The Responsibility of Inciting Others to Life
1, 2. Where can we go for help, and what assurance is there that we will get it?
JEHOVAH is a helping God. We can readily go to him for assistance. We can use the same provisions that David used and that are still available to us for growing stronger. Certainly we too can say, as expressed at Psalm 121:2: “My help is from Jehovah.” And with positive assurance he told his people: “Do not be afraid. I myself will help you.”—Isa. 41:13.
2 This same quality of helping runs through Jehovah’s entire organization today. The willingness to help others is found in His heavenly organization too. Did not Michael help a fellow angel? This angel said: “The prince of the royal realm of Persia was standing in opposition to me for twenty-one days, and, look! Michael, one of the foremost princes, came to help me.” (Dan. 10:13) Have not angels traveled to earth to assist man? Yes! “Are they not all spirits for public service. sent forth to minister for those who are going to inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14) But the outstanding example is in Christ Jesus. “By this the love of God was made manifest in our case, because God sent forth his only-begotten Son into the world that we might gain life through him.”—1 John 4:9.
3, 4. What is required of those assisting others to maturity?
3 Is this quality to help found in you? Are you willing to help your brothers? Have you found that it takes much more strength to help others than it does to go along by yourself? However, we cannot “go it alone,” because Jehovah’s organization is one that works together and in unity magnifies Jehovah’s name universewide. Hebrews 12:22-24 makes that clear, saying to us as Christians: “But you have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, in general assembly, and the congregation of the first-born who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling, which speaks in a better way than Abel’s blood.”
4 To live in Jehovah’s new world we are required to progress in knowledge and to share in his work, but do so with his organization. It means changing our personality, as Paul emphasizes: “Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality.” (Col. 3:2, 9, 10) If one becomes spiritually weak he deliberately pulls away from the organization and drifts back to the old personality he got rid of once by putting forth such a diligent effort to learn the truth. Jehovah’s organization is strong. One must stick with it to make constant progress and be diligent in doing His work. Not by isolationism but by sticking close to God’s congregation one will be strong and remain awake to his responsibilities.
5. What further quality do the Scriptures emphasize in this matter of helping others in the congregation?
5 Mature people realize this fact and also know that others must be roused to realize the importance of these requirements as well as to know that the time in which we live puts it in the realm of great urgency. It takes much strength to incite others to life. As in the case of all of Jehovah’s servants, willingness is required for us to keep on giving assistance; otherwise we will soon complain and develop a grumbling attitude because we feel others are leaning upon us too heavily and asking too much of us. Examine the many instances in the Bible of the willingness of Jehovah’s people. Among them you will find 1 Peter 4:9 urging us to “be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” And 1 Peter 5:2 counsels overseers: “Shepherd the flock of God in your care, not under compulsion, but willingly; neither for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly.”
6. Illustrate the value of association needed to incite others to action.
6 Jehovah’s witnesses go from house to house with well-prepared sermons to be delivered in a tactful, kind way. Why? Because they are searching for the “sheep” and are willing to spend many hours in helping these people. But what about those weak ones in God’s congregation who for one cause or another no longer enjoy God’s service and who come to very few meetings to worship God with their brothers? They no longer associate with those in the organization that are strong and awake to their responsibilities. Here is an illustration of the help needed. A married couple, after living together a short time, sees the good qualities of the wife, such as patience, kindness, tactfulness and gentleness, rub off onto the husband. The wife will, in turn, copy determination, organization and steadiness from her husband. If it works in the home, why not with our immature brothers in the congregation? But it will take association to do it, our being together enough to have the immature one copy the regularity in attending meetings, the sharing in discussion of the truth and daily turning to Jehovah in thankfulness.
7, 8. What atmosphere is found in the old world, and how does this affect weak ones?
7 The world around us is fast asleep in spite of all the slogans of men to stir it up. Multitudes of persons have wondered why conditions in the world have grown worse since 1914. Thousands mourn and complain about the increase of wickedness. Whole organizations, communities and nations are disturbed, many having programs for overcoming these increased troubles. Yes, it can be said that the entire world of mankind is looking at the clock of the “time of the end,” but only a few can tell what time it is. Only a few respond when the alarm rings.
8 So this sleep-inducing atmosphere has lulled these weak ones to sleep. They are indifferent to Jehovah’s provision of spiritual food at the meetings. They view responsibilities as burdens rather than blessings from Jehovah. Jesus said many would take the easiest course; overindulgence would cause drowsiness to set in and soon they would be fast asleep.—Luke 21:34, 35.
9, 10. Give the reason for urgency in our ministry work today, and what does that mean for us?
9 Paul sounds the alarm: “So, then, let us not sleep on as the rest do, but let us stay awake and keep our senses.” (1 Thess. 5:6) Why? In Romans 13:11 he answers: “Because you people know the season, that it is already the hour for you to awake from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than at the time when we became believers.” It is time to work for Jehovah. “Do not love sleep, that you may not come to poverty.”—Prov. 20:13.
