Move Ahead with Jehovah’s Organization
1. (a) Why should it be expected that God’s organization on earth would be moving ahead? (b) What demonstrates the efficiency of the organization?
EVERYTHING in God’s universe is moving. Motion without commotion is the keynote. Planets revolve around the sun, suns revolve in their galaxies, galaxies revolve around clusters, and clusters revolve around still greater clusters, ad infinitum, so far as astronomers can tell. So it should be expected that God’s organization on earth would be in motion. And it is true. It has moved ahead with the most astounding progress. What is probably the most recognized phase of its organizational activity, its arrangement of conventions, is often remarked upon in the public press. Since its God is the God of economy, it gets the greatest work accomplished with the least expenditure of energy. A remarkable feature of the organization, in view of all the work it gets done, is the fact that the great mass of its members are part-time preachers, although they are wholeheartedly devoted to Jehovah and serve him full time. But they have families, they have obligations, and most of them work part time at secular work and cannot spend all their time directly in the work of the organization.
WHAT IT MEANS TO MOVE AHEAD
2, 3. (a) What does moving ahead with Jehovah’s organization mean? (b) What is the relationship between moving ahead and being in the organization for a long time?
2 In Jehovah’s organization, moving ahead is not a matter of going ahead of others. It is not as in worldly organizations, where moving ahead often means replacing someone else and putting him out of a job; it means to move with the organization, to fit in, to fill in the needs, to be able to take on increased responsibilities. For, due to the rapid expansion of the organization, persons of this kind are continually in demand.
3 Moving ahead with the organization does not mean merely to be a hanger-on. Those in the truth should move ahead ever more rapidly as time goes on. Paul told the Hebrew Christians, at Hebrews 5:12: “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.”
4. How does the illustration of the human body show the need for moving ahead, and how does the apostle encourage it?
4 Paul also likened the organization to a human body: “Nevertheless, God compounded the body, giving honor more abundant to the part which had a lack, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the other members suffer with it; or if a member is glorified, all the other members rejoice with it.” (1 Cor. 12:24-26) Each one in the organization has his place and he is to be a useful member in that place. He cannot remain a spiritual baby for long. Parts of the human body do not stay infantile while the rest of the body grows. It is the wrong spirit, the spirit of the world, not to want to move ahead. The world’s attitude today is ‘Do as little as you can, just enough to get by.’ But the apostle says, at 1 Timothy 3:1: “If any man is reaching out for an office of overseer, he is desirous of a fine work.” So there is encouragement to move ahead, to prepare for responsibility. There is a need for persons who will take responsibility.
5. What do men do to achieve a human goal, and how should this incite us?
5 Just think of the efforts that men of the world exert to achieve their goal. We often hear the expression concerning such persons that they are “dedicated men.” They study for years; they may spend many years in college; they may start in an organization in a very low position; but they work, and their eyes are constantly on the goals they have set for themselves. They do not allow anything else to sidetrack or hinder them. Even after gaining positions of top responsibility, they do not slack their hand. They are even more energetic than ever—all this for a human goal. How much more zealous, then, should we be to move with an organization that is greater than the greatest corporation or even the greatest nation, an organization formed and blessed by the Creator of the universe, and to be used by him throughout eternity!
6. What principle applies in moving ahead, and what effect does moving ahead in the right way have on others?
6 So we are being trained now for greater things, and the principle applies that he that is faithful in small things will be faithful in greater things. (Luke 16:10; Matt. 25:21) It behooves us to be faithful in all things, to show ourselves truly dedicated ministers of God, to move ahead in the right way, the way that he outlines. This moving ahead does not push oneself at the expense of others, but, rather, it brings others along also. Take as fine examples the works that Jesus did in moving ahead, and the works and writings of Paul. Hundreds of thousands have been helped to move ahead by reason of their advancement.
