Endurance Serves to Prove Integrity
1. What shining examples of endurance do we have in Scripture, and for what reason did they and do we endure?
THERE are not too many people in the world today that will stand for right principles and even suffer for them. Jehovah loves those who will. He is very much interested in men and women who will walk in their own integrity and who will endure even to death for righteousness. Peter appreciated this fact and wrote: “For what merit is there in it if, when you are sinning and being struck blows, you endure it? But if, when you are doing good and you suffer, you endure it, this is a thing agreeable with God. In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.” (1 Pet. 2:20, 21) That is something to think about, for no individual has ever endured as much pain, suffering, ignominy and shame as the perfect Jesus went through for the vindication of Jehovah’s name. This was a “thing agreeable with God.” Then there is Job in his sufferings. It was written of him by James: “Look! we pronounce happy those who have endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and compassionate.” (Jas. 5:11) Why is this suffering allowed, and for what reason do we endure? The answer is integrity.
2. Why do we prove our integrity?
2 Will one worship Jehovah because he loves Him, or because he must? Because he gets happiness, or because it brings him a reward? Well, look at Job. He had everything, lost it all, and still loved Jehovah and did not sin against God. He wanted to prove his integrity because he loved the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. Then we have Christ Jesus, who gave up all his heavenly glory and took the form of a man. Why? Because he loved his Father. Was it to get a greater reward? No, but “to do your will, O my God, I have delighted.” (Ps. 40:8) Because Christ Jesus loved his Father, was happy in His service and proved faithful under trial and suffering, he received all power in heaven and in earth and now sits at the right hand of Jehovah, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. Yes, he endured under the test and it helped him prove his integrity.
3. What is it right to do, and what, then, is our mental outlook for so doing?
3 Just as Job and Jesus did, so do Christians. It is right to give Jehovah true worship. It is right to follow his commandments. It is right to endure the sufferings that come from the Devil’s organization and his worldly governments for speaking the truth. Because one walks in his own integrity and lives by right principles he is happy. Many times one endures physical torture, isolation in concentration camps, withdrawal of his freedom of speech, but yet he holds to right principles to preach the good news of God’s kingdom when and wherever he can do so, and he is pronounced happy. He is happy! The lives of Jehovah’s witnesses over the past six thousand years prove this to be true. The experiences of Jehovah’s witnesses in communistic countries in 1957 prove this to be true. The record in the 1958 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses proves this statement to be true. The experiences show that endurance certainly helps one to prove one’s integrity.
4. What progress in the preaching work was made behind the iron Curtain during 1957, and why are Jehovah’s witnesses enduring the hardships?
4 When one studies the 1957 field service chart of Jehovah’s witnesses and notes the last listing “Eight Other Countries,” he will see that during 1956 there were 69,884 persons who preached the good news in these Communist countries. Under the 1957 column it shows 80,052 preached God’s kingdom behind the Iron Curtain. It would be very unwise to list singly these countries and report them, as we do the other countries that show how many of Jehovah’s witnesses there are in each country. That would make it easy for the Communist governments to search out our brothers. Let the communistic police search through all Russia, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Albania and Bulgaria; they will not find all of them. They know these witnesses are there and they hate them for preaching. In the last year, despite all they had to endure, the record shows that out of the millions of people in these lands 10,168 have taken a definite stand to be Christians. To help others learn the truth from God’s Word they are willing to endure all the hardships, persecution and suffering just for doing good. Why? Because “this is a thing agreeable with God.”
5. (a) Contrast the increase between countries outside and inside the iron Curtain. (b) What danger lies in waiting until later to prove our Christian devotion?
5 Study the chart of all the countries and observe that throughout the whole world there has been an increase of ten percent in truth lovers taking their stand for God’s kingdom and becoming ministers. But note: in the eight countries behind the Iron Curtain the increase has actually been fifteen percent. Must we believe that the greater the hardship the greater the desire to work as Christians? Often, when life is pleasant and easygoing and there is no persecution, persons will wait until a later date to prove they are Christians or think about taking up the life of a Christian. That time may never come for many! The time may be too short to wait long. Behind the Iron Curtain many are doing serious thinking about true worship of Jehovah. Should not all of us do the same?
