“Keep the Upright One in Sight”
1. (a) What kind of persons did the psalmist David say to watch? (b) Are there such persons living today?
THE psalmist David appreciated the value of taking special interest in those who try to be like God, for he wrote: “Watch the blameless one and keep the upright one in sight, for the future of that man will be peaceful.” (Ps. 37:37) There are many such persons, all of them busy in the service of God. What a joy it has been over the years to hear about those who have been walking in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, devoting themselves to the preaching of the good news, and trying with great effort to be like Jesus Christ, who was like his Father. Their preaching and their stick-to-itiveness in taking the right course bring many persons to God, as the following examples show.
PRACTICING SEXUAL MORALITY AND HONESTY
2. After a public talk on sexual morality, what conversation did the speaker have with two persons who were present?
2 A brother who had the privilege of giving a public talk in a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses was advocating the high principles that God sets for man to follow; he also emphasized God’s love. During his talk he dwelt considerably on the immorality of mankind, stressing the thought that the marriage bed should not be defiled by fornication. (Heb. 13:4) After this very interesting talk, a man and his wife came up to the speaker and asked several questions, among which was this: ‘If a man cannot commit fornication, what can he do?’ His question was not too far off from the normal thoughts of men in the world. Even back in the apostle Paul’s day Paul said that because of the prevalence of fornication each man should have his own wife. (1 Cor. 7:2) So the speaker explained to the couple that sex is not a plaything; marriage is a very serious institution, started by Jehovah God back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were made “one flesh.” The speaker went into further detail, explaining that even Christ Jesus referred to the first marriage, and that this is an arrangement of God and should remain clean and that the marriage bed should not be defiled. (Matt. 19:4-6) If a man truly loves his wife, and the wife the husband, and they follow the high principles set forth in God’s Word, their consciences will be clear. They will thus have a happy marriage, and they will be free from the kind of disease that is prevalent in the world today because of immorality and promiscuity. The trio had quite an interesting discussion, and in the end the speaker suggested that they have a home Bible study.
3. (a) Five weeks later, what question did the young man raise? (b) How did he decide to handle the problem, and why?
3 Five weeks later the young man, who was now studying the Bible very seriously, asked his teacher a serious question. He said: “Last June a friend of mine had a accident and he smashed his truck. He asked me to say that I was the driver of the truck so that he could get insurance money. At the time it did not make a bit of difference to me, and I said I would say that. However, since then the insurance company has taken the matter to court, and all the witnesses must come in. If I got on the stand and held to my original story I would be lying, and this is not in harmony with God’s Word. After my study of the Word of God my conscience would not allow me to lie.” Of course, this individual’s question was, “What shall I do now?” After a discussion of Bible principles on honesty and truthfulness, the young man decided to pay the damages for the truck and have the man that owned the truck withdraw his claim against the insurance company. (John 8:44; Heb. 13:18) That canceled the lawsuit. The young man now has a clear conscience and is trying to be more like God, who is righteous. (1 Pet. 3:12) The love of this man for truthfulness made great changes in his life and now he is going from house to house preaching the good news of God’s kingdom.
4. Thus, what were this couple doing in order to become more like God?
4 What does such an experience tell us? By studying the Bible, even though they had been doing so for just five weeks, this couple were trying to make over their lives, trying to be more like God, who created Adam and Eve. They are endeavoring to live upright lives. They want to be in harmony with God’s principles. Fornication and greediness have no place in their lives any longer.—Rom. 12:2; Eph. 5:5.
CHRISTIAN LOVE ATTRACTS
5. (a) What quality does James 2:8 encourage us to show? (b) As told at an assembly in England, how did a Witness manifest such love?
5 To be like God, love for other people must be prominent in our lives. There are many ways in which people can show love of neighbor. (Jas. 2:8) An experience was related at an assembly in Sheffield, England, in the summer of 1975. The lady giving the experience said this: “A feeling of complete emptiness entered my life two years ago when my husband walked out on me and my six-year-old son. I had no family to turn to for help. I was sick; I was financially embarrassed. There was no fuel in the house to keep us warm. Then a neighbor dropped in to make a telephone call. Noticing my condition, she returned with a flask of coffee and some cakes. She collected some medicine for me and later returned with a bucket of wood and generally helped me in a number of ways, and all of this cheered me up.