7. Does moving ahead with the organization require great ability? Why?
7 But there are some who do not move ahead. Why is this? Well, some, for fear that it will involve so much, shy away from taking responsibilities. It seems like a mountain to them. But in reality, moving ahead with the organization is simple. In fact, it is more simple to move ahead, if we are going to stay with the organization, than it is to keep trying to evade responsibility. Of course, if we do not move ahead at all, we eventually will find ourselves outside the organization. It is not outstanding ability, or personality, or accomplishment that is required. Satan’s challenge to Jehovah God was not that he could not make able creatures, but that he could not find any of his creatures whose heart was fully right toward Him, who would serve wholeheartedly and fully maintain integrity to Him under all kinds of conditions. No, it is not what we have, but how we use what we have, that counts with God.
OBEDIENCE THE BASIC FACTOR
8. What is the thing required of us to move ahead, and what supplies the power to do so?
8 Is there a “secret” formula for moving ahead with the organization? No. But there is a basic thing we must have. This might be made clearer by an illustration. When we look at the universe we are amazed at its complexity. It puts us in awe. Yet we see so much orderliness. This led scientists to believe that there is some simple, basic formula underneath it. They found that all matter in the visible universe is composed of energy, and this relationship between energy and matter can be expressed by the simple formula E = mc2. The energy in a given piece of matter is equal to the mass times the speed of light squared. What, can we say, is the basic principle underlying the movement of Jehovah’s living organization? It can be expressed in one word: OBEDIENCE. Loving obedience from the heart is all. This is the basic formula upon which the organization rests and operates. The power to move ahead comes by Jehovah’s spirit, which he showers on his organization according to its obedience to Him. This is not due to the efficiency of the members of the organization. The Bible gives us many fine examples of this. One is that of Gideon. Gideon was not a man renowned for leadership or outstanding ability. He was a farmer. But he was obedient to Jehovah God, and Jehovah used him in a miraculous way to accomplish a great deliverance for Israel.—Judg. 6:15, 16, 27; 7:20-22.
9. How is moving ahead really a matter of our relationship to Jehovah?
9 So moving ahead is not a cold, calculated thing. It is a matter of coming closer to Jehovah, perfecting obedience, seeking and receiving Jehovah’s spirit. We are dedicated to him, not to the organization. He places us in the organization where we fit, and we can fit ourselves well by obedience.
10. How did Jesus set the example of obedience?
10 Look at the fine example of Jesus. No one in the heavens except Jehovah himself had greater power and ability to accomplish things. But in obedience “he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake.” (Phil. 2:7, 8) Even on earth he moved ahead, as it is stated: “He learned obedience from the things he suffered.”—Heb. 5:8.
EFFORT WITH POSITIVE ATTITUDE NECESSARY
11. What four factors will perfect obedience in us?
11 Of course, effort is needed. There are four things we must do to perfect obedience that will move us ahead: (1) Study of God’s Word; (2) zeal and effort in applying the things learned to our life and ministry; (3) continually seeking and following the lead of Jehovah’s holy spirit; (4) receiving help from other brothers in the organization. There are no shortcuts.
12. (a) How does the organization help us in the matter of study? (b) How can one prevent study from seeming like drudgery?
12 How will we put these four things into effect? First, study: We may think of study as hard work, as involving heavy research. But in Jehovah’s organization it is not necessary to spend a lot of time and energy in research, for there are brothers in the organization who are assigned to do that very thing, to help you who do not have so much time for this, these preparing the good material in The Watchtower and other publications of the Society. But you do not study enough? Take this suggestion: Often the very best and most beneficial studying you do is that done when you read a new Watchtower or Awake! or a new book with the joy of getting the new truths and a fresh view. You remember the points. You talk enthusiastically to others about them. So try this: Pick up each Watchtower or Awake! as it comes and read it, just for the joy and pleasure it gives. Remember, you are not sitting down to study, just to enjoy the information. This will increase your joy of reading and will give you incentive for more definite, organized study. Jehovah wants you to enjoy your study. He does not want it to be drudgery to you. He is the happy God, taking pleasure in providing all this rich spiritual food.—1 Tim. 1:11; Acts 20:35.
