The Sad Result of Negative Thinking
IT IS a dangerous thing, generally, to have a negative viewpoint, and it is particularly dangerous when a person is negative toward the things of God. One who is negative can turn to bitter thinking and can actually become wicked.
Such a person is also usually sluggish, getting very little done. To avoid doing a thing the negative thinker, the sluggish individual, will make excuses to justify his course. “The lazy one has said: ‘There is a lion outside! In the midst of the public squares I shall be murdered!’”—Prov. 22:13.
Of such a person’s outcome, the Bible says: “I passed along by the field of the lazy individual and by the vineyard of the man in need of heart [or, good motive]. 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.
The Proverbs have a spiritual as well as a literal application. Persons such as the Proverbs describe may have started off with a right spirit and attitude, but then they develop a negative outlook toward righteous acts and works. So it calls for careful watchfulness on our part to avoid developing that deplorable spirit.—Prov. 4:23.
THE UNAPPRECIATIVE SLAVE
Such a spiritually negative person, or, rather, such a class of persons, is described in Jesus’ parable of the “talents.” In previous issues we have discussed the two faithful slaves mentioned in the parable, who received five talents and two talents, respectively. The third slave received one talent (a talent being a unit of silver money). But, since his master gave each “according to his own ability,” this third slave was under no handicap. The other slaves each made a 100-percent gain on the monies entrusted to them while their master was gone. The one-talent slave could have done likewise and thus have been pleasing to his lord; he did not have to gain five, or even as much as two talents.
But what did he do? The parable reads: “But the one that received just one went off, and dug in the ground and hid the silver money of his master.” (Matt. 25:18) His failure to make increase was his own fault; he did not exert himself as did his fellow slaves. When his master returned to settle accounts, what excuse did he give? He complained: “Master, I knew you to be an exacting man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you did not winnow. So I grew afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.”—Matt. 25:24, 25.
In his negative thinking this slave tried to justify himself when the accounting was made. He tried to place wrongdoing on his lord. He charged his lord with getting crops, not only from his own land, but also from land he had not cultivated, and gathering grain that he had not winnowed of its chaff. His false reasoning was that the master had suffered no loss by his action—after all, he gave back the one talent. But this slave was unfaithful, because he accepted the money as a slave with the understanding that it should bring in profits. He no doubt accepted all the benefits that went with being a slave of his master, but he had no love for his master or consideration for his master’s belongings. Actually he caused his master a loss.
The slave’s master turned the tables on him, taking the slave’s own trumped-up excuse and using it to expose him: “In reply his master said to him, ‘Wicked and sluggish slave, you knew, did you, that I reaped where I did not sow and gathered where I did not winnow? Well, then, you ought to have deposited my silver monies with the bankers, and on my arrival I would be receiving what is mine with interest.’”—Matt. 25:26, 27.
MODERN-DAY SLUGGISH SLAVE
We have found in previous articles that the two faithful slaves represent, in the fulfillment, the faithful spirit-begotten brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The wicked slave, then, would represent those who likewise are spirit-begotten, anointed Christians, but who fail actually to care for the “belongings” entrusted to the “slaves” by their Master.
The sectarian church members of Christendom have falsely professed to be in the Lord’s service. But they showed no interest at all in the Lord’s “belongings” when World War I, in which they had participated, ended, and there was opportunity to preach the good news of the Kingdom world wide. What, instead, did they do? They supported the League of Nations, a man-made agency that the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America called “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” Now they direct people’s attention and support to the United Nations as the world’s hope for peace. They showed the Lord’s “belongings” had not been committed to them, for they have not cultivated the world field and brought forth real supporters of the established Messianic kingdom.—Isa. 9:6, 7.
However, among spirit-begotten ones associated with the “faithful slave” class, there was a class who sluggishly drew back. By 1931, when the name “Jehovah’s witnesses” was adopted by the remnant actually doing the work of proclaiming the established kingdom of God, these negative ones had formed themselves into various groups called by diverse names. They did not boldly proclaim the Kingdom and stand for the name of the Almighty God, Jehovah. Moreover, they actually opposed those doing this work. They did not share in the terrible sufferings that Jehovah’s witnesses experienced in the concentration camps, as well as the persecution in other parts of the earth. They fit the picture!
This unfaithful class does not have any proof that they have increased the Lord’s “belongings” by spreading the Kingdom message. They have not experienced the blessings of tremendous expansion. But in the years 1968-1972, there were 680,871 persons baptized, to join with Jehovah’s witnesses in proclaiming the Kingdom to others. The evidence is there as to whom Jehovah God is blessing. The faithful ones do not believe, as the wicked “slave” charged, that Jesus Christ is improperly reaping where he himself, when personally on earth, had not sown.
Note the punishment that the wicked and sluggish “slave” received at the hand of his master because of his negative thinking, his fearfulness and laziness, and his effort to justify a wrong course. His master said: “Therefore take away the talent from him and give it to him that has the ten talents. For to everyone that has, more will be given and he will have abundance; but as for him that does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw the good-for-nothing slave out into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.”—Matt. 25:28-30.
Evidently the master settled accounts with his slaves in the nighttime. Instead of entering into his master’s joy, the wicked slave was thrown outside. The master’s belongings entrusted to him, which he did not value and appreciate, were taken from him and given to the slave who had gained five talents, where these money values would be increased.
In the fulfillment, we can see that all Christ’s anointed “slaves” are provided a warning. Those of the wicked “slave” class do not enter into the joy of their enthroned Master, being retained in his further royal service here on earth as representatives of an already established Kingdom. This sluggish slave does not enjoy any further assignment to increase adherents to the Kingdom. When the death-dealing darkness of the “great tribulation” comes upon mankind those belonging to this class will weep and gnash their teeth with the religious hypocrites until they perish.—Matt. 24:21.
The faithful “slaves” have in themselves that which the wicked and sluggish “slave” does not. The committing of the valuable “belongings” of the reigning King and their opportunity to increase these “belongings” rouse in them a zeal and devotion to his kingdom. They believe in the heavenly Master’s worthiness to receive an increase in disciple-making. They demonstrate a loving, courageous motive in making disciples of people of all the nations, not merely the Jewish nation in which Christ worked when on earth.
DANGER TO ALL DEVELOPING NEGATIVE ATTITUDE
Even those of the “great crowd,” who have hope of living on earth with health and life under that Kingdom government, have the same attitude as the faithful anointed “slaves” of the Lord Jesus Christ, with whom they associate. They express loving-kindness, appreciation, courage and zeal by word and action as they become assistants to the faithful anointed class. They know that negative thinking, drawing back, becoming bitter and making excuses to justify themselves will put them in a position similar to that of the wicked and sluggish “slave.” This attitude would prevent them from surviving on earth through the “great tribulation.” Furthermore, any of them dying as unfaithful now would not be resurrected to live in the paradise that the Kingdom rule will bring to earth.—Rev. 7:9-17; Zeph. 2:3.
Thus we can see the danger of a negative approach to the Lord’s matters. In this time of judgment he will not let continue to associate with his faithful people any who are lazy or faultfinding. Their situation will prove to be like the one observed by the writer of Proverbs—broken down, weed-producing, so that their opportunity of work in the Lord’s congregations will be lost to them, their ‘poverty coming as a highwayman and their neediness as an armed man,’ suddenly. Happy are all who think positively, in faith and devotion to the commands of Jehovah through Christ today!