Dispelling the Spirit of Complaint
1. Are Jehovah’s witnesses trying to find fault with the people? And what shows whether?
THOSE who have dedicated themselves to serve God must look to the interests of God’s kingdom and the vindication of his name. They should never get puffed up or high-minded because of having the truth or because of knowing the way to life. Just because they have this knowledge does not make them better than anyone else. But they have sense enough to take in this knowledge of truth, to get the understanding that is available to them, and to work in Jehovah’s interests. They are grateful to Jehovah. Jehovah’s witnesses are not trying to find fault with the people who ask for them to visit them in their homes. Rather they are happy for the opportunity and ask the people of good will if it will be all right to come and study with them. They are anxious to share with the people what they have received. Having the truth, they want to give it to all who have an ear to hear, whether it be in the morning, afternoon, evening—any time convenient to the hearer. Jehovah says his people will sing his praises day and night in his temple, and this means that Jehovah’s witnesses must be carrying on true worship day and night, serving him by preaching the good news.
2. What was the source of the troubles of the Israelites in the wilderness, and how can we show faith and gain happiness today?
2 When we look back over the unhappy experiences of the Israelites in the wilderness, we find that the troubles were due to complainers and faultfinders. But what happiness could have been theirs if they had followed the arrangements of God! Faith was all they needed; it was such a simple matter. And the same is true today. If we fall in line with the arrangements that God is making for us, we show our faith. We can give the truth to others through our house-to-house witnessing, and by so doing we can gain happiness. There is no reason why we should not be happy in our living.
3. How can difficulties be adjusted in a missionary home?
3 Let us look at things in a practical way. Students graduate from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead, and they move out into a missionary home. There is no reason why they should not get along in happiness, because they will be able to give the truth to others all the time in their new assignment. If petty difficulties and trials arise in the home between brothers there, we can be sure that at least one of them is at fault. But who is it? There is no doubt that the trouble lies with those who are quarreling; so the thing to do is to get them together and find out what is at the bottom of all the trouble. If each does a little giving or yielding, that is, if there is a little giving from each side, the trouble probably can be straightened out and nothing more will be said about it.
4. What do we need to do to make living together successful, and why ought we to do so?
4 If the difficulties are straightened out but grudges remain on both sides, there still will not be happiness. In a missionary home you must want to get along with your brothers and your sisters. This is true, too, in any home; there must be a desire to get along with one another. Remember that all are servants of God just like yourself. You all have so much to live for because of your knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. You all want more knowledge. Already you have been given much information and you certainly know God’s Word as a result of your diligent study. But you still want to study; you still enjoy the reading of his Word, and you want to show your faith in it by communicating this good news to others. Now if all of you are of this same mind and are preaching the Word of God in the field, why can you not get along in agreement on other things? Why can we not live as God would have us live: in happiness, not complaining to one another? All we need to do to make living successful is to give or yield a little. All in Jehovah’s organization must render their true worship to him. They must show love also to their neighbor and strive for contentment in their life.
5. Why are the haughty believing a falsehood, and why are they not happy?
5 The psalmist said: “How happy the man who hath made Yahweh [or, Jehovah] his confidence, who hath not turned unto the haughty, nor gone aside unto falsehood.” (Ps. 40:4, Ro) A proud man never has happiness. He thinks only of himself, not of his neighbor, and especially does he forget Jehovah his God. When Miriam and Aaron became haughty toward Moses their brother, they were brought low; and today we can never become haughty if we realize our position before Jehovah, the Superior One. We are the inferiors; so there is no reason for us to get proud or big-headed. As soon as we do we are believing a falsehood; we think we are important. We fail to remember that the great issue is the vindication of Jehovah’s name and the preaching of his message in all the world. By our daily service let us show that this is not the way we view the matter, but let us live in a way that will honor Jehovah’s name and purpose.
