Humility Urged at Gilead Graduation
ON Monday, March 6, 1972, at 2 p.m. two thousand and one persons packed out Jehovah’s Witnesses Assembly Hall in New York city. The occasion? The graduation of the 52nd class of the Watchtower Bible School of Gilead.
Presiding over the program was N. H. Knorr, president of the school. After opening song and prayer Brother Knorr made some remarks on the youthfulness and enthusiasm of this class of students.
A series of brief talks followed, given by Gilead instructors and others. The first of these talks pointed out that there was no identity crisis among the Witnesses as is admittedly the case among others professing to be Christian ministers. The second speaker stressed the importance of concern for the well-being of one’s Christian brothers. He was followed by one who warned against looking back longingly, as this resulted in self-pity and discouragement. The next talk showed the importance of Bible-trained thinking ability in making decisions. Still another speaker emphasized humility, lowliness of mind, and encouraged the missionaries to accept the people in their missionary assignment. The final one of these brief talks reminded the missionaries of what happiness is in store because of having set wise goals for themselves.
Next, a number of messages, including cablegrams and telegrams, were read, after which F. W. Franz, vice-president of the Watch Tower Society, spoke. He stressed the seriousness of their commitment, their dedication as God’s servants. He also discussed in detail Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, regarding vows. Among other things he noted that the “dreams” there mentioned that come from ‘a multitude of business’ do not refer to dreams one has while sleeping because of a busy day. Rather these are selfish personal dreams that result when one gets sidetracked from God’s service and becomes involved in materialistic activities. To allow this to happen would produce a lot of “vanities” and “words” in self-justification. He closed by stressing the importance of fearing “the true God” as a help to being true to their missionary assignment.
Then came the main graduation talk, given by N. H. Knorr. He briefly reviewed the history of the missionary school and the wonderful work that graduates have accomplished. Since the School’s inception on February 1, 1943, well over five thousand students have graduated, about one half of whom are still actively engaged in the full-time ministry.
The speaker noted that in the Greek the expression “cling to what is good” is, literally, ‘glued to what is good’ and urged the students to be glued to their assignments. (Rom. 12:9, 11; Kingdom Interlinear Translation) Enduring means not only to put up with hardships but to continue a long time in a certain course, he said. Today, after 29 years, 36 of the first hundred Gilead students are continuing in the full-time ministry somewhere.
Brother Knorr particularly stressed the need of the missionaries to be humble, lowly in mind, when teaching others. For them to try to impress others by telling of their education and special training could well deter people from trying to imitate them in the field ministry. Rather, “your humility and lowliness of mind will aid them to understand,” he counseled. As Jesus helped those literally blind to see, so the missionaries can help those spiritually blind to see, and this will contribute to the vindication of Jehovah’s name. In conclusion Brother Knorr urged: “We appreciate very much that we must have lowliness of mind, we must be willing to give. You have the truth. As you go forth—GIVE.”
In the evening the students presented a fine musical program, which was followed by a Biblical drama that also stressed the need for Christians to be humble, lowly in mind toward one another.