Aids in Conducting Ourselves as Lesser Ones
1. What Scriptural information previously considered can help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones?
WHAT will help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones? Certainly all that has been noted in the previous article as to the bad fruits resulting from not doing so should serve as warning examples for us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones. Surely we do not want to lose out in the quest for life, do we? On the other hand, all the fine Scriptural examples of those who did conduct themselves as lesser ones and the rewards they received should encourage us to want to imitate them.
2, 3. (a) How can a good relationship with Jehovah help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones? (b) Why can humility aid us?
2 Though it may not have occurred to some of us, one of the greatest aids in this regard is having a good relationship with Jehovah God, fully trusting him. Doing so, we will not be unduly concerned lest we come short, are downgraded or neglected. Yes, we want to ‘trust in Jehovah with all our heart and not lean on our own understanding. If we in all our ways take notice of him, he will direct our path for our greatest good.’ (Prov. 3:5, 6) Then, too, we can have the confidence that he will make all his works cooperate for our own good.—Rom. 8:28.
3 It also takes humility to conduct ourselves as lesser ones. And why should we not be willing to be humble? We are told: “Better is it to be lowly in spirit with the meek ones than to divide spoil with the self-exalted ones.” The proud course is bound to be self-defeating: “Pride is before a crash, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” More than that, pride causes God to oppose us, even as we read: “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.” The apostle Peter makes the same point as the disciple James, saying: “All of you gird yourselves with lowliness of mind toward one another.” Yes, we should conduct ourselves as lesser ones—“because God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.”—Prov. 16:18, 19; Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5; compare Romans 12:16.
PRINCIPLE OF HEADSHIP
4, 5. (a) How can our appreciating the principle of headship be a help in this matter? (b) How can this be well illustrated?
4 Another help is for us to appreciate the principle of headship. Whenever there is work to be done that requires more than one person there needs to be one to take the lead and make final decisions or else there is confusion, a working at cross purposes. In other words, there is need of organization. An organization of many persons can be likened to the human body. What many and varied members our bodies have, and yet they are all directed by the one head! Some members may well be more prominent, more important than others, but as the apostle so clearly shows, no one member can say to the other, “I have no need of you.” All are necessary. Following this pattern, should we not be content with having a share in the accomplishment of the purpose of the organization?—1 Cor. 12:21.
5 The importance of recognizing the principle of headship can also be well illustrated by an orchestra. In a large symphony orchestra there may be 100 talented musicians and yet each one of them has to conduct himself as a lesser one. Even the conductor must conduct himself as a lesser one, for he is under obligation to interpret the music as the composer intended it to be. And all the musicians in the orchestra must heed the conductor, being lesser ones as regards him. Not only that, but in each section, where there is more than one musician playing a certain instrument, there is a “first chair,” and the rest of the musicians in that section must follow his style as closely as possible. Thus for the first violins there is the concertmaster. Only by such an arrangement can beautiful, harmonious music be produced. Yes, appreciating the principle of headship will help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones.
THE SPIRIT OF A SOUND MIND AND GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT
6, 7. In what ways can the spirit of a sound mind be helpful in regard to conducting ourselves as lesser ones?
6 Having the spirit of a sound mind will also aid us in this matter. The apostle Paul counsels us: “Through the undeserved kindness given to me I tell everyone there among you not to think more of himself than it is necessary to think; but to think so as to have a sound mind, each one as God has distributed to him a measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3) When we take a sober view of ourselves, not permitting this to be clouded by pride or self-interest, we can find plenty of reason for conducting ourselves as lesser ones. How so?
7 Each one of us is far more familiar with himself than with others. We should be able to see, far more than do others, how far short we come of being and doing what we should. As Paul lamented: “I do not do what I want to do; I do the things that I hate.” (Rom. 7:15, An American Translation) Besides, as Christians we are obligated not to judge others too severely but to make allowances for their imperfections and give them the benefit of the doubt. But doubtless we are painfully aware of our own weaknesses and where some wrong motive might have influenced us. So by this very fact we should be willing to conduct ourselves as lesser ones in relation to others. There is no question about it: Having the spirit of a sound mind will help us in these matters.—2 Tim. 1:7.
