A Loving Provision from Jehovah
1 It was a midwinter day and the temperature was below zero. A Christian mother started out on foot, along with four of her children, walking an eight-mile journey to the Kingdom Hall. After they walked three miles, a neighbor stopped in an auto and gave them a ride for the remaining five miles. In the Congo, a youth 16 years of age walks nine miles to attend meetings. In Honduras each Sunday a group of new Witnesses walks three hours to get to the meetings, and three hours to get back home.
2 Why would so many individuals go to so much trouble to attend congregation meetings? Because they appreciate the privilege of associating with fellow Christians for worship and study of God’s Word.—Matt. 5:3.
3 Jesus’ disciples appreciated the importance of regularly receiving spiritual encouragement, especially when meeting together. (See Acts 2:42, 46; 19:8, 9; 20:8; Rom. 16:3, 5; Philem. 2.) And the apostle Paul wrote: “We ought to see how each of us may best arouse others to love and active goodness, not staying away from our meetings, as some do, but rather encouraging one another, all the more because you see the Day drawing near.”—Heb. 10:24, 25, NEB.
4 Meetings are a loving provision from our heavenly Father, Jehovah. All of them are arranged with the purpose of encouraging us to manifest love in all aspects of life and to abound in fine works.
5 How can we show appreciation for these Christian meetings? By attending regularly! Since all of us want to keep our integrity to Jehovah, we must be conscious of our spiritual needs. Congregation meetings are truly precious to us.—Ps. 26:12.
6 During coming months more will be said in Our Kingdom Service about other aspects of congregation meetings. These articles should build up our appreciation for the meetings as loving provisions that Jehovah has made for us.
7 Since congregation meetings are an arrangement by Jehovah, how should we dress when we come? The Bible counsels us to dress at all times with modesty. (1 Tim. 2:9, 10; 1 Pet. 3:3-6) It is good to remember that we are presenting ourselves before the Sovereign of the universe for instruction. So it is not a casual occasion. It is good if our appearance reflects the dignity of the occasion. In this way we will not offend God or our brothers. And this would apply to all congregation meetings.
8 Being punctual at our congregation meetings shows that we respect our host, Jehovah God, for this loving arrangement. Missing the first few minutes of a congregation meeting is like picking up an article to read and starting with the fourth or fifth paragraph. We miss the introduction and perhaps the setting. Our overall understanding and enjoyment are lessened. More seriously, we miss joining in the opening petition in prayer to Jehovah. It is good when elders and ministerial servants arrive early at meetings. They then have an opportunity to greet other brothers warmly and to welcome them to the Kingdom Hall.
9 Showing appreciation for congregation meetings as a loving arrangement from Jehovah will result in great happiness and many blessings, both now and in the coming system of things.