NOT FINDING FAULT OVER OPPOSITION AND PERSECUTION
6. Why should not we be unhappy over the repression of the witnesses in some lands, but rather what should we do?
6 Jehovah’s witnesses are not discouraged at this time because of the happenings in the world. We are in the midst of a wicked organization, ‘the Devil’s world,’ as the Bible calls it. It is filled with grief and sorrow and is in a miserable state; but there is no reason why Jehovah’s witnesses should be unhappy even though living in it. Though we are in it, we do not have to be a part of it. When we look at Jehovah’s organization, we marvel at its prosperity and its growth despite all the pressure that has been brought against it by those who oppose the good news. Jehovah’s witnesses have seen their work stopped or hindered in many countries, but that does not discourage them. Are we now to complain to God and tell him he does not know how to run his business? Are we to look at Russia and say, “God, why have you failed to get missionaries of Jehovah’s witnesses into that land to preach?” We cannot dictate to God because of certain unhappy experiences that occur to Jehovah’s witnesses behind the Iron Curtain. Those of Jehovah’s witnesses who are there have the same Word of God, and they are continuing to faithfully preach the good news. Jehovah’s witnesses in other countries where there is greater freedom should go about and preach the message of God’s kingdom even more extensively and be grateful that they have the opportunity. Do not neglect your freedom to speak in your territory. Sometimes our brothers in democratic lands where there is freedom of speech do not show as much zeal in going from house to house as the publishers do who live in countries where there is continuous opposition.
7. What questions should we ask and answer about serving under conditions like those in such lands?
7 Stop and think for a moment. What would you do if your government told you that you could not worship Jehovah God any longer and that you could not put your God ahead of the state? What would you do under those circumstances? Where would you find happiness? Would it be by changing your mind over to worship according to the decree of the state? Or would your happiness come only in worshiping Jehovah God as he directs through his Word? Would you quit preaching to others if you encountered opposition? Or would you stand firm to preach the gospel as you had the opportunity? Would you complain as some do and say: “God, why did you bring this on me?” Maybe you would think: “Why could I not have been born in some other country where there is not as much trouble? Why does not the Watch Tower Society move me from this country to another and have me preach there?” A true Christian servant of the Most High could not give up his preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom. Oh, there are many things we could complain about; but if we have the right heart condition, we will be grateful to God for the opportunity to serve wherever he sends us or wherever we may be, because we know that this gospel of the Kingdom must be preached everywhere. People are people no matter where we find them, and there are good and bad among them. If there are “sheep” there, we want to find them.
8. Why do Jehovah’s witnesses preach no matter where they are and under unfavorable conditions?
8 Remember that God is directing his organization, and he is going to have this gospel of the Kingdom preached in all the world for a witness. So no matter where we go, no matter what we have to do, we must stand firm to continue in that preaching work. It is a work that must be done. We do not want to become complainers, for then we are apt to stop preaching the truth; and once we stop giving out the truth to others we shall lose our happiness. Many faithful witnesses today are happy even in prisons and concentration camps, and even in such places they keep busy by preaching the gospel to other inmates. Jehovah’s witnesses are happy in countries where the message of the Kingdom has been banned. They keep on talking about the truth though they have hard times with opposition and persecution. They remember that Peter said: “Indeed, who is the man that will harm you if you become zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are happy. However, do not become afraid of what they are afraid of, neither become agitated. But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone that demands of you a reason for the hope in you, but doing so together with a mild temper and deep respect.”—1 Pet. 3:13-15, NW.
