[Watchtower study for the week of May 5, 2014 – w14 3/15 p. 7]
How pleasant to have a Watchtower study with sound counsel and no false teachings or questionable scriptural applications. That many sound facetious, but I assure you it is not. A quick overview of the past months of Watchtower Commentator posts will reveal just have rare this is.
Par. 1,2 – These point to Jesus as the perfect example of a self-sacrificing spirit in a human. “And think of the blessings we enjoy because we are part of a worldwide brotherhood that displays the spirit of self-sacrifice!” I’m willing to cut them some slack on this statement. There are many in this worldwide brotherhood who are far from the spirit Jesus displayed, but there are also many outstanding Christians who do strive to imitate the Lord. We should focus on these individuals, rather than credit the organization which is implied here. But again, a minor point.
Par. 3,4 – Sound reasoning. The illustration of rust on iron seems appropriate to the topic.
Par. 5-7 – I appreciate the reasoning and application of James’ illustration of a man looking in a mirror. Someone has thought this through and it shows. I particularly appreciate that the solution presented involved peering into and studying God’s word. It would have been easy to insert “and our publications” here, but the author restrained himself. Kudos!
Par. 8- 12 – The warning example of King Saul is most appropriate to this discussion. However, I wonder how many will see parallels between that Leader of God’s people, Israel, and those assuming a leadership role over Jehovah’s Witnesses today. The parallel is not perfect. After all, Saul was specifically chosen by God for the role, he didn’t presume to take it upon himself. However, he was more concerned about saving face before the people than of pleasing God. He did not bring himself to apologize for wrongdoing but instead blamed others. He became complacent, resting on his laurels, thinking that past achievements covered for recent errors. He was not open to counsel and tried to kill those he saw as a threat to his authority.
Par. 13-16 – We now turn to the example of Peter. He was warned—together with the other apostles—against the tendency they displayed of wishing to “lord it over” their brothers. Peter proudly proclaimed that when the hour of test came, he would not deny the Christ. He judged himself worthy as if he had already passed the test. He was humbled. In light of this, consider this statement from The Watchtower of July 15, 2013, p. 25, par. 18:
“When Jesus comes for judgment during the great tribulation, he will find that the faithful slave [Now— the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses] has been loyally dispensing timely spiritual food to the domestics. Jesus will then delight in making the second appointment—over all his belongings. Those who make up the faithful slave [individual Governing Body members] will get this appointment when they receive their heavenly reward, becoming co-rulers with Christ.”
Par. 17 – “You can also benefit from Peter’s example when it comes to spiritual goals. You can pursue such in a way that reflects a spirit of self-sacrifice. Yet, be careful that this pursuit does not become a quest for prominence.” There are many points of counsel which are over-stressed and over-emphasized in our publications. I only wish that this were one of them, for perhaps if it had been these past twenty or thirty years, we wouldn’t be experiencing the problems which are reported on widely and repeatedly.
[Personal Note] This article has a different feel about it. For example, while Jehovah’s name is mentioned 8 times in the article, Jesus is referred to by name 17 times. The ratio is usually 3 to 1 in favor of God’s name, so this in itself is unusual. The article also makes no mention of the organization, its leadership, the Governing Body, the faithful slave, or the elders, nor are there any calls for obedience to the leadership, nor for our self-sacrifice to be manifest by getting out in the door-to-door work with greater frequency. It gives one hope that there are still individuals—a remnant—at the higher levels of the organization who recognize to whom “the knee should be bent”. (Romans 11:1-5)
I found this comment from paragraph 3 interesting: “Still, we face an enemy that can subtly undermine our self-sacrificing spirit. That enemy is our tendency to be selfish. Recall how Adam and Eve manifested selfishness.”
Are they implying that even sinless humans were inherently selfish? If so, “perfection” ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.
Meleti, the article was indeed good. But I couldn’t help but read some of it and think to myself: “The organization that is teaching us – does it teach itself?” (Romans 2:21) Here’s what I mean: In speaking about Saul’s initial humble and modest attitude, Paragraph 8 says: ” . . . He refused to punish Israelites who spoke out against his kingship, even though he could have felt justified in defending his God-given position . . .” When individual Witnesses use scripture to openly criticize some teaching or position put forth by the Governing Body, does the organization modestly… Read more »
Hi Meleti Always enjoyed your postings. This to me is just another one of those guilt trip articles-questioning whether we are sacrificing enough for jehovah aka wt organisation. There is nothing uplifting in it and one goes away with a heavy burden to do more ie volunteer to clean the Kingdom Hall if we have not done it before. James 1:23,24 are one of my favorite scriptures on Christian living,on how to be a better christian. To use it as a tool for constant minute-fault-picking at ourselves will only result in misery and rob us of any Christian joy. This… Read more »
Meleti,regarding your “personal note” – you quoted Romans 11:1-5.May I also add Philippians 2:10?
A little on the nose, but that was my point. 🙂
Just a comment on the ‘personal note’. “The elders” get a mention in paragraph 12. A minor observation.
This Watchtower is such a relief after weeks of heavy (indoctrination) topics. I definitely won’t mind sitting there this week The theme scripture is ’”If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself.”—MATT. 16:24.” I have been struggling to find balance with this scripture my whole life as a JW. I gave up college, passed on jobs and even missed out on quality and quantity time with my parents because they were on the JW treadmill. Those were huge sacrifices. I think about those who made painful decisions regarding their medical affairs based on the ever changing guidelines… Read more »
On the whole hats off to whoever wrote this article theres some very good counsel in it .It would be very nice to see every brother and sister apply these things including those in positions of responsibility eg the GB down to the elders . I hope this study isnt forgotten washed away in a sea of watchtowers just like the man in the mirror .I found the counsel about reading and studying the bible daily ironic though as that was my downfall in the religion . Again thanks and credit where its due to the person who wrote this… Read more »
Maybe now we can focus on Jesus instead of the organization. That’s what makes me envy other churches is their relationship with our whole reason for being. Jesus!!!
A good article,without all the “obey & be submissive” etc add-ons is,I agree,a rarity.Heard a “donation pledge” is in the cards this month.Hmm,wonder if there’s a connection…..
Reblogged this on Make Sure of All Things and commented:
As usual, some good study notes from the Beroean Picks blog. Highly recommended.
This one, for sure, is a great article and as you said, it has a different feel to it. As always thanks for your study notes and comments. They are always enlightening.