Show Respect at Assemblies
THE speaker is giving an excellent talk. A newly interested couple is amazed at the value of the spiritual food being provided. Someone sitting in front of them decides he must leave to get into the cafeteria line. Another person, walking down front, sees an old friend and waves vigorously. The woman in the next seat tells her husband: “Oh, there is so-and-so.” What can the newly interested persons think but that the spiritual food is of such little value to such people that they do not think it is even worth the courtesy of listening to it. Their enthusiasm is understandably dampened by a few thoughtless and disrespectful people in the audience.
With so many persons coming into the Christian organization we must guard against their bringing in such old-world practices. The speaker, the organization and the spirit of God have vital information. It must be presented quickly. Surely we must get everything we can from the meetings. They are like a spiritual school. In school students who skip classes, wander in the corridors or are frequently absent fall far behind others. Do not be like them. Right knowledge is too important.
Listen, analyze, take notes and discuss new points on the way home. Do not be drifters—drifting in late or drifting out early. Why should you always stay till the very end? Not only for the good example it sets, but also because the session is closed with prayer. You want your personal gratitude for the day’s program to be expressed to Jehovah God, do you not? It would be a flagrant disrespect to God, to the one praying and to your brothers to have left before joining in that prayer, just to save a few minutes. It is only a few days a year. Is saving five minutes, or even half an hour, that important?
Of course, if someone has an assignment of duty and must leave, then by all means go. If an emergency has risen or if you are ill, do not hesitate to leave. But anyone else who goes out before the program is officially dismissed does not represent the attitude of Jehovah’s witnesses toward the importance of such meetings. The majority do not wish to be identified with this disrespect. They are ashamed when they see someone thoughtlessly show it.
So, let your outstanding attention demonstrate to others your interest in the message. No one should be walking in the corridors during the talks. They should be bare, silent, empty. What a joy it is to attend assemblies where this appreciation is shown. But at other assemblies some thoughtless persons have brought in a different habit. Remember, though, that their disrespect is not representative of the organization. It is a nervous old world that just cannot sit still. At your Kingdom Hall you stay right at your seat through the final words, the song and the prayer, until you are officially dismissed. Why show less respect at an even larger gathering where your lack of appreciation will be evident to more people and where your bad example will be set before even more persons of good will?
Do not even listen when someone tries to talk with you during the program. Give a silent nod of acknowledgment, but let him know that you insist on showing the proper respect for the speaker, for the organization and for your nearby brothers who, though they may even be assigned to duty in the corridors, also want to hear. If anyone does not think the points being presented are vital, it might be that he is in the wrong place and should be somewhere else—and probably his brothers who want to hear wish he were!
You do not want them to wish that about you, do you? Of course not. Then through your consideration you will be present on time, will be quiet, still, will not leave early, will never be seen in the corridors outside during the meeting, will not talk during the announcements (even if they are in a language other than yours), and will never consider getting to the cafeteria line or getting the bus home to be more important than staying respectfully and orderly at your seat during the program’s last few words and the concluding song and prayer to God.
By following this proper example, which all of Jehovah’s witnesses should set, you will get the full benefit of the joyful and blessed theocratic program.