Benefits from “Joyful Workers” Assemblies
BENEFITS of many kinds abounded this past summer at the “Joyful Workers” District Assemblies of Jehovah’s Witnesses. What were the benefits? How can you gain blessings from the good things learned at this series of assemblies?
So that as many persons as possible could be present, 108 assemblies were held in the continental United States alone—the highest number for any one year. The combined peak attendance came to 958,008. At the same time, many other assemblies were held in Canada, Europe and Asia, bringing the attendance to over 1,847,653. And hundreds of thousands more persons in other lands throughout the earth will yet gather to listen to this same program.
Right from the start it was evident that the program would highlight joy. God wants his people to be filled with joy. (Rom. 15:13) The keynote speech explained the theme of the assembly—“Joyful Workers”—and showed how a person can have more joy in his life by doing the most worthwhile work in the world, Jehovah’s work.
The principal talk was entitled “How God’s Kingdom Can Benefit You.” The talk described the blessings that come from putting God’s kingdom first in one’s life, as Jesus Christ urged. (Matt. 6:33) Furthermore, “this remarkable unity, to be observed only among Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the earth today,” declared the speaker, “is one of the rewarding benefits that they enjoy due to giving prior allegiance to God’s kingdom and following its law of love.” Those in the audience were encouraged: “Take your stand now firmly and loyally on the side of God’s kingdom by Jesus Christ and enjoy its benefits to all eternity!”
JOYFUL AND INDUSTRIOUS WORKERS
That the benefits of living by God’s Word, the Bible, are very practical was evident at these assemblies from the quality of work performed by thousands of volunteers. They displayed eagerness, industriousness and thoroughness. For example, at the Salt Lake City, Utah, assembly, there were no cafeteria facilities available at the convention site. So the nearby Fort Douglas Mess Hall was acquired free of charge. Following the assembly, when one of the Witnesses returned the key to the military official in charge, the official went over to inspect the mess hall and then remarked: “I should take a picture of this and show it to the rest of the people that use the mess hall. It was left cleaner than you found it. You people can use it every week if you would like to. I know that it will be left clean.”
At Providence, Rhode Island, just before the second assembly there, a rock ’n’ roll group held a concert at the assembly site, attended by 8,000 persons. The next day the assembly was to begin. After the concert ended and the crowd dispersed, about 400 Witness volunteers went in to make things ready. These joyful workers thoroughly swept the entire stadium, cleaning it as with a fine-tooth comb, and most of them worked till dawn. One of the officials in charge of the stadium said: “It was unbelievable. I don’t think I could be in your religion because you all work so hard.” But the hard work preparing for the opening of the assembly brought these workers much joy.
Youths as well as older persons had a part in cleaning assembly facilities. At the Cow Palace of San Francisco, a maintenance supervisor said: “We are impressed that an entire family will help to clean together. Even the little children help. We saw one little girl, just able to walk, with dustpan in her hands, imitating her parents, cleaning and staying right with them.”
After the assembly at Hallandale, Florida, an employee of the Gulfstream Park Race Track said: “Those Joyful Workers certainly did a fantastic job—don’t ever change that slogan ‘Joyful Workers’; it fits you people. You are always smiling even when you’re sweating. And the kids—they were fantastic.”
BENEFITS FOR THE FAMILY AND THE CHRISTIAN CONGREGATION
The assembly’s first day featured the theme “Working What Is Good at Home,” and a number of talks dealt with family life, how to improve it and how to deal with problems at home. Talks such as “Training Children from Infancy,” “Family Discipline Brings Joy,” and “Working Together to Make a Success of Marriage” brought many comments of appreciation for the helpful counsel from God’s Word. Family discipline, it was learned, is not to be simply an exercise of authority when the parent feels like it, but should be viewed as an ongoing course of education in which parents back up teaching by example.
That young Witnesses learned from these and other talks can be seen from a comment in the Morning Union of Springfield, Massachusetts. Speaking about the assembly there, this journal remarked: “Immaculately-dressed teenagers took notes while following quoted passages in their Bibles.”
