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with humility consider others superior to you, as you look out not only for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3, 4) As long as we train ourselves to see our brothers and sisters as Jehovah sees them and not according to what they are in the flesh, we will continue to enjoy peaceful and happy relationships with them.—Eph. 4:23, 24.
CONCERN FOR ONE ANOTHER
9 As the apostle Paul illustrated for us, the congregation is not divided but its members have mutual concern for one another. (1 Cor. 12:14-26) What affects some members of the organization affects all of God’s people. We may be separated by great distances from some of those in our worldwide brotherhood, but we are not less concerned about their welfare. If some of our brothers are being persecuted, the rest of us are greatly distressed. If some are in need or have become victims of disaster or war or civil strife, the rest are eager to find ways to render spiritual as well as material assistance.—2 Cor. 1:8-11.
10 All of us should pray for our brothers every day. Some are facing temptation to do what is bad. Others experience suffering that may be publicly known. Still others face opposition from workmates and from within divided households that is relatively unknown. (Matt. 10:35, 36; 1 Thess. 2:14) This is of concern to us because we are a worldwide brotherhood. (1 Pet. 5:9) Among us are those who are working hard in Jehovah’s service, taking the lead in the preaching work and in the congregations. Also, there are those who are charged with the oversight of the worldwide work. All need our prayers, by which we demonstrate our love and genuine interest, even when there may not be anything else that we can personally do to be of assistance.—Eph. 1:16; 1 Thess. 1:2, 3; 5:25.
11 With all the turmoil on earth during these last days, Jehovah’s people must be prepared to come to the aid of one another. At times disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, call for conducting extensive relief efforts and arranging for large amounts of material assistance. First-century Christians set a fine example in this regard. Remembering Jesus’ counsel, the disciples in Antioch gladly sent material gifts to the brothers in Judea. (Acts 11:27-30; 20:35) The apostle Paul later encouraged the Corinthians to support relief efforts that were carried out in an orderly manner. (2 Cor. 9:1-15) In modern times, when our brothers become victims of circumstances and need material relief, the organization and individual Christians are quick to respond and supply what is needed.
SET APART TO DO JEHOVAH’S WILL
12 Our united, worldwide brotherhood is organized to do Jehovah’s will. At this time, his will is that the good news of the Kingdom be preached in all the earth for a witness to all the nations. (Matt. 24:14) While we are doing this work, it is Jehovah’s will that we conduct ourselves in accord with his high moral standards. (1 Pet. 1:14-16) We should be willing to subject ourselves to one another and to work for the advancement of the good news. (Eph. 5:21) As never before, this is a time, not to seek our own personal interests, but to put God’s Kingdom first in our life. (Matt. 6:33) Keeping this in mind as we work together for the sake of the good news brings joyful satisfaction now and will lead to everlasting blessings.
13 As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are unique, set apart from the rest of mankind as a clean people, zealous in service to our God. (Titus 2:14) Our worship of Jehovah makes us different. Not only do we work shoulder to shoulder with our brothers around the earth but we speak the one language of truth and act in harmony with the truth we speak. This was foretold when Jehovah declared through his prophet Zephaniah: “I will change the language of the peoples to a pure language, so that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.”—Zeph. 3:9.
14 Then Jehovah inspired Zephaniah to describe the worldwide brotherhood that has become a reality today: “Those remaining of Israel will practice no unrighteousness; they will not speak a lie, nor will a deceitful tongue be found in their mouths; they will feed and lie down, and no one will make them afraid.” (Zeph. 3:13) Having gained an understanding of Jehovah’s Word of truth and made over our mind and conformed our way of life to Jehovah’s standards, we are able to work in unity. We accomplish what appears to be impossible in the eyes of those who view matters from a human standpoint. Yes, we are indeed a distinct people, God’s people, bringing honor to him in all the earth.—Mic. 2:12.