6. What further steps contributed to the woman’s spiritual progress?
6 “I was amazed at all of this, because I knew that this neighbor of mine was one of Jehovah’s witnesses. I had always kept clear of her because I thought the Witnesses were different in some way. But this very neighborly act was something that made me realize how natural they are. Our friendship grew and a few weeks later she invited me to the Kingdom Hall for the celebration of the death of the Lord Jesus at Memorial time. My young son went along with us. This proved to be quite an experience for me. I felt completely at home even though I was in the midst of strangers, people I had never known before. That evening my good neighbor gave me a little present. It was a book entitled ‘The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life.’ At first I did not read it, but eventually I noted that the title of one of the chapters was ‘Building a Happy Family Life.’ This interested me. I checked with my own Bible what it said and found that everything stated was true. Needless to say, I was soon having a Bible study. Learning what the Bible said about divorce and about marriage in the Lord, I now broke off a relationship with a Catholic man with whom I was contemplating marriage, for by this time I had learned that one should not be unevenly yoked, and that if a Christian marries, then he should marry ‘in the Lord.’—1 Cor. 7:39; 2 Cor. 6:14.
7. How has love for others become evident in her own activities?
7 “I am so grateful to Jehovah that I was soon moved to dedication and baptism. This year I have done some temporary pioneer work during various months of the year, and I hope to make it five months before the year is done. Although I have only a small house, my great pleasure has been in showing brotherly love by accommodating twenty brothers and sisters at our district assembly, five of whom were sleeping in a tent on my property. My life is now full, thanks to Jehovah.”—Rom. 12:13; 3 John 5-8.
8. As shown at Ephesians 5:1, 2, what will help us to please God?
8 So, trying to be like God and to “live in love as Christ loved” us certainly is pleasing to God. (Eph. 5:1, 2, NE) A study of God’s Word, sincere belief in it and a humbling of oneself before God can make big changes in one’s life.
9. How did a man in Canada react when his wife and children began to go to the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses, and what did the wife wisely do?
9 Association and brotherly love can have a tremendous effect on an individual’s life. For example, from Ottawa, Canada, comes this report: A devout Roman Catholic woman in Ottawa began attending the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses at their congregation. She took all her children along. One of them had formerly been an altar boy in the church. When they would return from the Kingdom Hall, the children excitedly told their father some of the new things that they had learned from the Bible. This caused the father to become greatly disturbed. His reaction was very similar to that of many other husbands. In complete desperation, he informed his wife and children that they would have to stop studying with Jehovah’s witnesses and no longer go to their meetings. He was so disturbed that he said he would shoot all five of them, including the pioneer sister who was studying the Bible with them in their home. The wife believed that her husband was very serious about these threats. So she telephoned an elder in the congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses and asked him to visit their home and try to explain matters to her husband. Maybe he could clear up some of her husband’s misunderstandings and prejudices about Jehovah’s witnesses.
10. On visiting the man, how did the elder handle the situation?
10 At first the man of the house was very cool and uncommunicative. But the elder was friendly, kind and helpful and said that he could well understand how a man would feel the way he did when his wife and children were going to one place of worship and he to another. (2 Tim. 2:24, 25) The elder explained that he himself would not want his wife to become involved in some organization that he knew little or nothing about. So he suggested that the man of the house at least go to one of their meetings and see what kind of people were attending meetings at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s witnesses. By observing those who attend, listening to what they were taught, seeing the disposition of these people, he then would be in a far better position to come to a wise decision about his family’s spiritual interests.
11. What impressed the man when he came to the Kingdom Hall, and what was the outcome?
11 The opposed husband was warmly invited to attend one of the meetings just as an experiment to see what his wife was really interested in. They parted as friends and everyone was interested in what was going to happen. The next Sunday arrived and the opposed husband went to his own church by himself in the morning, and then, very much to the surprise of his wife and children, he came to the Kingdom Hall that afternoon. He was so impressed with the warm love and friendliness shown by the brothers that he came back the following Sunday, this time without going to his own church first. About this time a Bible study was started with him, and the elder who had called at the home first when the trouble was at its peak continued studying with the man for three months. Now the district assembly was announced, and the city in which it was to be held was six hundred miles away. The man wanted to see more and he wanted to know more. So he took his family to their first district assembly. The brotherly love, the love of neighbor, the love of God, which is the greatest of the commandments, made a tremendous impression upon this husband. (John 13:35; Matt. 22:35-39) A year later the man and his wife were baptized, and he has become very active in the congregation and is making fine spiritual advancement.
