Recognizing the Part Played by Jehovah’s Organization
“One isolating himself will seek his own selfish longing; against all practical wisdom he will break forth.”—Prov. 18:1.
1. What craving did Jehovah put within human creatures, and what happens when this cannot be satisfied properly?
WHEN Jehovah God created man and then created his helpmate woman, he purposed that they should multiply their kind upon the earth and fill the earth. In time, the earth would be teeming with perfect human creatures, yet not overfilled. It was not God’s will that any should live lives that were unrelated to others. They were to live as one huge happy family of God, each being concerned for and having regard for those around him, Man is gregarious by nature. We all love the association of others. One of the extreme means of punishment is to put a person in solitary confinement. Some of God’s servants have thus been treated and it became necessary to call upon all the resources at their disposal to keep their spiritual and mental equilibrium. They were alone as to their relationship With other human creatures, but Jehovah strengthened them for the ordeal by his spirit. He caused them to remember the things that they had studied beforehand in his Word and all the counsel and encouragement that had been received previously in association with God’s people. By continually going over these things in their minds, they kept their faith strong and filled the need for association with others so that they were able to maintain their spiritual balance.
2. How has Jehovah taken note of the needs of his servants in arranging for them to be associated with others of his creatures?
2 Nevertheless, the fact remains that man cannot easily maintain his mental balance if cut off for long periods of time from association with his fellow creatures. We crave association, good companionship. How well this emphasizes the importance of Jehovah’s provisions through his organization! We need his spirit and we need his Word, but we also need the benefits of his organization if we are successfully to gain life in his new order. Jehovah lovingly brings us together and has us cooperate as a body, with mutual benefits to all the members. Not only this, but we are brought into association with Jehovah, with his Son, Jesus Christ, and with the millions of other heavenly creatures. These heavenly creatures are closely associated with Jehovah in carrying out his purpose and they are his heavenly organization, referred to symbolically as his wife. We as human creatures can have the motherlike attentions of his wifely organization, if we put ourselves in a position to receive these. We cannot feel the presence of the angels and they do not materialize to help us today as they did in Bible times, but they, nevertheless, are there to minister to our needs.—Heb. 1:7, 14; Ps. 34:7; Matt. 18:10.
3. (a) Who logically make up the nucleus of Jehovah’s visible organization? (b) What is involved in their taking care of all the Master’s interests in the earth?
3 Logically the visible part of Jehovah’s organization is built around those remaining of the spirit-begotten disciples who will, in time, be in heaven with Christ Jesus as part of the heavenly government. Jesus prophetically foretold that they would be busily serving up spiritual food at the proper time when he arrived the second time. In harmony with his words at Matthew 24:45-47, they have now been given charge of all the Master’s kingdom interests on earth, not only to supply spiritual food to the household of faith, based on God’s Word, but to supervise the preaching work world wide and to care well for all the “great crowd” of right-hearted ones who are coming into their midst to be taught of Jehovah. (Isa. 2:2-4) A great dividing work is being done, with the “sheep” being divided to the one side for life and the “goats” to the other for death. How each individual responds to the message of Christ’s “brothers,” the spirit-begotten ones making up this “faithful and discreet slave,” will dictate on which side he will be placed. (Matt. 25:31-46) The sheeplike ones are glad that Jehovah has left a remnant of these “brothers” on the earth to take the lead in worship and to serve as a channel through which so many tangible benefits are dispensed to help them gain life.
4. As to becoming a part of an organization, what is the trend of most people in the world?
4 The trend today among many moderns who adopt the spirit of this world is to avoid being part of an organization. To them this is regimentation and deprives them of their freedom. They protest, they rebel, they riot, they challenge by disobeying and otherwise show their opposition to any restraints that society in general imposes. Rebellion against God and against reasonable regulations may make one less conscious of sin when indulging the weaknesses of the body and may give one a feeling he is not restrained by other individuals or the rules of an organization, but he grows old and dies just like those of preceding generations. The principles of God and his requirements for life do not change as a result of a person’s changes in philosophical views or norms of conduct.—Prov. 19:20, 21; 1 Pet. 2:16; Gal. 6:7, 8.