The second day focused attention on the Christian congregation. The theme for that day was “Inciting to Love and Fine Works.” Among the benefits enumerated were the following: Congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses will each have a secretary to look after the records and paper work. Elders who show notable ability as teachers will continuously care for the Theocratic School and Watchtower study. The central body of elders has arranged for a revised Kingdom Ministry School course involving fifteen hours of special training for all elders. And an adjustment was made in the method of assigning elders to care for judicial matters. Instead of rotating members of the judicial committee each year, elders who have had experience and who are particularly qualified will be appointed by the local body of elders to handle specific cases.
The talk entitled “Conducting Ourselves Honestly in All Things” showed the advantage of being honest in all our dealings. This results in a fine witness to the true God Jehovah and his excellent qualities.
Honesty itself was demonstrated. For example, at one of the St. Petersburg, Florida, assemblies, a man’s wallet containing about $70 was found and turned in to the Lost and Found department. No one claimed it. Since the man’s driver’s license was in the wallet, a Witness went to the man’s home. Though he was not in at the time, his wife confirmed that he had lost it, apparently at a wrestling match prior to the assembly. She was dumbfounded when the wallet was returned with all the money. Saturday morning the man came to the assembly to thank the Witness for returning it, and to offer a $20 reward. The Witness declined the reward, but the offer gave the Witness an opportunity to speak about the standards of honesty taught in God’s Word.
At another assembly, in San Francisco, a wallet containing $92 was found by a Witness and turned in to the Lost and Found department. The Witness in charge phoned the owner, who was not a Witness. He said that he had lost it the week before while attending an auto show. When he came to the assembly to claim his wallet, he said four times: “Man, I didn’t think I would ever see my wallet again.” The result of this honesty? The man indicated a desire to attend the assembly scheduled for the following week in that city.
The convention’s third day bore the theme “Exerting Ourselves in the Field.” Conventioners received some fine pointers on how to use the Bible from door to door to reach the hearts of people. The information would help them to fulfill Jesus’ command that his followers would do a Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work throughout the earth.—Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20.
DRAMAS AN ASSEMBLY FEATURE
The first three days of the assembly featured Bible dramas. One, entitled “God Is Not Far Off from Each One of Us,” centered around King Hezekiah and brought home to the audience the vital role of prayer in the life of Jehovah’s servants. (2 Ki. 19:14-37; 20:1-11) Another was entitled “Jehovah’s Name to Be Declared in All the Earth.” It dealt with Jehovah’s purpose to have his own name celebrated by the ruin of the arrogant, God-defying Pharaoh of Egypt in Moses’ day. By implication conventioners could discern that God will once again act as he did with ancient Egypt, bringing an end to all God-dishonoring human rulerships.
A third drama, entitled “Are You Whole-souled in Service to God?”, showed how easy it is for a Christian to slip into a condition that would be tantamount to offering lame or sick sacrificial victims to Jehovah. This was happening in the days of Governor Nehemiah of ancient Israel, who lived during the fifth century B.C.E. The conventioners realized that the prophet Malachi’s warnings to God’s people back there surely apply with even greater force today. (Mal. 1:6-14) There are so many distractions and apparently legitimate activities that tend to cripple one’s service to God. Pleasing Jehovah requires that one be whole-souled in one’s service to God.
NEW PUBLICATIONS THRILL ASSEMBLY DELEGATES
A feature of the assembly’s first day was the release of a booklet entitled “Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Question of Blood.” A talk by the same title emphasized that in ancient Israel blood, apart from its function inside the body, served only sacrificial purposes. (Lev. 17:11) The Bible’s prohibition against eating blood, the speaker explained, was not merely a health measure. Rather, it stemmed from the fact that Jehovah decreed blood to be something sacred. The new booklet will help Witnesses to explain to doctors and hospital representatives the Bible’s view on blood.
As this discussion about blood progressed, conventioners found interesting the fact that half of Christendom’s churches observed the Biblical prohibition against eating blood right down to the twelfth century C.E. The other half, the Eastern Church, observes it down to this day. And did you know that Martin Luther recognized the validity of the ruling against the use of blood by the Jerusalem council?
It was emphasized repeatedly that objection by Jehovah’s Witnesses to blood transfusions is not based primarily on medical grounds, but mainly on the fact that God’s Word commands Christians to ‘abstain from blood.’—Acts 15:19, 20, 28, 29.