9. How is the one who is attentive to the poor happy today?
9 Jehovah is very well pleased with those who are interested in the poor of this world, because it is this class of people who listen to the message of the Kingdom. The psalmist said: “How happy is he that is attentive to the poor, in the day of calamity will Yahweh deliver him: Yahweh will preserve him and keep him alive and he shall be pronounced happy in the land, do not then give him up at the desire of his enemies!” (Ps. 41:1, 2, Ro) We certainly cannot quit preaching this gospel of the Kingdom just because it is the desire of our enemies. Rather, Jehovah’s witnesses will be pronounced happy if they keep these truths concerning Jehovah’s kingdom before the poor of the world, those who are sighing and crying because of the abominations of this old system. When we think of our brothers and sisters and of all the servants of God in other lands and how the enemy has kept them under assault, we should be very thankful to God for the freedom we have and should show our gratitude by preaching the gospel to a greater extent while we still have the opportunity. All should show their maturity by setting the right example in house-to-house witnessing, by conducting home Bible studies and by aiding the immature ones to be more consistent in their field service.
10. Through what attitude and action respecting Jehovah’s organization may we be happy?
10 Never allow yourself to start complaining about the place you have in God’s organization. Instead be happy with the organization and stay in it. “How happy are the people who know the joyful sound! O Yahweh! in the light of thy countenance shall they firmly march along; in thy Name shall they exult all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” (Ps. 89:15, 16, Ro) Jehovah’s people are very happy as they march along in holy array, keeping firm. All around the globe we hear God’s servants as they make a joyful sound of worship to Jehovah in holy formation. Each one must hold to his position and try to improve his efficiency in the service. There is no reason to have any doubts as to the outcome of the matter. God’s Word has revealed his purposes to us; so his faithful servants in the earth know what he is going to do, and they should march shoulder to shoulder, never breaking their ranks. We realize that some will make mistakes, but that is no reason for complaint. The thing to do is to correct the mistakes.
HAPPY THROUGH CORRECTION
11. How is the person whom Jehovah corrects to keep happy for it?
11 “How happy the man whom thou correctest, O Yah! and whom out of thy law thou instructest!” (Ps. 94:12, Ro) If we were not corrected and we kept on going in our wrong way, we should soon find ourselves back in the Devil’s organization. The only way we can have happiness is by being corrected and by staying in line with the new system of things in Jehovah’s organization. The God of the heavens is not going to come down to earth or send some angel to sit down with us to explain matters to us. No, it may be that our brother will do the talking. It may be our mother or our father. It may be a company servant or a circuit servant who brings us the corrective information. It may come through the Watchtower magazine. It will come from within Jehovah’s organization, and it is for the benefit of those in the organization. The correction may hurt; it may hit hard, and if you cannot take the correction you are going to lose your happiness. Of course, there is no joy at the moment the correction is given; but afterward when we see the error of our way and when we get back in line with God’s arrangements again, then we can rejoice and appreciate the value of the correction. “It is for discipline you are enduring. God is dealing with you as with sons. . . . True, no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.” (Heb. 12:7, 11, NW) The real servant of Jehovah will be glad for the correction; so it is true that a man who is corrected by Jehovah is happy.
12. How should we not spurn correction, and why not?
12 Do not spurn correction. If someone comes to you and starts telling you that you are wrong about something, listen to him. Do not get excited right away and say: “Well, now let me tell you something.” No, the thing to do is to listen to that person if he has something on his mind he believes he should tell you. Think—maybe there is something wrong with you, and probably there is, because we are all born in sin and shaped in iniquity. There is one thing we know, that we want to remain in Jehovah’s organization. And if we are receiving a correction even though we have done no wrong, the correction still is not going to hurt us; but if we have done wrong, then the advice and counsel will be of great benefit to us and we shall not find ourselves slipping off into the Devil’s organization. If we ever find ourselves outside Jehovah’s organization because of wrongdoing, we can be sure we shall never enjoy the same happiness in the world that we enjoyed in his organization. Therefore we must always keep our minds on the things of God. We must make our minds over and keep on correcting ourselves.