5. In throwing off all restraints, what does one fail to realize? What will a wise son do?
5 A rebellious son may leave the well-ordered home of his father because of not liking the necessary restraints and conditions under which he is allowed to live there. He may choose to disregard all the instruction given to him by his parents, thinking thereby to get “real freedom.” But what father who has a natural love for all his children would not hope that the rebellious son would carefully consider his immature course and see that he was not really gaining freedom but was striking out on a long road of hardship, heartache and perhaps a disgraceful death? Somewhere along the line, if he did not change, his life would likely end in violence or with him a disillusioned mental wreck. How different from the wise son who responds to needed discipline, grows to maturity under the loving tutelage of his parents and then takes his place in the larger organization, the congregation or community, as a useful, happy person!—Luke 15:11-32.
6. Jehovah’s organization might be likened to what, and how does being organized facilitate all things being cared for efficiently?
6 Jehovah has, therefore, wisely provided that his people should be working together in an organized way like a family with himself as Father and Head. This is done, not to unduly restrict our freedom, but to help us to use our God-given freedom in a right way. We enjoy meeting together to talk about God’s Word and have it explained to us. We are strengthened when we work together in carrying out our commission to preach the good news to all in our community. In being brought together, we learn how each one is faring in his service to Jehovah, so that we can carry the burdens of one another, yet not prying unduly into one another’s private lives. How would we be able to carry on all these essentials of the Christian ministry without working together as an organization? Moreover, what confusion would come about if Jehovah were dealing with each of us individually, giving this one a new truth and that one a revelation; or that one an interpretation and this one a commission of work, all independent of one another! Rather, Jehovah has seen fit to work through his organization in providing food for all at the proper time. Unifying service instructions are given so that all might work together in preaching the good news efficiently and to accomplish the best results.—1 Cor. 14:26-33, 40; Rom. 15:1, 2; Eph. 4:16.
7. What is more important than the location of the headquarters of the earthly organization?
7 Today Jehovah’s witnesses are found in 199 lands. There are 96 branches, all tied in with the central headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, namely, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. There the work of the governing body of anointed ones is centered, and from here they give supervision to the preaching world wide and the preparation of publications containing spiritual food. If Jehovah had not long ago tested out and cleansed his people and put his spirit upon them, and if they were not working closely in harmony with his Word, they would be no different from any other religious body that was incorporated to carry on a work. They know that where the headquarters is located is not the important thing, or even the name of the corporation. However, the central organization is located in New York city because of the definite advantages in getting the good news printed and distributed world wide rapidly. Location was important to the Samaritans as well as the Jews, this prompting the Samaritan woman to say to Jesus: “‘Our forefathers worshiped in this mountain; but you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where persons ought to worship.’ Jesus said to her: ‘Believe me, woman, The hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you people worship the Father. . . . the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him. God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.’” (John 4:20-24) So location is not the important thing. It is you with God’s spirit!
8. How are Jehovah’s witnesses organized on the community level?
8 Wherever a person is in the earth, then, it does not matter. Neither do we have to face in a certain direction or assume a certain pose in worshiping the Father. Orderliness, but not empty ritual! The main thing is, What is in our hearts? Our spirit or motivating force must be in harmony with God’s Word of truth and responding to his holy spirit. We must love Jehovah with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Yet this complete devotion to God does not crowd out the obligation to love our neighbor as we do ourselves, and even to love our enemies. To do this, we cannot worship God and carry out his commission of work independently of others who are doing the same thing. Hence, Jehovah’s witnesses, wherever they are, have the privilege of working with a congregation organized under the supervision of the governing body of Jehovah’s witnesses. Where there are only one or two in a group, and a congregation has not yet been formed, they receive benefits directly from headquarters and visits from traveling representatives as they have group studies and visit others with the good news. Even behind the Iron Curtain our brothers see the need to have their group meetings regularly and to preach to others systematically, although at the risk of their lives.
BENEFITS TO YOU PERSONALLY
9. How would one be assisted by the organization on first being contacted?
9 Let us take a typical congregation and assume that you became associated with that congregation in a way similar to that of thousands of others of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses who have become associated. What benefits would you have received and would you continue to receive from Jehovah’s organization in your quest for life in his new system of things? First of all, very likely you were brought the hope of everlasting life by a member of the local congregation who came to your door and gave a brief Bible sermon to stimulate your interest in the Bible and then left with you some Bible literature prepared by the organization. A small territory assignment had been made up including your home and it was issued to that member by the congregation. Like all other ministers throughout the world, he was preaching the good news therein according to instructions received through the organization, which, among other practical points, suggested that he try to reach every person in the territory with the message of God’s kingdom and to follow up any interest shown with return visits and Bible studies. He did return and studied with you for a period.