10 This is the harvesttime, which brings with it added responsibilities, longer hours, and an urgency that lasts until the last bushel is in the barn. Our harvesting certainly is urgent, and we must keep strong to finish it. “The son acting with insight is gathering during the summertime; the son acting shamefully is fast asleep during the harvest.”—Prov. 10:5.
11. From where do we get the strength to continue assisting others?
11 From where, then, are we going to get the strength to keep going? Jehovah tells us in his Word at Ephesians 5:8-11, 15-20: “Go on walking as children of light, for the fruitage of the light consists of every sort of goodness and righteousness and truth. Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; and quit sharing with them in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness, but, rather, even be reproving them . . . So keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked . . . but go on perceiving what the will of Jehovah is . . . giving thanks always for all things to our God and Father.”
12. What habits strengthen us, and what will we incite others to do?
12 We know that prayer is a powerful stimulant, that regularly attending meetings brings strength, that family and personal study of Bible prophecy stirs us to service, and that talking the truth to others keeps us awake. But now how are we going to help our weak brothers appreciate these things? How can we wake them up? How far shall we go in helping them?
13, 14. (a) How is prayer a stimulant? (b) What example do we follow in teaching others to pray?
13 Probably we will need to teach them how to pray and to assist them to turn to Jehovah regularly for strength. This daily drawing close to God and knowing that he is listening will prevent drowsiness and increase our appreciation. Paul encourages, at Colossians 4:2: “Be persevering in prayer, remaining awake in it with thanksgiving.” Spiritual sleepiness is prevented by the servants who appreciate the power of prayer and make the proper use of it. Note what Proverbs 18:10 says about it: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” At the end of the day, while appreciation for the day’s blessings is strong and we are wide-awake, we turn to Jehovah in prayer. In the morning, when fresh, anticipating what we can do to praise his name, we seek his direction and then we work throughout the day for his approval.
14 It is a sobering thought too when we realize that our brothers all over the earth are talking to Jehovah in our behalf, asking for his spirit and blessing to be upon us in our work just as our brothers did centuries ago. In 1 Thessalonians 1:2 Paul says: “We always thank God when we make mention concerning all of you in our prayers.” Our prayers will do the same for our brothers in other corners of the earth. Mature ones will incite others to realize this and to use the provision of prayer. In fact, many times spiritually weak ones ask for mature ones to pray with them. Follow the example of Jesus, who responded to the disciples’ request and taught them how to pray. When in their homes, turn them to Jehovah in prayer. At one time they did pray. In fact, if they have already made a dedication, it was made in prayer to Jehovah.
15 Associating with Jehovah’s witnesses is very upbuilding and a joyful occasion. Regularly attending meetings together keeps us progressing in knowledge. We grow to maturity. We learn how to live with the “great crowd” of “other sheep” in the New World society. (Rev. 7:9; John 10:16) Even when the instruction given directly fits us it produces a condition and attitude not found in any other organization in the world. Psalm 141:5 says it would be so: “Should the righteous one strike me, it would be a loving-kindness; and should he reprove me, it would be oil upon the head, which my head would not want to refuse.” If we take our brothers along regularly to the meetings, we will avoid the dull situation described by Paul at Hebrews 5:11-13: “Concerning him we have much to say and hard to be explained, since you have become dull in your hearing. For, indeed, although you ought to be teachers in view of the time, you again need someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sacred pronouncements of God; and you have become such as need milk, not solid food. For everyone that partakes of milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.” Problems do come up from time to time that would encourage us to think of missing just a meeting or two; it will be only a temporary staying away and then we can get back into the regular habit again. Many times it centers around children, some parents feeling that their child should be trained at home first before going to the meetings. Others have the idea that the children need to get to bed early and so cannot go to the congregation meetings on those evenings. Reason, now. What problem can be solved with less spiritual food? Recognizing that some have a sleepy habit of staying away from meetings, Jehovah through his Word talks to mature people: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine 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.” (Heb. 10:24, 25) He wants us to consider our brothers and our families, making definite plans to incite them to work for him and associate with his people. This needs to be done more and more, as each year brings many new ones into the organization and as increasing problems hold others back from maturity.
16. How should we view the matter when we feel so tired we cannot help weak ones or even our own family to meetings?
16 “But, I am so worn out I can’t drag myself out, let alone go by to pick up anyone or get the family ready to go to the meetings tonight,” is heard many times. In fact, fatigue takes its steady toll and interferes many times with our Kingdom service. This can be set straight by meditating on our dedication and our determination to fit everything into its proper place to support that dedication. An interesting observation is made by Mr. Hutschnecher in his book entitled “The Will to Live”: “Everywhere, every day, people go about their tasks without weariness if they are supported by enthusiasm and belief in what they are doing.” Further, the U.S. News and World Report, January 18, 1957, reports on research findings on fatigue: “One study shows a single difference between a group of industrial workers completely ‘fagged’ and another group full of ‘bounce’ after equal tasks—the lively ones were looking forward to some sort of evening activity.” If we have in our mind not only the benefits of the meetings to ourselves but also the things we want our brothers to gain, we will be as busy as Paul in this never-ending privilege. He said: “But we desire each one of you to show the same industriousness so as to have the full assurance of the hope down to the end.” (Heb. 6:11) We become so absorbed in helping others and training our families that the tiredness gives way to a feeling of usefulness to Jehovah and his organization. Really, then, this kind of activity is a measuring rod of our maturity. It is putting a magnifying glass on our growth.
