“I WAS beside him as a master worker. . . . I rejoiced before him all the time.” (Prov. 8:30) That is how the Bible describes God’s Son during the untold ages he spent working with his Father before coming to the earth. Note that this verse also tells us how Jesus felt as a fellow worker of God; he “rejoiced” before Him.
Jesus learned the qualities that later made him an excellent example of a fellow worker for those on earth who associated with him. How can we benefit from Jesus’ example? By taking a close look at his example, we can identify three principles that can help us become good fellow workers. These principles will better enable us to foster a spirit of unity and cooperation.
PRINCIPLE 1: ‘SHOW HONOR TO ONE ANOTHER’
A good fellow worker humbly values his coworkers and does not try to show off. That humble approach is something that Jesus learned from his Father. Although Jehovah alone is worthy of being called Creator, he drew attention to the role played by his Son and fellow worker. We see that reflected in God’s statement: “Let us make man in our image.” (Gen. 1:26) Jesus likely appreciated Jehovah’s humility in this connection.—Ps. 18:35.
While on earth, Jesus manifested similar humility. When praised for his accomplishments, he gave credit to the One who deserved it. (Mark 10:17, 18; John 7:15, 16) Jesus worked to maintain a peaceful atmosphere with his disciples and considered them friends rather than slaves. (John 15:15) He even washed their feet to teach them a lesson in humility. (John 13:5, 12-14) We too do well to value our fellow workers rather than put our personal interests ahead of theirs. When we ‘show honor to one another’ and we do not worry about who may get the credit, much more can be accomplished.—Rom. 12:10.
A humble person also recognizes that “there is accomplishment through many advisers.” (Prov. 15:22) Regardless of our experience or abilities, we must remember that no human knows everything. Even Jesus acknowledged that there were things he did not know. (Matt. 24:36) Also, he was interested in what his imperfect disciples knew or thought. (Matt. 16:13-16) It is no wonder that his fellow workers felt comfortable around him! Similarly, when we humbly bear in mind our limitations and allow others to contribute, we promote peaceful relations with them, and together “there is accomplishment.”
It is especially important for elders to imitate Jesus in this respect as they work together. They need to remember that holy spirit can influence any elder on the body. If in their meetings, elders try to maintain an atmosphere in which everyone feels free to contribute, together they will make decisions that will benefit the whole congregation.
PRINCIPLE 2: “LET YOUR REASONABLENESS BECOME KNOWN”
A good fellow worker is reasonable in dealing with his coworkers. He is flexible and yielding. Jesus certainly had fine opportunities to observe his Father’s reasonableness. For example, Jehovah sent him to redeem mankind from the death sentence that humans deserved.—John 3:16.
Jesus yielded when necessary or appropriate. Recall how he helped a Phoenician woman, even though he had been sent to the house of Israel. (Matt. 15:22-28) He was also reasonable in what he expected from his disciples. After his close companion Peter denied him in public, Jesus was ready to forgive him. Later, he entrusted Peter with weighty responsibilities. (Luke 22:32; John 21:17; Acts 2:14; 8:14-17; 10:44, 45) Jesus’ example clearly shows us that we ought to “let [our] reasonableness become known to all men” by being yielding.—Phil. 4:5.
Being reasonable will also move us to be adaptable in order to work harmoniously with all sorts of people. Jesus dealt so well with those around him that his jealous enemies accused him of being “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” who responded to his message. (Matt. 11:19) Can we, like Jesus, succeed in collaborating with others? Louis, a brother who has spent time in the traveling work and at Bethel working with individuals of various backgrounds, says: “I have tried to compare each group I work with to a wall built with irregular stones. By making adjustments to the placement of some of the stones, you can end up with a straight wall. I have also tried to make personal adjustments in order to contribute to the wall’s being straight.” What a fine spirit!
A good fellow worker does not withhold information just to maintain control
When can we manifest a cooperative spirit in our local congregation? We have the opportunity to do so when we are with our field service group. We may work with publishers who have different family responsibilities than we do or who are of a different age. Can we strive to be reasonable by adjusting our pace or style to help them enjoy a more fruitful ministry?
PRINCIPLE 3: BE “READY TO SHARE”
A good fellow worker is “ready to share.” (1 Tim. 6:18) While working beside his Father, Jesus must have noted that Jehovah was not secretive. When Jehovah “prepared the heavens,” Jesus “was there” and could learn from him. (Prov. 8:27) Later, Jesus himself gladly shared with his disciples “the things [he had] heard” from his Father. (John 15:15) With that model in mind, we too should be ready to share our knowledge and experience with fellow workers. Certainly, a good fellow worker would not withhold needed or helpful information just to maintain control. He would rejoice in sharing with others the good things he has learned.
We can also share words of encouragement with fellow workers. When someone notices our efforts and expresses heartfelt gratitude, does it not warm our heart? Jesus took the time to tell his fellow workers the good he saw in them. (Compare Matthew 25:19-23; Luke 10:17-20.) He even told them that they would “do works greater than” his. (John 14:12) On the night before his death, he commended his faithful apostles, saying: “You are the ones who have stuck with me in my trials.” (Luke 22:28) Imagine how his words must have touched their heart and moved them to action! If we too take time to commend our fellow workers, they will certainly be happier and likely more productive.
YOU CAN BE A GOOD FELLOW WORKER
“A good fellow worker does not need to be perfect,” observes a brother named Kayode, “but he spreads joy around him and makes work less burdensome for those he works with.” Are you that kind of fellow worker? Why not carefully draw out some of your Christian coworkers to learn what they think of you in this respect? If they enjoy working with you, even as Jesus’ disciples enjoyed working with him, you can say as did the apostle Paul: “We are fellow workers for your joy.”—2 Cor. 1:24.