10. How would one be assisted by the meetings and by association with others in the congregation?
10 In time, as you took in knowledge and your appreciation grew, you responded to an invitation to come to one of the meetings of the congregation. You saw, as you attended more frequently, that these were all arranged so that there was a balanced spiritual diet. The deeper things from God’s Word were received along with general encouragement and counsel. New truths were learned and there was refreshment in reviewing old ones. (Matt. 13:52) There was instruction on how to carry out the ministry. Your appreciation of God’s channel for dispensing “food at the proper time” increased steadily. You listened to others speak from the platform and then you joined in commenting when there was audience participation. Later you enrolled in the Theocratic Ministry School to receive special training in speaking, composition, Bible research, refutation, and so forth. There was a different spirit here, and you enjoyed this Christian association. All this built you up spiritually and prepared you for future service. All these benefits you began to receive because you had begun to associate with Jehovah’s organization.—Heb. 10:23-25.
11. What provision does the organization make to help all ‘make public declaration for salvation’?
11 As your knowledge of Jehovah’s requirements grew, it became clear to you that being a member of the congregation of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses did not mean that you were just a part of the laity, requiring no more than to listen and put money in a collection plate. In fact, you never saw a collection plate passed at any of the meetings. You were learning that your faith was, not a dead faith, but one that was alive. You wanted to tell others about the good things you were learning, You accepted the invitation extended by the one teaching you to accompany him from house to house in the witnessing work. You learned the best ways of carrying on the ministry by doing the talking. Thus you availed yourself of another training arrangement in the organization that helped you to be a better minister of God.—Acts 20:20, 21; Heb. 13:15, 16; Jas. 1:22-25.
12. What organizational benefits are provided by the overseers and ministerial servants?
12 You noticed early in your association that the congregation had appointed servants who ministered to the needs of the congregation. Before they were appointed by the governing body, they had to measure up to Bible standards for overseers and ministerial assistants. (1 Tim. 3:1-10, 12, 13) They were not bosses; neither did they expect nor want the adulation of those whom they served. None were paid for their willing service in behalf of their brothers. How different from the leaders in the many sects of Christendom! These busied themselves with preparation of meetings, discourses and schedules of work. They took the initiative in providing a reasonable place to meet and the supplies for carrying on the preaching work. Necessary records were kept and checked to see how the congregation was doing collectively and whether any individual needed some special help from mature ones in some way. The sick and infirm were visited and ministered to as needed.—John 13:12-17; Heb. 13:7.
13. How does the organization help with problems encountered in growing to maturity?
13 As you grew toward Christian maturity, some problems were encountered, you became discouraged a time or two; you might even have had a few misunderstandings with some of your spiritual brothers and sisters. But you saw the need to keep your faith strong, to apply Bible principles. (Col. 3:12-14) You learned. You were being trained. You wanted to please God and gain the prize of life. The appointed servants in the congregation were there to help in all these situations. They were not there to take away your Christian freedom, but they were interested in helping all to work together in peace and to protect the congregation from any spiritual or immoral danger, remembering Peter’s counsel: “Shepherd the flock of God in your care, not under compulsion, but willingly; neither for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly; neither as lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock.”—1 Pet. 5:2, 3.
14. How does the organization provide benefits through assemblies?
14 You recall the first circuit servant’s visit and how he helped the congregation with suggestions for improving the ministry and with encouraging discourses. You attended your first circuit assembly, and then a large convention in a nearby city. You sent for a rooming assignment from the rooming department of the convention and you volunteered to work in the convention organization. It was here at the convention that you symbolized your dedication to do Jehovah’s will by being immersed in water along with many others. What outstanding spiritual benefits that you will never forget! Who made all these arrangements? It was Jehovah’s faithful organization, not unlike the arrangements made in a similar way by Jehovah for the nation of Israel and the early Christian congregation.—1 Sam. 7:16; Deut. 16:16; Acts 2:41, 42; 13:2-4; 14:21-28.