13. How should we face the problem of applying the things learned to our lives, and with what view of our assignments?
13 Second, how will you be successful in applying the things learned to your life and ministry? You may feel that your problem is the big exception. But everyone has obligations and responsibilities. Adopt the positive attitude. Sit down and decide which are your main responsibilities. Then put first things first. This will put your conscience at ease. Now, if you have assignments in the Theocratic Ministry School, public talks, assistance arrangement or others, allow them their proper place. Do not keep putting them off. Count it as a privilege. It is just as important to Jehovah for you to fulfill this privilege as it is for our brothers in concentration camps to be faithful. In fact, this kind of privilege is an opportunity for you, not only to be faithful under test, but, additionally, to build up others to move ahead. Take each assignment as a stepping-stone in moving ahead with Jehovah’s organization.
14, 15. How would one tackle and work out, for example, a ministry school assignment?
14 Let us say, for example, that you have an assignment in the Theocratic Ministry School. Can you do a really good job in your own strength? Of course not. Here the important third requirement comes in. Pray to Jehovah for his spirit to energize your mind. God is personally interested in your moving ahead. “God . . . will himself finish your training, he will make you firm, he will make you strong.” (1 Pet. 5:10) Knowing you have his backing, get down to business. Do it NOW! The present moment is golden. Once lost, it cannot be regained. Start your mind to working. The worry about things not done is much more burdensome than the doing of them. So begin to put down your thoughts on paper, however scattered they may seem to you. Now you have something to work with; you begin to feel that the load is lighter. The subject shapes up in your mind. Many times we have had assignments that we found difficult. We did not know where to start. But we got down to work; we began taking the first steps. Soon, we got into our subject matter and found it, not only easier than we thought, but really enjoyable! God’s spirit cooperated with our willing spirit.
15 When you have really applied your mind and effort to any job, if you find that further help is needed, this is the time to call on the fourth provision, the help of others. Following this procedure, you can accomplish any theocratic assignment. The seeming mountain will become a series of small stones.
16, 17. (a) How can we make the meetings a force in helping us to move ahead? (b) As we find weaknesses in our activity, what counsel gives timely discipline?
16 “Those who move ahead are the ones who have an interest in the congregation. Every meeting, every arrangement, has something to promote progress. Attend, listen, associate, participate. As you do, check on yourself and see how you stand. Are you weakening in one or more features of Jehovah’s service? Work on this weakness. Do this, and progress; maturity and privileges will increase faster than you ever imagined. Take the discipline of the wise man:
17 “I passed along by the field of the lazy individual and by the vineyard of the man in need of heart. And, look! all of it produced weeds. Nettles covered its very surface, and its stone wall itself had been torn down. So I proceeded to behold, I myself; I began taking it to heart; I saw, I took the discipline: A little sleeping, a little slumbering, a little folding of the hands to lie down, and as a highwayman your poverty will certainly come and your neediness as an armed man.”—Prov. 24:30-34.
A STANDARD FOR MOVING AHEAD
18, 19. What standard does Paul set for us to go by, and how can we examine ourselves and proceed according to that standard?
18 Paul sets the proper standard for moving ahead, at Philippians 3:13-16: “Forgetting the things behind and stretching forward to the things ahead, I am pursuing down toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God by means of Christ Jesus. Let us, then, as many of us as are mature, be of this mental attitude; and if you are mentally inclined otherwise in any respect, God will reveal the above attitude to you. At any rate, to what extent we have made progress, let us go on walking orderly in this same routine.”
19 If we make efforts God is willing to help us and to reveal the proper attitude to us, the attitude that Christ and Paul had. And we can use the apostle’s counsel to examine to what extent we have made progress. We can ask ourselves the question: Where have I made progress that I count as real progress? Has it been in the secular world? work I have done? money I have made? Is it a college education? Just where is it? Jehovah’s witnesses will answer: ‘It is the progress that I have made in Jehovah’s service and in the advancement I have made with his organization.’ Are you able to give a sermon at the doors? That is advancement. Do you fulfill your assignments in the Theocratic Ministry School or service meeting? Are you a servant or an assistant? Do you give public talks? Any of these things are real advancements. Paul says for us to consider to what extent we made advancement, then to go on walking orderly in this same routine, so as to keep it.
20. (a) If you feel you are not moving ahead, whom should you check on? (b) How is the need for patience illustrated, and how may patience in accepting discipline prove to be beneficial to us later on?