6. Association with whom brings us great pleasure?
6 Jehovah’s witnesses everywhere are happy with our brothers behind the Iron Curtain and rejoice with them in their fearlessness in the preaching activity. No one can deny that these brothers are enduring much hardship, suffering, turmoil and imprisonment for Christ’s sake, and through it all they prove their integrity. We are proud to be working with them in these last days of the Devil’s organization, for now we see the preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom in all the world for a witness.
7. What view does communism take of Jehovah’s witnesses and their preaching work, and yet what will each servant of Jehovah do?
7 The Communist governments have come out boldly declaring that Jehovah’s people, his witnesses, are preaching the kingdom of God and this they must stop because it is different from the government by communism. The only way that Jehovah’s witnesses will be stopped in their God-given work is for these brutal governments to take their lives, and they have taken many. That is what the Roman government tried to do. Look what happened to it! It never succeeded! The brutality of nations has never been able to wipe out Christianity, and it never will. Every true Christian who has ever lived, whether under very distressing times, such as now exist behind the Iron Curtain, or under other unfavorable circumstances, will not be stopped in his preaching Jehovah’s kingdom but will continue to walk in his own integrity. Enduring temptations, trials and testings goes to prove one’s integrity. A Christian must be able to say as he goes along in life: “As for me, in my integrity I shall walk.”
8. (a) What fine increases bring joy to Jehovah’s people? (b) How do Jehovah’s witnesses show their keen interest in both the people of good will and their newly dedicated and baptized brothers?
8 We should like to bring to the attention of the readers of The Watchtower what Jehovah’s witnesses have done during the year 1957 in the way of preaching the good news world-wide and to comment on the chart that appears on pages 28-30. All of God’s servants will rejoice to know that every month in 1957 there were, on the average, 653,273 ministers preaching the message of the Kingdom. They have tried to teach others the value of God’s Word and how to carry on true worship of Him. This is a ten-percent increase over last year’s 591,556 ministers. It is difficult to imagine, but it is true that 61,717 persons in all parts of the earth have definitely taken up the ministry regularly every month during the past year. Of this number, 59,828 have symbolized their dedication to Jehovah God by being baptized in water. They are serious about this matter of preaching God’s kingdom. They believe it. They believe it so much that they have spent 100,135,016 hours going from house to house, studying in people’s homes, telling them about the truths found in the Bible. Before the year ended many others had joined the New World society and begun preaching, although they have not been in the service regularly every month. As a peak in the number of ministers we have reached a total of 716,901. We hope and pray that during the year 1958 these 716,901 persons will all become regular publishers and do this work every month instead of just once or twice during the year. It will bring them real happiness. Maturity is necessary, though, and it is the responsibility of the overseers in all parts of the world to aid these new ones to see their daily privilege of preaching the good news and taking on the responsibility of conducting a home Bible study. During the year 1957 Jehovah’s witnesses have called back on interested persons to the number of 33,327,637 times, and every week throughout the year Jehovah’s witnesses have been conducting 413,049 home Bible studies. These studies are conducted in the private homes of the people. They are not the regular meetings, such as the Watchtower meeting, where Jehovah’s witnesses assemble and study, nor are they the theocratic ministry schools, nor the service meetings or the 442,265 public meetings; but these are free meetings in the private homes of individuals who want to have private study of God’s Word, who want to learn the truth as spoken in the Bible. Neither does this total include the thousands of Bible studies that Jehovah’s witnesses conduct with newly dedicated persons so as to bring them on to maturity and stabilize them in the truth. We want to see all baptized persons maintain their integrity and not drop out of the service when just becoming new ministers. If the reader has never enjoyed such a study, why not get in touch with Jehovah’s witnesses somewhere or write direct to the Society in your country and ask to have someone come to your home to study the Bible with you? If you have not experienced a Bible study in your own home, why not experience it? Begin it now. Find out what it is all about, and you will then know why so many people are flocking to the organization of Jehovah’s witnesses. The reason is, it brings them happiness, contentment in life and gives them the opportunity of worshiping the Sovereign Ruler of the universe, Jehovah God, in the manner they should.