15. What does one come to appreciate about Jehovah’s organization, as to its purpose in the earth?
15 The need for working closely with Jehovah’s organization and appreciating all the benefits provided by it became more and more apparent to you as you saw Jehovah’s hand in all the arrangements. This was an organization, not out just to get members, but one to help a person get life. From the governing body to the servants in the local congregation, all were your spiritual brothers interested in getting Jehovah’s will accomplished in the best way and making sure that all received of the spiritual benefits that Jehovah is progressively giving to his people. Every publication, every branch office, every factory, every school, every meeting, every preaching campaign was designed to get ‘the good news preached in all the world as a witness.’ This was and is the chartered purpose of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, the legal agency used by Jehovah’s witnesses, and it has no other purpose for being in existence. The more you examined Jehovah’s visible organization, the more you could see that it operated just as the early Christian congregation did during the days of the apostles.—Matt. 28:18-20; 24:14; Acts 15:6, 22-29; 16:4, 5.
16. In bringing brothers and sisters together, how does the organization help one in cultivating love and other fruits of the spirit?
16 What valuable blessings and experiences you were having by associating with Jehovah’s organization! If you had not met with and worked with your spiritual brothers and sisters, there would have been few opportunities to cultivate your love for them. You would not have seen opportunities to assist others as you grew stronger and were able to help those who needed it. Likewise, you would not have come into view so that your weaknesses could be seen and thus you could be assisted to overcome these so that you might be a better servant of Jehovah. Were you shy and timid in the presence of others? Then giving comments at meetings and preaching publicly helped you greatly in speaking to others. It became a joy rather than something to avoid. Were you quick tempered? Others had to bear with you for a little while as you cultivated self-control and worked for a mild temper, but working with others and receiving their help and patience helped you to conquer this. Whatever the problem or situation, you found over the years that it was better coped with by closely associating with and availing yourself of the many benefits of Jehovah’s organization.—1 Thess. 5:11; Gal. 6:2.
17. What are some common situations facing various ones in Jehovah’s organization?
17 As you got better acquainted with others you saw that they, too, had problems or weaknesses on which they were working in addition to newfound joys and privileges from Jehovah. This one’s health posed a problem; another had some difficulty keeping ahead financially. This one had a tendency to be anxious over little things; another did not take things seriously enough. This sister had an opposing mate; that father had a boy who was rebellious at times. This one was becoming a little weary in well-doing; another did not seem to have enough time to get everything accomplished. Here was a brother who could not decide whether to marry now. There was one skilled in a profession who found it difficult to break free in order to enter the preaching work full time. This one was having a battle with some fleshly weakness. It was like a thorn in the flesh. Another found it difficult to face persecution or opposition. ‘This one had a worldly habit that was deeply ingrained, which he was fighting to overcome; that one’s wife was somewhat sensitive and became easily offended. This young sister was developing some outside interest that was dividing her mind; this servant was beginning to feel somewhat loaded down with responsibility and found it difficult to keep balanced.
18. How do all these situations come about, and why is it necessary to stay close to Jehovah’s organization in order to cope with them?
18 Jehovah had not caused any of these situations, yet he allowed them. Some they brought upon themselves and, with good judgment, could have been avoided; others came despite what they could do. Some were caused by the Devil having his agents on earth bring opposition, but to a large extent they were situations all common to life and arose because of imperfection and trying to live for the new system of things, while still living in the old. If they tried to work all these out day by day in isolation from Jehovah’s organization, they would never make it. You now could see very clearly that we need the instruction, the counsel, the encouragement, the loving help of our brothers. Weaning ourselves away from God’s organization leaves us lonely “sheep” in a cold world that cares nothing for us. (1 Pet. 4:7-11) Being in contact with bad associations continually without renewing ourselves by regular association with Jehovah’s witnesses, we would soon cool off in our love for Jehovah and in our zeal for his true worship. (2 Pet. 2:20) We would just be swallowed up by the world again and go down with it.—Prov. 18:1.
19. What must we recognize about the three main provisions of Jehovah, his spirit, his Word and his organization?
19 Now here we are at the present and looking into the future. Will we keep enduring and appreciating all the provisions Jehovah makes by his spirit, his Word and his organization? All three work together to give us daily blessings and benefits without which we just cannot be. But remember, much depends upon how each of us takes advantage of these. We have to watch our spirit and never let the spirit of this world begin to influence us. We must submit to the leadings of Jehovah’s holy spirit. We must study his Word both privately and congregationally. We must let it be a real force in our lives. We must appreciate Jehovah’s Christian organization and work closely with it. Let us never slight any of these benefits. They have been provided by the Life-giver, knowing what we need in order to have everlasting life.