12. Those who are trying to be like God engage in what activity on behalf of other people?
12 How aptly Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians fits in here. “In a word, as God’s dear children, try to be like him, and live in love as Christ loved you.” The fine attributes that were originally instilled in man at the very time of his creation—love, justice, wisdom and power—are being cultivated today by many people. It can be done. We should not think that what we read above is an exception. Right now there are more than two million people who are regularly attending the meetings of Jehovah’s witnesses; and not only that—they are preaching the good news of the Kingdom all over the world, and bringing the same kind of peace and joy and contentment to many people. This elder just referred to was eager to shepherd the flock of God, not for love of dishonest gain, and not under compulsion, but willingly.—1 Pet. 5:1, 2.
FINE RESULTS—AFTER FIVE YEARS
13. (a) How has Jehovah’s patience proved beneficial to humans? (b) To what extent did a brief contact with a Witness influence a teen-age girl during her school years?
13 Jehovah has shown great patience toward humankind. (2 Pet. 3:9) This has been very beneficial, because it often takes time for a person’s heart to get fully in tune with God’s purposes. It is thrilling to see how, over a period of time, young people do discern the truth of God’s Word in spite of all the opposition from parents and the influence of “higher education.” According to reports from Portugal, about five years ago a teen-age girl met one of Jehovah’s witnesses who was engaged in the door-to-door preaching work. The main subject of their discussion was evolution. The girl’s father accepted the Evolution book and read it, but he still defended the theory of evolution, strongly trying to influence his daughter not to believe what the Bible had to say about the creation of man. The girl at that time was attending catechism class in the Catholic Church, and she asked her priest what his viewpoint was about the Witnesses. He told her that Jehovah’s witnesses do not believe even in Jesus Christ. Several years passed without any further contact with the Witnesses. During the closing years of this young girl’s high-school education the evolution theory came to the fore and was the center of attention. Although this young girl did not reveal her source of information, she began to refute her teacher’s arguments very successfully, using points she got from the book Did Man Get Here by Evolution or by Creation? The teacher was finally forced to admit that evolution is an unproved theory. (Heb. 3:4) This caused the young girl to reflect seriously on other Bible subjects presented in the same book.
14, 15. Eventually, what moved her to get in touch with the Witnesses, and with what results?
14 After she entered the university, there was a revolution in Portugal. Like so many other people she became totally involved in political discussions and attended all the political rallies. She was intrigued by the slogan “Equality, Fraternity and Liberty.” She became a zealous militant of the party that she finally chose. But her high hopes were destroyed by political bickering, and she realized that it would be impossible for any political parties to unite mankind. While thinking about these things, in the month of December 1974, she picked up her Lisbon newspaper and there was a full page describing the legalization of Jehovah’s witnesses. She was very happy to read all the statutes of the organization, which made clear the purposes of Jehovah’s witnesses. She was convinced now that Jehovah’s witnesses were the only people teaching the truth of God’s Word.
15 She immediately took steps to get in touch with the Witnesses again, going to the address published in the newspaper, which was the temporary headquarters of the association. Up until this time Jehovah’s witnesses had been banned in Portugal. A Bible study was started with the girl, and, although the opposition from her parents continued, she kept right on studying until she saw clearly what Jehovah’s purpose is. (Matt. 10:36, 37) Much to her joy and to the joy of those who were now associated with her, she symbolized her dedication to Jehovah God at the “Divine Sovereignty” District Assembly in the summer of 1975 in Lisbon. It took her a good many years to make up her mind, but she had had the opportunity to watch the blameless ones and to keep the upright ones in sight. (Ps. 37:37) Now that she has come to know Jehovah and is putting forth a real effort to be like him, her future will be peaceful. She will have contentment of mind and heart.
OVER TWO MILLION IMITATORS OF GOD
16. (a) How many of Jehovah’s witnesses are there world wide? (b) Last year, how many were baptized, and what changes did this involve?
16 These are just a few of the many experiences that the 2,179,256 publishers of Jehovah’s witnesses had during the service year of 1975. Can you imagine 295,073 people dedicating their lives to Jehovah during the past year and arranging their affairs to preach the good news of the Kingdom by going from house to house and conducting Bible studies with people that they have never met before? The Word of God affected their lives. They put away the “old personality.” How did the apostle Paul describe it? “The old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his deceptive desires; but . . . you should be made new in the force actuating your mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Eph. 4:22-24) So these who were baptized are trying to be like him, that is, like God. They are allowing a new force to actuate their minds, and the new personality, as it is called in the Scriptures, is being created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty. So these individuals who were baptized wanted to make a change. They are continuing to make that change, doing so in association with the organization known as Jehovah’s witnesses. They are Christians.
17. (a) How much time was spent in the field service last year? (b) What kind of people did this work?