13. Why should none feel they need no correction?
13 We have already received much correction, especially at the time we came into the truth. We received correction in our understanding of God’s Word through Bible studies. All this correction was given to us in a very kindly manner and there is no reason why servants in the company or elder brothers should not still admonish us in a kindly way. It may be that some who have been in the truth ten or twenty years feel they do not need any correction. But remember, the children of Israel were in the wilderness for forty years, and they needed correction continually. Reproof and instruction are the way to life; so take the correction and profit by it. You will be happier for it.
CHILDREN AND YOUNGSTERS
14. How should the children of the righteous be helped to be happy?
14 “A kind man one may call a great man, but a faithful man who can find? As for a righteous man walking in his integrity how happy are his children after him!” (Prov. 20:6, 7, Ro) Jehovah’s witnesses fully appreciate the need of God’s spirit in order to walk in integrity and keep faithful to God. We want to see the children of Jehovah’s witnesses grow up in the truth and stand firm too. It is not pleasant to see children act obstreperously. Sometimes it appears that the parents do not care how their children act. When we look at the younger generation even among those who are dissatisfied with conditions and who have turned to the truth, we sometimes find that they have a saucy, indifferent attitude. Of course, that is the way the world trains its children, to be tough. But when a person begins to study God’s Word and to make his mind over, he should see that people can get along much better by following the principle of love, not by trying to show toughness. In these last days of the Devil’s organization when we find so much discontent in the homes and among the people of the world, it is no surprise that when new ones come into the organization they sometimes bring along some of that old-world attitude with them. But our ways are not God’s ways, and his thoughts are much higher than our thoughts; so we must change.
15. How do some young in years show impertinence toward Jehovah’s organization, and what is the corrective for such youngsters?
15 Once in a while we hear a young brother, eighteen or nineteen years of age and who may have been in the truth from the time he was in his early teens, who starts to tell some of his older brothers what should be done and how to do it. He thinks that, even though in his youth, he knows how to run Jehovah’s organization better than those who have been in it for fifteen or twenty years. The young lad, when he has not been properly trained by his parents, feels that he is fully qualified and tries to do things his own way. But these young folks still have to learn what the older ones in the truth learned years ago. They must learn obedience and patience, and above all they must learn the truth from God’s Word. They must make their minds over and start absorbing knowledge before they can give admonition to others. It is often observed, too, that when some responsibility is placed on young folks who feel that they are qualified, they fall down on their responsibilities. They do not like to carry the load, and lose their interest in it. So youth should accept wisdom from those who are older and thus gain knowledge. Title or position is of no value, but giving glory and honor to Jehovah’s name is the important thing.
16. Why, according to the apostle Paul, should such not be entrusted with a high responsible position?
16 Maturity is necessary in Jehovah’s organization because responsibility always accompanies a position of supervision. Remember the apostle Paul said: “If any man is reaching out for an office of overseer, he is desirous of a right kind of work. . . . not a newly converted man, for fear that he might get puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment passed upon the Devil.” (1 Tim. 3:1-6, NW) So it is good to seek the right kind of work, but keep studying and training so that you are well qualified for it, and you will have God’s blessing.
17. Why should those under a load of responsibility not want to get away from it as Moses once did? And does that make for happiness?
17 Moses was in Jehovah’s organization a long time, and he was able to carry responsibility and handle it well. But when he had the nation of Israel crying on his shoulder, he said: ‘Let me die.’ The Israelites were not much of a help to this grand leader who pictured the greater one to come, Christ Jesus, who is our Leader now. But the point made here is this: responsibility brings with it great burdens, and one must be mature to hold up under them. However, we never want to feel as Moses did and want to get away from it all. There is no reason why we should feel that way, because Jehovah’s organization today is peaceful, prosperous and happy. The servants are co-operative and want to help in every way to see that this great work is accomplished to the honor, glory and vindication of Jehovah’s name. There is a work to be done at the end of this system of things. The gospel of the Kingdom must be preached before the accomplished end comes, and whether it comes in five years, ten years or more years within this generation should not make any difference to Jehovah’s witnesses. They are God’s ministers, and they want to be faithful to the task. God has given them the work to do, and his servants are happy to bear the whole load of responsibility. They have taken on the work, and, by his undeserved kindness, they are going to keep on doing it until it is finished. You who have started in this work, stay in it and always give the good message you have to those who want to hear. As long as you continue giving freely of the truth, you will enjoy happiness in great measure.