20 In Jehovah’s organization you do not push yourself higher. God is the One who promotes. (Ps. 75:6, 7) If you do not feel that you are moving ahead, then look at yourself, check yourself, not someone else. Do not feel that someone else is holding you back, that someone else is to blame, perhaps certain servants. Additionally, be patient. It is not necessarily positions in the congregation that denote progress, but it is the blessings of Jehovah. This is particularly true of the sisters, who are not privileged to hold the positions in the congregation that the brothers may hold, but who receive marvelous blessings in their work of preaching and helping others, including their families. Think of Moses. After forty years of Scriptural and secular training he felt that it was the time for him to deliver Israel from bondage. But God’s purpose was to train him yet forty more years. (Acts 7:25, 29, 30) David was anointed king by Samuel when David was but a “cub,” a young lad, yet he had years of severe trials ahead before he qualified to take kingship over God’s nation Israel. (Gen. 49:9) Jesus, to qualify for the heavenly kingship of the kingdom of God, received the severest training and testing of all. So be patient, be willing to receive Jehovah’s training and discipline. (Heb. 12:11) Remember, he knows our formation. (Ps. 103:13, 14) He knows what each of us individually needs; sometimes we do not know we need it. Training now may save us from very serious mistakes later. Allow the training to make over your personality.—Eph. 4:23, 24; Col. 3:9, 10.
YOU CAN HELP OTHERS TO MOVE AHEAD
21. (a) How must we widen out, and how does this benefit us? (b) How can we display a positive attitude toward the activity of the congregation?
21 One of the most important things in Christian advancement is that you cannot move ahead if you are not interested in others’ moving ahead. Peter tells us: “Have love for the whole association of brothers.” (1 Pet. 2:17) So be interested in the progress of the congregation, but not only the congregation—the circuit also and the entire organization; in our love we must “widen out.” (2 Cor. 6:12, 13) Keep alive to the worldwide aspect of the organization. Live the truth; it is a way of life. Those interested in others get to know the brothers so well; they know their needs and problems; they develop empathy. They move ahead as they aid others to move ahead with the organization. Strive for a friendly atmosphere at the Kingdom Hall and the book-study meeting places. In speaking about the meetings, the field service, do so with joy. Have the positive, not the negative attitude. At Ephesians 4:29 we are advised to employ “whatever saying is good for building up as the need may be, that it may impart what is favorable to the hearers.”
SERVANTS, HELP OTHERS
22, 23. What do the servants have a big share in promoting in the congregation, and what are some ways in which this can be done?
22 Servants can have a big share in helping others to move ahead. Do everything you can to promote the right spirit in the congregation. At 1 Thessalonians 5:23 we read: “And sound in every respect may the spirit and soul and body of you brothers be preserved in a blameless manner at the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So a congregation has a spirit, a mental attitude, a spiritual inclination. You can discern this spirit when you visit a congregation. Help the congregation to develop the attitude of Christ.
23 Some of the ways in which this can be done are: When meeting attendance is good, give the congregation commendation. Speak about the blessings, the joys, the benefits when so many meet together. If commenting is good, express appreciation for the fine participation and the evidence of good preparation. When certain features of service activity are improved, commend the congregation and make appreciative remarks concerning it.
24. How can servants help individuals to move ahead?
24 Show personal interest in the progress of individuals. Give each one greater privileges as he qualifies. Remember the three kinds of training that the brothers need: First, field service training; second, organizational training; third, training in dealing lovingly and tactfully with the brothers.
25. What primary benefit do we get from moving ahead in the right way?
25 If we move ahead in Jehovah’s appointed way for his organization, we will be pleasing, not men, but the One who counts, our God. His smile means happiness and life. Paul said to the Hebrew Christians: “Now may the God of peace . . . equip you with every good thing to do his will, performing in us through Jesus Christ that which is well-pleasing in his sight.”—Heb. 13:20, 21.
26. What does moving ahead with the organization mean as to prospects for the future?
26 Doing this, we will build a strong bulwark of maturity for tests and trials to come. A greater witness will be given. We will have a feeling of accomplishment and greater faith in Jehovah for further assignments. We will have abounding joy, the joy of helping others to move ahead, with the glorious hope of life in the new order of things, and usefulness in a far greater capacity, when perfection will be attained.