Following the final talk on the assembly’s second day, came the exciting news of a new pocket-sized book, Our Incoming World Government—God’s Kingdom. Among other things, the publication thoroughly discusses several chapters in the book of Daniel, such as chapter two (about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image), chapter four (a vision regarding a great tree) and chapters seven and twelve.
A further thrill came on the third day of the assembly with the release of another new pocket-sized book, Life Does Have a Purpose.
NEWLY BAPTIZED ONES TESTIFY TO BENEFITS
A highlight of each assembly’s second day was the baptism. What a joy to see so many new ones respond to Jehovah’s goodness and offer themselves in dedication to his service! At the 108 assemblies in the United States, a total of 7,691 presented themselves for baptism.
These newly baptized persons related many experiences that showed how Bible truth had benefited them. For example, at the Lubbock, Texas, assembly, a man, who had been in and out of trouble since the age of fourteen, related that he started using all kinds of drugs while in school. “Most of the time I stayed on drugs all day,” he said. To finance the costly habit, he stole. But then this man learned the Bible’s view of drug abuse and gave it up. “That is why I love God’s truth so much,” he explained, “because it set me free from all the bad habits I had. Now I can see a future ahead of me. One with a purpose. Now instead of getting ‘high’ on drugs, I have something better to live for.”
A man baptized at the Knoxville, Tennessee, assembly explained how he had tried to prove Jehovah’s Witnesses wrong. “To my surprise,” he related, “I found that they were right and I was wrong. With the help of Jehovah’s holy spirit I have overcome many obstacles. I was a compulsive gambler, a heavy drinker, a heavy smoker. One of my biggest problems was my speech, which was extremely profane.” He was able to overcome all these problems, and so he said: “I am thankful to Jehovah for the blessings that I have received through his Word.”
At the Hallandale, Florida, assembly a woman related this experience: “I was born in Judaism and raised in a Jewish but not a religious home. From a very early age I searched everywhere and among all the religions for the true God. Finally, I felt that all religions were hypocritical. Discouraged and almost hopeless, I married a Moslem and converted to Islam. In time I had two children. How was I to raise them in this horrible world—when I couldn’t find the answers myself? I visited Persia hoping to find answers to life’s perplexing questions. But I did not find them. After I got home from Persia, I prayed with tears: ‘God, if you are really there and if there is a true religion, PLEASE help me to find it.’
“That was my prayer for almost three months. Happily one morning, a Witness greeted me as I answered her knock on the door. I told the Witness: ‘I have heard it all; I am convinced there is nothing more you can tell me about religion.’ The Witness answered: ‘I think I know something you haven’t heard.’ I remarked: ‘What could that possibly be; I have heard it all!’ She answered mildly: ‘I know that all the religions you have looked into haven’t told you about God’s kingdom and how it will bring peace and restore this earth to a Paradise.’
“She was right! No other religion had ever told me this! Within one week the seeds of Bible truth took root in my heart, and I did have something really concrete and sure to teach my children. At last my search for the true God and the answers to my questions ended. Soon after my studies began, my mother, father, sister and her friend and my husband began studying the Bible and had the opportunity to find the same satisfaction and peace of mind that I had found when I learned about Jehovah and his wonderful purpose for all mankind.”
The final day of the assembly had the theme “Loyal Workers Inherit the Promises.” The conventioners received more benefits as they were warned about the snares of materialism and self-indulgence. The speaker emphatically reminded the assembly delegates that to strive for a comfortable “normal” life in these times could be dangerous. We could be placing our own desires ahead of Jehovah’s will. Even when we think that we are doing very well, it is good to accept humbly the fact that we can always improve in some way.
The convention’s last speaker told about the establishment of “Pioneer Service Schools,” an arrangement for training full-time preachers of God’s Word. Truly benefits abounded from this “Joyful Workers” District Assembly! It encouraged the conventioners to put forth increased efforts to serve Jehovah and thereby demonstrate genuine appreciation for what they had seen and heard.
Would you enjoy learning how the Bible can benefit you? There is no need to wait till the next assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why not contact the Witnesses locally? They will be happy to assist you right away.
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Happy workers of all ages volunteered so that the assembly would run smoothly
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Mom and Dad received valuable counsel to assist them in training their little one
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A drama shows Hezekiah praying to God to deliver Israel from Assyria
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Delegates admire booklet “Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Question of Blood”