18. Why should those falsely accused and persecuted be happy, and how should they express it?
18 The great trouble to hinder our preaching work will not come from within God’s organization; but, as Christ Jesus indicated, it will be by pressure from the Devil’s organization outside. Jesus told his disciples: “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every kind of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.” (Matt. 5:11, 12, NW) Yes, Jehovah’s witnesses can be happy under reproach and persecution. So happy are they that they leap for joy. That is an expression of happiness! It is because God’s servants know they are on the right side and that they have the truth. They can be happy even though people lie about them, and even though persecution is great they will keep right on talking to others, not to the persecutors, but to onlookers and even to those who may be imprisoned with them. When you once learn there is more happiness in giving the truth to others than in just receiving it, then you will keep on giving it even though every kind of wicked action is brought against you. You know your doing so brings honor to Jehovah and to his Son Christ Jesus.
19, 20. Rather than being somebody or knowing somebody, what brings the complete happiness?
19 It is necessary to stay in God’s organization. And it is what you do with what you know that will bring you happiness. It is not who you are or whom you know that brings contentment in living. Remember, “Jehovah giveth wisdom; out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6, AS) Each person must stand on his own feet to obtain happiness. For Mary it was not merely being Jesus’ mother that brought her happiness, but it was the truth she knew concerning her Son that made her especially happy. You have read about the woman who called out from the crowd and said: “Happy is the womb that carried you and the breasts that you sucked!” But Jesus said, “No, rather, Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!” (Luke 11:27, 28, NW) Knowing the mother of Jesus was not the important thing, nor did her bearing the Savior in itself bring complete happiness. The real thing, as Jesus pointed out, is hearing the word of God and keeping it, being a real servant and a true worshiper of Jehovah God. That is what brings happiness.
20 So we can see that one’s position in Jehovah’s organization, whether he has graduated from the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead and has become a missionary, or whether he is a company servant or a circuit servant or is in a branch home, does not necessarily make that person happy. It is not the position that gives the happiness, but what he is doing in that position. Has he heard the word of God and is he keeping it? If he is, and if he is serving his brothers well, giving of what he has to help his brothers and the people of good will, then he will be happy. The truth is what is important, not the position. So while many in Jehovah’s organization have different positions, these positions are not to be glorified or worshiped or honored, but the work that is done is what is pleasing to him. And, of course, anyone who pleases Jehovah God is certain to please his brothers in the truth. If the truth is in you and you live according to the truth, then you will be a happy person.
21. Rather than a forgetful hearer, who is the happy person, regardless of his position?
21 Listen to the words of James: “He who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and who persists in it, this man, because he has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, will be happy in his doing it.” (Jas. 1:25, NW) That is the only thing that is going to bring happiness: giving, talking, preaching the good news of the Kingdom to other people. The receiving of a diploma or the holding of an office might make a person a forgetful hearer if he begins thinking that he knows it all now. Of him who has much, more will be required; therefore every person in God’s organization should be more zealous and diligent to perform the work that God has committed into his care. Let us keep making our minds over to think as God thinks, in his new system of things, and then gain happiness by giving.
SOURCES OF HAPPINESS
22. Why is Jehovah the “happy God”, and so what should we want to be?
22 Jehovah’s servants are happy today because they have faith in God’s Word and in Jehovah himself. They do not expect any miracles to be performed in their behalf in these days nor any outward sign to help keep them in Jehovah’s organization. Jehovah’s Word is sufficient for his people to follow. It has made us free from the Devil’s organization, and we propose to remain free. Paul was happy in his work because he had ‘the glorious good news of the happy God, with which he was entrusted’. (1 Tim. 1:11, NW) Our God is a happy God, and since we are made in his image and likeness there is no reason why we should not be happy also. His happiness came through giving, and he has given us so much that we have plenty to give to others. All normal creatures want to live. We love life, and we want to get the best out of it. The one thing we want most from life is happiness, for life without happiness would be dull and uninteresting.
