Graduating Missionaries Counseled to Show Love
THE graduation of the fortieth class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead took place September 13, 1965. The class consisted of 108 students who had come from 31 countries and who were now being sent to 43 different lands. The program, which began at 3 p.m. with song and prayer, was presided over by N. H. Knorr, president of the Watchtower Society and the Gilead School.
Brother Knorr also gave the main talk on the subject of Christian love, after a number of others had spoken. He asked the students: “How far must your love reach? Even to your enemies, Jesus said. Now, just because you go peaceably from house to house, talking the Bible to people, some are going to be disturbed and will persecute you. Are you going to hate them for it? No, for Jesus said we must love our enemies. So at every opportunity you have you will talk to them about the hope of everlasting life. You don’t want them destroyed, even if they are your enemies. If you can straighten out their minds regarding Jehovah’s purposes, you will be glad to do that.”—Luke 6:27.
Developing the theme of love further, he quoted and applied Luke 6:31, about ‘doing to others as we would have them do to us.’ “As you go to a foreign assignment you will meet people that may seem peculiar to you, people whose standard of living may be far below that to which you are accustomed. Will you look down upon them for that? No, love will cause you to look upon them as God’s creatures, as fellow humans that have been hurt and oppressed; as people who really need your words of comfort.”
Then Brother Knorr read Philippians 1:9-11, where the apostle Paul prayed for his brothers, that “your love may abound yet more and more with accurate knowledge and full discernment.” “Yes,” he told the students, “you’ve worked with people, you’ve had experience with people. You should be able to show more love than the people whom you meet because of your having taken in this added knowledge.
“There is no law against love, which is one of the fruits of the spirit. A red traffic light tells you to stop your car, and a sign may limit your speed to fifty miles an hour; but there is no law limiting your love. You will never be taken to court because of love.”—Gal. 5:22, 23.
“This love must also include our Christian neighbors,” Brother Knorr went on to say. “No question about it, our personalities may clash, we may misunderstand, but if we have love we will not hold something against our brother and ignore him, but we will go out of our way to straighten out matters.” In conclusion he noted: “Time will tell how far-reaching your love is, and we hope that that time reaches off indefinitely.”
Before this main talk by Brother Knorr, there were brief remarks by six speakers who had a large share in training the missionary students. W. Wilkinson counseled: ‘When you get to your missionary assignment, stay there; use your marvelous Gilead training and all your bodies to praise God.’ F. Rusk stressed the importance of discernment in being effective missionaries. U. Glass underscored the need of good methods and strong motivation if people are to learn the “pure language” of Jehovah’s worship. E. Dunlap pointed out that it takes not only determination but brotherly love to be able to stay in the missionary service. M. Larson noted that strong, right principles will serve them as good protection when far away in the missionary field. And G. Couch urged their keeping open the circuit of truth from ears to heart and then to the lips.
The foregoing remarks were appreciated by all in attendance, even as were those of the Society’s vice-president, F. W. Franz, as he, for upward of half an hour, drew on three current news items about the wretched conditions in the world’s institutions of higher learning, about the American rabbi who did not believe in God, and about the late Schweitzer’s denial of the Biblical Jesus—to show the marked contrast between all such and those graduating from the Bible School of Gilead and to urge them to strong faith and right conduct.
Then after Brother Knorr’s talks the missionaries received their assignments and diplomas, and a student read a resolution on behalf of the class, expressing its appreciation to Jehovah and all whom He used to train them. This program closed with song and prayer at 6 p.m. Then followed a fine farewell dinner, after which the program resumed with a condensed study of the weekly Watchtower lesson, followed by entertainment by the students, including many beautiful musical selections and heartwarming expressions of appreciation. At 10 p.m. the program closed with song and prayer. It had truly been spiritually upbuilding to all in attendance, direct and by closed television.