8. Appreciating the power of God’s holy spirit can be of what assistance in conducting ourselves as lesser ones?
8 A fine appreciation of the power of God’s holy spirit will also help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones. Regardless of our natural endowments or attainments, what is important in Jehovah’s organization is God’s holy spirit. (Zech. 4:6) That holy spirit enabled the early Christians to be so effective in their ministry that their enemies complained that these had “overturned the inhabited earth.” (Acts 17:6) It was because of God’s spirit that they could speak with such outspokenness in confronting their religious opposers, unlearned and ordinary though they were from a natural standpoint. (Acts 4:13, 29-31) Recognizing that all our brothers have God’s holy spirit will help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones in relation to them even though we may excel in some abilities from a worldly standpoint. This should make it easier for us to heed the counsel: “In showing honor to one another take the lead.”—Rom. 12:10.
9. What effect should our appreciating the prime importance of Jehovah’s kingdom have on us?
9 So, do we appreciate the importance of Jehovah God’s kingdom? If we do then we will be ready to put its interests first in our lives. Doing so will also help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones. Why can this be said? Because if we appreciate that the Kingdom work all of us are engaged in is the important thing and not we ourselves, then we will not feel unduly disturbed if we happen to have been overlooked as regards a privilege of service we might have desired. We want to take God’s work, not ourselves, seriously. After all, there are only so many parts on the various congregation meetings, only so many parts on a circuit assembly program, only so many parts on a district convention program. So some of us are bound to be left out. If that should be our lot, let us rejoice with the brothers that do have the privileges rather than envy them. Let us have the mental disposition of the psalmist who said: “For a day in your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere. I have chosen to stand at the threshold in the house of my God rather than to move around in the tents of wickedness.” Yes, it is far better to be a lesser one in Jehovah’s organization than to be a greater one in Satan’s wicked doomed organization.—Ps. 84:10.
10. From what embarrassment can conducting ourselves as lesser ones save us?
10 God’s Word the Bible has much to say about practical wisdom. For example, it points out the wisdom of using sharp tools so that one does not needlessly have to exert oneself. (Eccl. 10:10) It also gives us practical advice on conducting ourselves as lesser ones. Jesus made this point, as we read at Luke 14:8-11: “When you are invited by someone to a marriage feast, do not lie down in the most prominent place. Perhaps someone more distinguished than you may at the time have been invited by him, and he that invited you and him will come and say to you, ‘Let this man have the place.’ And then you will start off with shame to occupy the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, that when the man that has invited you comes he will say to you, ‘Friend, go on up higher.’ Then you will have honor in front of all your fellow guests. For everyone that exalts himself will be humbled and he that humbles himself will be exalted.”
11. (a) Why does conducting ourselves as lesser ones make for good relations with others? (b) In what other respects does this mental attitude help?
11 It can also be well said that it is practical wisdom to try to have good relations with others. Conducting oneself as a lesser one is one way to accomplish that desired goal. It is human nature to be concerned with one’s own advantages, and when we are ambitious or overly anxious to excel we make others feel uncomfortable. But when we conduct ourselves as lesser ones we do not threaten the position of others, we do not make them feel insecure or inferior. We do not put them on the defensive. As a result, they will be all the more likely to show friendliness and affection toward us. More than that, conducting ourselves as lesser ones will keep us from overextending ourselves in rivalry so as to excel. This will keep us from presuming to do things beyond our capabilities or resources; it will keep us from, as the saying goes, ‘biting off more than we can chew.’ Or, as far better expressed by Jesus, it is wisdom to count the cost. Moreover, practical wisdom will keep us from promising more than we can perform.—Luke 14:28.
12. Conducting ourselves as lesser ones can be of what help in the family circle?
12 Practical wisdom that makes us conduct ourselves as lesser ones also applies within the family circle. For example, the wise wife will be content to play the complementary, submissive role in relation to her husband, knowing that this makes for peace in the family and is conducive to happiness. Being willing to play such a role wins her husband’s affection and love, and makes him want to do things for her. And what could make a wife happier than to have her husband so well disposed toward her that he is always giving her tokens of appreciation and affection, by words and deeds? In this regard, it is also practical wisdom for a husband to acknowledge wherein his wife excels and be content to play the lesser role, granting her such recognition under his headship. This will have a similar fine effect on her.