23. How do some seek happiness, but what contributes the greatest happiness to us?
23 Today men seek for happiness in many ways. Some receive it from their family or close friends, others by visiting the seashore or the woods or by playing with their children. But the greatest happiness comes from giving to others rather than from just receiving pleasure. While we take great delight in receiving things from our earthly friends and in giving to those we love, our greatest friends are Jehovah God and Christ Jesus. They have given us so much in knowledge and understanding that we can give of this in abundance to others. “This means everlasting life [to those others], their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.”—John 17:3, NW.
24. Why should we never come to the point of not wanting to give the truth out to others?
24 Never let it happen that we come to the point where we no longer want to give to others the truth that we have received. If we ever come to such a state of mind where we do not want to tell someone else about the glorious provisions that Jehovah God has made through his Son Christ Jesus and we become ashamed of the true religion, then Jehovah God will become ashamed of us. There will be no place in Jehovah’s organization for such a person. Also never let us be deceived into thinking that we have done enough now in Jehovah’s service. We should not think that because we have been in the truth for forty or fifty years or even longer we can retire from service. As long as we have breath we must praise Jehovah. Remember that we expect to live thousands of years, yes, on into the millions of years, even into time indefinite, right in Jehovah’s organization. It will be a pure and clean organization and every one in it will be worshiping Jehovah. So why should we now think of stopping our worship and service because we are sixty or seventy years of age?
25. How can the youthful ones early attain happiness?
25 What a joy it is now for a young girl or a young boy to start serving Jehovah, to begin making the mind over in youth, to begin thinking as God thinks, to study his Word and to be filled with it, to have these fine qualities that a Christian must possess of love, devotion, patience and kindness! With all this and with the spirit of giving, what happiness can be theirs for all eternity!
26. Rather than the world’s riches and poverty, what do we want and how do we strive to get it?
26 Let us all be content with what Jehovah God has given us and look well to the responsibilities that have been placed upon us. Let us serve our brothers with joy and gladness. It was the writer of the Proverbs who said, “Remove far from me falsehood and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and use profanely the name of my God.” (Prov. 30:8, 9, AS) Jehovah’s witnesses today do not want the riches of this world, nor do they want the poverty. Instead we ask as Jesus taught his disciples to pray: “Give us today our bread for this day.” All we need are the necessities of life: shelter, food and clothing. With these and with godly devotion we should be content. God has promised all the necessary things to keep us alive and active in his service, and we put forth daily effort to obtain these for ourselves and our family. But more than that, we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from out of the mouth of God.—Deut. 8:3; Matt. 4:4.
27. So in what do we want to be rich, and how shall we continue to be the happiest people on earth?
27 So then it is in the abundance of knowledge that we want to be rich. We want to be removed far from falsehoods and lies. We never want to deny our God Jehovah. Because they do not take Jehovah’s name in vain, Jehovah’s witnesses are the happiest people in the world. They do not have the burden or the responsibility of trying to patch up this old world and hold it together. However, they do have the answer for today’s problems and the most comforting, cheerful and optimistic message anyone can hear and the one with the most far-reaching effects. They have the message of the kingdom of God which will bring blessings of prosperity and happiness to all those who love righteousness. They will keep on giving this message, for they know there is more happiness in giving than in receiving. So whether you are a company publisher, a pioneer, a circuit servant, a district servant, a missionary, a worker in a branch or anywhere else in Jehovah’s organization, hold to your position faithfully. Continue to give out the good news, worshiping Jehovah in holy array.