17, 18. (a) Is the getting of new ones and our families to the meetings the end of stirring up others? (b) In this regard, what family arrangement is most helpful?
17 This inciting of others to life takes in another facet of teaching, that of showing them how to comment at meetings. We can go over the lesson together and prepare portions to comment on at the meetings. Here again the progress of our student will reflect our teaching, the regularity of our help and whether we follow a definite plan or not. The counsel at Hebrews 10:23: “Let us hold fast the public declaration of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that promised,” will apply to both of us in this regard. Setting a good example in making public declaration will cause them to appreciate more fully Psalm 26:12: “Among the congregated throngs I shall bless Jehovah.”
18 Parents, arrange a family study to equip members of the family to speak up freely at the congregation meeting. Those not privileged to associate with such a family arrangement can always discuss these important truths with another brother or sister regularly every week. If we have the idea in our mind we shall be able to express it with practice. Talking will deepen the impression, and that is most essential in ‘holding fast the public declaration of our hope.’ (Heb. 10:23) Quietness induces sleep; so why doze off at the meetings and then find that you “freeze” when someone asks you a question concerning your hope?
19. What strengthening feature is told about at Luke 24:13-31, and how does it work?
19 Progress in understanding assures our staying awake. Like food it strengthens us, enabling us to work hard. We are alive and healthy, taking a great interest in the preaching work. Explaining these newfound truths to others stimulates us as it did the brothers in Jesus’ time. Read Luke 24:13-31 and then notice what Lu 24 verse 32 discloses, namely: “They said to each other: ‘Were not our hearts burning as he was speaking to us on the road, as he was fully opening up the Scriptures to us?’” Very essential to remaining awake in Jehovah’s service is our discussing the many wonderful things we learn in our studies and discussing the responsibility we have to use this means to incite our brothers to life. This kind of growth comes by regularly feeding on the food providing strength. Remember that the scripture already considered at Hebrews 10:23, 25 specifically mentions “wavering” and a “custom” of “forsaking” association with Jehovah’s people.
20. How is our teaching put to the test?
20 The source of strength is further identified at 2 Timothy 2:1, 2: “Keep on acquiring power in the undeserved kindness that is in connection with Christ Jesus, and the things you heard from me with the support of many witnesses, these things commit to faithful men, who, in turn, will be adequately qualified to teach others.” Our talking is not just to get something “off our mind.” It is more than that. We speak so the hearer can tell still others. The effect and forcefulness of their speech is going to reflect our maturity. But when we see them feeding the sheep as Jehovah would have it done, our happiness will increase and we will be grateful that he has taught us to speak so accurately.
21. To what extent shall we go in encouraging others, and what helps us to make this decision?
21 How far shall we go in stirring others up to share actively in Jehovah’s work? Be as concerned as Paul counseled we should be: “Keeping an eye, not in personal interest upon just your own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others. Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:4, 5) Have in mind the way in which Jehovah helps his creatures. They trust him and are not afraid to go to him. With love as your motive you can have the same manner as Paul: “We became gentle in the midst of you, as when a nursing mother cherishes her own children.” (1 Thess. 2:7, 8) If you were traveling down a highway with your brother at the wheel of the car and you noticed him dozing off, would you wake him up, or would you hesitate for fear of hurting his feelings? We live in times now that require all our mental faculties to make wise decisions to remain in Jehovah’s service.
22, 23. In what kind of cases would we be wasting our time trying to incite to service?
22 However, in our helping work we may find individuals who no longer want assistance from Jehovah or his people. They may be described at Matthew 13:15, 19-22. They have decided to pull away from the truth for a pleasure cruise; they choose the short life that is free from the responsibilities found in the New World society.
23 We have the responsibility to discern whether our help is toward the ones Paul is concerned about at Galatians 6:1, 10: “Brothers, even though a man takes some false step before he is aware of it, you who have spiritual qualifications try to restore such a man in a spirit of mildness, as you each keep an eye on yourself, for fear you also may be tempted. Really, then, as long as we have time favorable for it, let us work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to us in the faith.” Remember, it is disastrous when one no longer can receive help from Jehovah’s organization.
24. Where will we always turn for help? Why?
24 When you feel discouraged and you have so many problems to handle that you feel you cannot help your brothers or share in inciting others to life, be encouraged and recognize this fact: “My help is from Jehovah, the Maker of heaven and earth. He cannot possibly allow your foot to totter. The One guarding you cannot possibly be drowsy. Look! He will not be drowsy nor go to sleep, he that is guarding Israel. Jehovah is guarding you. Jehovah is your shade on your right hand.” (Ps. 121:2-5) Keep awake then! Be living witnesses, inciting others, stirring them up to real life and teaching them to look to Jehovah, for he never sleeps.