Good Manners in Field Service Honor God
1 The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with.” (2 Cor. 6:3) Consequently, he recommended to the Philippians that they “behave in a manner worthy of the good news.” (Phil. 1:27) This inspired counsel clearly brings to the fore that Christian manners are important. Do your manners in the field service honor God?
2 What are manners? Manners are defined as habitual conduct, behavior or deportment and refer to our way of dealing with others. Expressions associated with good manners are politeness, courtesy, thoughtfulness, considerateness, kindness and tact. Good manners may seem insignificant to some people, but not so to Christians. We recognize that much of what we as Christians accomplish can be undone by a lack of good manners.
IN HOUSE-TO-HOUSE WORK
3 As you walk from one house to the other, do you display the dignity expected of a minister of God? Does your appearance and deportment harmonize with the seriousness of the message you are presenting? Obviously, we want our children with us in the ministry, but are they being trained to represent the truth appropriately? Are they attentive and not playing while the publisher is speaking to the householder? If the children are unruly or their conduct is distracting, the householder may not get the full benefit of what the publisher has to say. Children who receive good training bring honor to Jehovah, their parents and the congregation. Commenting on two young brothers who preached the good news to her, a woman said it was a “real pleasure to talk to these . . . neatly dressed young people, and I wish that more young people would follow their example.” She was obviously impressed by their appearance and good manners.
4 How are good manners displayed when we speak? The apostle Peter states that in speaking we should reveal “a mild temper and deep respect.” (1 Pet. 3:15) This is very important and even more so when dealing with unreasonable persons. If we speak in a dogmatic, harsh or overbearing way, can it be said that our manners honor God? Good manners require tact and friendliness. We should not be overly insistent that the householder accept literature or listen to our message if he does not wish to do so. Also, it is important to be a good listener, since this too is a part of Christian manners. When the householder speaks, we should listen to what he has to say. This shows respect. We will then know what is on his mind and be better equipped to help him.—Prov. 18:13.
5 As we work the territory, good manners dictate that we avoid congregating on the sidewalks or in front of buildings. Passersby should not be required to walk around us. This is important too when engaging in street work.
ON RETURN VISITS AND BIBLE STUDIES
6 When in another person’s home, Christian manners dictate that we comport ourselves as guests, showing appreciation for the hospitality extended and maintaining proper decorum. The one conducting a study or making a return visit should respect the time the householder allows for the visit. He should be punctual. If the publisher is accompanied by children, these should respect the householder and his property. In no way would we want to give cause for stumbling or faultfinding.—2 Cor. 6:3.
7 Unquestionably, good manners in field service honor Jehovah God. May we all continue to “behave in a manner worthy of the good news.”—Phil. 1:27.