9, 10. How much distribution of the Kingdom literature did the 16,883 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses carry on in 1957?
9 There is no question about it, Jehovah God has a great visible organization upon the earth, which he is using to get this good news of the Kingdom preached. World-wide there are 16,883 congregations where Jehovah’s witnesses meet. These congregations need Bibles and study aids. The Society prints Bibles, books, booklets, magazines and tracts for distribution world-wide. This is now done in over 120 languages. Last year alone their printing plants produced 3,127,083 Bibles and bound books, and 13,420,097 booklets, pamphlets of thirty-two and sixty-four pages. The Watchtower was printed in forty-seven different languages to the number of 75,442,810 copies, and Awake! magazine in sixteen languages to the number of 61,005,344.
10 Jehovah’s witnesses are very enthusiastic about distributing The Watchtower and Awake! and they had an outstanding year. It was necessary to print 136,448,154 copies of these two magazines, to compare with the 108,606,757 printed the previous year.
11. (a) How many attended the Memorial in 1957, and, of these, how many professed to be of the remnant? (b) What invitation is extended to all readers of The Watchtower?
11 Once a year Jehovah’s witnesses celebrate the Memorial, that is, the death of Christ Jesus. Many of our readers joined in this celebration, which the Bible indicates must be celebrated once each year. In 1957, on April 14, there were 1,075,163 persons who gathered together in our yearly celebration. Of this number, 15,628 professed to be of the anointed remnant. All readers of The Watchtower are welcome to associate with Jehovah’s witnesses at any time, but we do invite you to celebrate the Memorial of Christ’s death with us on April 3, 1958, at our Kingdom Halls anywhere in the world. It is an important date in the life of every Christian. In fact, every day is important in the life of a Christian, for he should try to preach this good news of God’s kingdom to someone and make mention of Jehovah’s name and tell of His salvation.
12. All gaining life must do what, and what comfort do we get from the rewards given Jesus, Job and all other faithful servants of Jehovah?
12 To take care of this great organization of Jehovah’s witnesses world-wide there are eighty-four branch offices. In these eighty-four branches we have an organization requiring the help of 1,107 persons. And backing them up in full-time service are 20,912 pioneers, special pioneers, missionaries and circuit and district servants scattered all over the world. All of them together associate in congregations in 164 lands and islands of the sea to the number of 16,883. Why not associate with one of them, the one nearest you? Learn about Jehovah’s purposes. Do not be afraid of being a Christian and of the endurance that one must show as a Christian in order to prove his integrity. Anyone who is ever going to gain everlasting life is going to have to prove his loyalty and faith to the Sovereign Ruler of the universe. So why draw back? There is no peace of mind or happiness in life in drawing back. It is a progressive person, the one who loves life, who will move ahead. The way to gain life is to live in God’s new world. Remember, those who have endured as Christians are pronounced happy. You have seen the outcome of endurance in the life of Christ Jesus and in the life of Job, and in the lives of true Christians behind the Iron Curtain and elsewhere today. What will it gain for them? Christ Jesus gained the tender affection and compassion from Jehovah, and a great reward for integrity-keeping. So did Job, and so will all faithful servants of Jehovah. Why not the same for you? Then you will be able to say as did the psalmist because of your walking in your own integrity: “My own foot will certainly stand on a level place; among the congregated throngs I shall bless Jehovah.”—Ps. 26:12.
[Chart on page 28-30]
1957 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLD-WIDE
(See bound volume)