17 It is interesting to note from their annual report that these servants of God devoted 382,296,208 hours to preaching. That is a lot of time. Who did all of this? Well, there were those who were spending as many hours as they could in their normal routine of life trying to help people to get a knowledge of the Bible. Many of these folks are married and have families, and they go out on Saturdays and Sundays or evenings, maybe ten or twelve hours a month. There are others who arrange their affairs to spend around a hundred hours a month in the field preaching, and these Witnesses we refer to as pioneers. And then there are special pioneers, who devote 150 hours to the field service and who often get into new territories.
18. (a) How many are in the pioneer work? (b) In how many lands is the preaching now being done? (c) What part are the magazines having in this work?
18 The year’s report shows that there were 114,491 pioneers and 15,734 special pioneers preaching regularly each month somewhere in the world. There are 2,456 serving in the missionary field. They are usually far away from their homes. In fact, this good news of the Kingdom is being preached now in 210 different lands. The preaching concerning Christ Jesus is not confined to Christendom, or to any particular language. For example, this magazine that you are reading is published in 78 different languages and has a circulation of over ten million copies of each issue. In 1975, 513,705,582 copies of The Watchtower along with its companion magazine Awake! were printed. Jehovah’s witnesses are the ones that are distributing these magazines and putting them in the homes of the people so that they might learn more about God the Almighty and try to be like him.
19. (a) Why do we distribute bound books? (b) To what extent was follow-up work done last year?
19 It is not magazines only that Jehovah’s witnesses distribute. They have some very fine bound books that they would like to use in studying with interested people in their own homes. In fact, during the past year these Christian servants of God put out 28,410,783 bound books and they made 155,336,481 return visits on those who obtained the literature. Picture this: They sat down in the homes of at least 1,411,256 different people each week in 1975 and studied the Bible with them. Now, that is giving of oneself. That is showing love of neighbor, and we welcome anyone who would like to do work as Jesus Christ and the apostles did nineteen hundred years ago to associate with Jehovah’s witnesses and carry on this same kind of activity.
20. World wide, how many persons showed some interest by attending the Memorial?
20 There is no question about it, there are millions of people interested in our work. But, of course, it is not popular with everyone and in many parts of the world there is persecution. Governments do not like us to preach about a kingdom different from their own—namely, God’s kingdom as the only hope for mankind. But talking about people who are really interested—the witnesses of Jehovah take a count once a year of those who attend the Memorial of the death of Christ Jesus, and on March 27, 1975, there were 4,925,643 persons who came to the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s witnesses for the discussion on what the death of Christ Jesus meant for them and for all mankind. As you have noted in this report, 295,073 persons made up their minds to try to be more like Jehovah God by serving him diligently and preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and putting on a new personality, one that conforms to that which Christ Jesus gave as a pattern to follow.
21. Why is it that return visits and Bible studies are featured on the service chart printed with this article?
21 You may be interested in some details about what Jehovah’s witnesses are doing in the 210 different countries and islands of the sea where they are active. For the convenience of all of Jehovah’s witnesses we have reproduced a chart showing the number baptized in each country, also the number of congregations they have. By our publishing the hours spent in the field service by all of Jehovah’s witnesses in that country you can see what kind of a witness was given in that particular area. The return visits and Bible studies are really the important things as far as Jehovah’s witnesses are concerned, because here we can sit down with the people in their own homes and answer their Bible questions, turning their minds to the Bible for answers to questions they may have about present conditions in the world and why God permits such wickedness. Is there going to be an end of the world? Is there an individual such as Satan the Devil who is doing harm? You have perhaps a thousand and one questions that you could ask. So, if you want to try to be like him, that is, like Jehovah God, we strongly recommend that you visit one of the 38,256 congregations of Jehovah’s witnesses around the world. Come to their Kingdom Halls and enjoy fellowship with them and do not be bashful in talking to anyone and asking that the Bible be studied with you. We would be delighted to do so.
22. In harmony with Psalm 37:1-4, what do we urge all sincere persons to do?
22 Do you have problems in your life? Do you have distress? Are you worried about security? Are you disturbed with conditions in the world? Then listen to what King David said: “Do not show yourself heated up because of the evildoers. Do not be envious of those doing unrighteousness. For like grass they will speedily wither, and like green new grass they will fade away. Trust in Jehovah and do good; reside in the earth, and deal with faithfulness. Also take exquisite delight in Jehovah, and he will give you the requests of your heart.” (Ps. 37:1-4) Do you believe that? Why not try to find out if it is true. Associate with Jehovah’s witnesses and they will gladly help you.
[Chart on page 20-23]
1975 SERVICE YEAR REPORT OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES WORLD WIDE
(See bound volume)