UNSELFISH LOVE THE GREATEST AID
13, 14. In this regard, how did unselfish love help (a) Jonathan? (b) Jesus Christ?
13 Will affection and unselfish love aid us in conducting ourselves as lesser ones? Yes, and these above all! A fine example we have in Jonathan, the son of King Saul. We read that, right after David had slain the giant Goliath, “Jonathan’s very soul became bound up with the soul of David, and Jonathan began to love him as his own soul.” (1 Sam. 18:1) As time went on, Jonathan began to realize that not he but David was Jehovah’s choice to succeed Saul as king in Israel. But because of his love for David, far from envying David, Jonathan said: “Do not be afraid; for the hand of Saul my father will not find you, and you yourself will be king over Israel, and I myself shall become second to you.”—1 Sam. 23:17.
14 What a fine example we have also in Jesus Christ! Jesus said: “I love the Father.” Because of that love, Jesus never for one moment gave any thought to being equal with his Father, but always appreciated that Jehovah God was his head. (John 14:31; 1 Cor. 11:3; Phil. 2:6) Furthermore, because of Christ’s great love for his anointed footstep followers, he was willing to die for them. (Eph. 5:25) Jesus’ example of humility and love should certainly help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones.
15. What fine example did the apostle Paul give of conducting himself as a lesser one?
15 We have previously noted that the apostle Paul conducted himself as a lesser one in relation to his fellow Christians. Why? It was because of his great love for them. Thus, in writing to his fellow Christians at Rome, he looked forward not only to strengthening their faith but also to having them strengthen his faith through an interchange of encouragement. (Rom. 1:8-12) Bearing like testimony are his words to the brothers at Corinth: “Our mouth has been opened to you, Corinthians, our heart has widened out. You are not cramped for room within us, but you are cramped for room in your own tender affections. So, as a recompense in return—I speak as to children—you, too, widen out.” (2 Cor. 6:11-13) Note similar expressions in regard to the Christians at Philippi and at Thessalonica.—Phil. 1:8; 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:7, 8.
16, 17. (a) What can be said about modern examples of conducting oneself as a lesser one? (b) What help can love be in this regard?
16 Do we not have many fine examples of this in modern times? Many are those in positions of responsibility who set fine examples in conducting themselves as lesser ones. Humbly they are at the service of their brothers needing help. Particularly does this become apparent at our larger gatherings. Then, regardless of natural endowments or positions in the organization, they all ‘roll up their sleeves and pitch in,’ as the saying goes, to get the work done.
17 Unquestionably, unselfish love will help us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones. Yes, ‘love does not brag, it does not get puffed up, it does not even seek its own interests.’ It is not unduly concerned about getting its just due. (1 Cor. 13:4, 5) Love truly can help us, for it will move us to ‘keep seeking, not our own advantage, but that of others.’ (1 Cor. 10:24) As Paul told the Galatian Christians: “Through love slave for one another.” Slaving for one another certainly requires that each of us conduct himself as a lesser one!—Gal. 5:13.
18. How can this matter of conducting oneself as a lesser one be well summarized?
18 Clearly the Bible record, as well as ancient and modern secular history, proves that conducting oneself as a lesser one is the course of wisdom. It makes for good relations with Jehovah God, with our fellow Christians and with members of our own families. Moreover, it is the course of happiness because it means giving others the advantages and preferences, and “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Many, too, are the aids available so as to motivate us to conduct ourselves as lesser ones: heeding Biblical examples, recognizing the principle of headship, exercising the spirit of a sound mind, following the leadings of God’s holy spirit, and showing practical wisdom and unselfish love. May we ever consider it a privilege, a blessing, to conduct ourselves as lesser ones, to the benefit of others and ourselves, and primarily to Jehovah’s praise.
“Let not the wise man . . . the mighty man . . . the rich man brag . . . But let the one bragging . . . brag about himself because of this very thing, the having of insight and the having of knowledge of me, that I am Jehovah, the One exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I do take delight.”—Jer. 9:23, 24.
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If everyone were a conductor, where would the orchestra be?