“Not Forsaking the Gathering of Ourselves Together”
BECAUSE fallen man is inherently selfish the imperative need of “not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together” needs to be stressed continually. Additionally, Satan the Devil has so misled professed Christians in general that they think the greatest example of godly devotion is the mystic recluse, hermit or monk, who shuts himself off from contact with his fellow man; causing them to overlook entirely how proud, self-centered and narrow such a course of action is.
Why, in the very beginning God stated regarding perfect man: “It is not good for the man to continue by himself.” And did not the apostle Paul liken Christians to members of a human body, none of whom can say to any other member, “I have no need of you”? Besides, Jehovah not only commanded: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength,” but also: “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” How can we love our neighbor as ourselves when we shut ourselves off from him?—Gen. 2:18; 1 Cor. 12:12-21; Mark 12:30, 31, NW.
In fact, we cannot wholly love Jehovah without bringing our neighbor into the picture. Our praise of Him should be heard by others, so that they also may praise him. And if we thus love our God, we shall want to associate with others who feel about him the same way as we do; with others who remind us of his attributes; with others who may know him better than we do and who can help us to grow in appreciation of him, yes, and associate with those to whom we ourselves can give an increased appreciation of the marvelous God we have, a God perfect in love, justice, wisdom and power. And by gathering together we can give not only increased praise but more beautiful and more harmonious praise, even as a chorus excels a mere solo.
How appropriate, therefore, for us to be repeatedly reminded of Paul’s instruction at Hebrews 10:23-25 (NW): “Let us hold fast the public declaration of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that promised. And let us consider one another to incite to love and right works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”
That we may obey this apostolic injunction, Jehovah, through his “faithful and discreet slave,” the society of the anointed remnant, has provided us with many opportunities. Each congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses has five weekly meetings, the Bible study at the service center, the service meeting, the theocratic ministry school, the Bible study with the aid of The Watchtower, and the public lecture. And then there are the various assemblies, circuit, district, national and international. Right now the attention of all Christian witnesses of Jehovah is fastened on the five conventions planned for the United States and Canada and the six to be held in Europe during June, July and August this year. All who love Jehovah with their whole heart, mind, soul and strength and who love their neighbor as themselves will put forth every effort to attend as many of these as possible, for each one of them will provide a golden opportunity to praise Jehovah, to witness to his name, and to aid our neighbor and ourselves in advancing to maturity.