Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Be my follower- What is needed” (Luke 8-9)
Luke 8:3 – How were these Christians “ministering” to Jesus and the apostles? (“were ministering to them”)(nwtsty)
It is interesting that the full flavour of the meaning of diakoneo is brought out here. I.e. “to wait at the table, or to serve (generally)”. The study note says “The Greek word di·a·ko·neʹo can refer to caring for the physical needs of others by obtaining, cooking, and serving food, and so forth. It is used in a similar sense at Luke 10:40 (“attend to things”), Luke 12:37 (“minister”), Luke 17:8 (“serve”), and Acts 6:2 (“distribute food”), but it can also refer to all other services of a similar personal nature.” This meaning, the core meaning of ‘minister’, is virtually never used by the organization when discussing those they consider ‘older men’.
Why is this meaning given here in the study notes? It seems it is because the scripture here is talking about women, as it mentions Joanna, Susanna and many other women who were using their personal belongings to help support Jesus and his disciples as they went from city to city. Should not this serving also apply to men and particular the shepherds of the congregation? As discussed before, James 5:14 does not refer to spiritual healing as interpreted by the organization, but rather, greasing with oil was a common practice when someone was ill back in the first century. Even today we frequently apply different oils to various ailments, and often the massaging of them into the skin also assists in the healing process. Does it not smack of hypocrisy to translate diakoneo as serving others needs when referring to women and yet when diakoneo is used with men then somehow it is interpreted as exercising or holding authority as a minister over others, instead of serving others needs? Is this an example of male chauvinism?
Talk: Should we regret any sacrifices that we have made for the sake of the Kingdom? (w12 3/15 27-28 para 11-15)
This portion of the article is based on Philippians 3:1-11. It would therefore be good to examine the context rather than interpreting specific verses in isolation.
- (Verse 3)“For we are those with the real circumcision” as opposed to (verse 5) “circumcised the eighth day, out of the family stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew [born] from Hebrews”.
- Paul was saying that being circumcised in Christ and being part of Spiritual Israel as a Christian was far superior to that of being of good family descent of fleshly Israel. (Colossians 2:11,12)
- (Verse 3) “who are rendering sacred service by God’s spirit” instead of sacred service via the Mosaic Law because of birth. (Hebrews 8:5, 2 Timothy 1:3)
- Verse 3 – “have our boasting in Christ Jesus and do not have our confidence in the flesh.” It was more important to boast of being a disciple of Christ than a fleshly ‘son of Abraham’. (Matthew 3:9, John 8:31-40)
- (Verse 5b) “as respects law, a Pharisee” – Paul while he was ‘Saul’ kept the strict law of the Pharisees, i.e. all the extra traditions added to the Mosaic Law.
- (Verse 6) “as respects zeal, persecuting the congregation;” (Galatians 1:14-15, Romans 10:2-4) – The zeal Paul had been displaying was for maintaining the status of the Pharisaical ruling class against the early Christians.
- (Verse 6) “as respects righteousness that is by means of law, one who proved himself blameless.” (Romans 10:3-10) – The righteousness Paul had been previously displaying was that of obedience to the Mosaic Law.
So the gains Paul had before becoming a Christian were:
- Acknowledgement of being descended from a pure Jewish family that followed the Mosaic Law as it was required.
- Acknowledgement of being a zealous devotee to the traditions of the Pharisees (the predominant Jewish political party)
- The fame of being prominent as a persecutor of the Christians.
These were the things he viewed as “as a lot of refuse, that I may gain Christ”. When he became a Christian he used his education to the benefit of his new faith. It enabled him to preach to high officials of the Roman Empire in an eloquent way. (Acts 24:10-27, Acts 25:24-27) It also enabled him to write a big portion of the Christian Scriptures.
However the organization uses Paul’s experience this way: “Sad to say, some look back on sacrifices they made in the past and view them as missed opportunities. Perhaps you had opportunities for higher education, for prominence, or for financial security, but you decided not to pursue them. Many of our brothers and sisters have left behind lucrative positions in the fields of business, entertainment, education, or sports.”.
The organization is here condoning these “sacrifices”. But why did many make these “sacrifices”? For most it was because they believed the organization’s claims that Armageddon would come very shortly and that by making these sacrifices they were pleasing God. But what is the reality? The article continues “Now time has passed, and the end has not yet arrived.” So that is the real problem. Failed promises (from the organization) and failed expectations.
We are then asked: “Do you fantasize about what could have happened had you not made those sacrifices?” This is has to be a common problem otherwise it would not have been voiced. You do not waste space in such an article on a non-existent problem. Is it any wonder given the history of failed promises.[i] So what does this have to do with Paul and Philippians 3? According to the article this: “Paul did not regret any of the secular opportunities that he had left behind. He no longer felt that they were worthwhile”.
Above we discussed what Paul gave up according to the Scriptures. Did these secular opportunities include a higher education? No, he was already educated. It had contributed to his sound knowledge of Scripture. Acts 9:20-22 says in part “But Saul kept on acquiring power all the more and was confounding the Jews that dwelt in Damascus as he proved logically that this is the Christ.” This was shortly after his eyesight was restored after his vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus. Did he view his education in the Scriptures at the feet of Gamaliel as a waste? Of course not. (Acts 22:3) It was what enabled him to so quickly become a fine advocate of Christ as the promised Messiah.
He even used his Roman citizenship to further the Good News. Something else we should not forget. Paul had received a personally delivered assignment from the glorified resurrected Jesus Christ. (Acts 26:14-18) None of us alive today have had such a privilege, so comparing what Paul did with what we should do and can do is like comparing apples with oranges.
So coming back to the theme question: “Should we regret any sacrifices that we have made for the sake of the Kingdom?” No, of course not, but we should make sure the sacrifices we make are those that we willingly make and will not ever regret. We should also make sure these sacrifices are actually required for the sake of the Kingdom and will benefit the Kingdom rather than for the sake of a man made organization. The sacrifices we make should not be those that are dictated or strongly suggested to us by other men.
Jesus did counsel not to pursue riches, but he neither did he require us nor suggest to us to give up a satisfying job, or the prospects of such.
[i] When young I was assured I would not leave school before Armageddon came in 1975. I am now close to retirement yet Armageddon is still just round the corner. It is still allegedly imminent. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:36 “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.” It will come, but not when we want or think it to be or others try to calculate it to be.
MarthaMartha and the rest: Let me first say I am sorry for upsetting everyone with the comments that I made, my intentions were not to offend and for that I apologise. Tadua you said: The way women are treated as second class citizens in the organization does not agree with the Bible record as to how Jesus treated women, with respect and dignity, capable of having a mind of their own. One question for you to ponder, as women are also chosen ones and hence will be Kings (or queens!) on the earth (Revelation 5:10) How will they be able… Read more »
Hi JB, You must have only been in one or two congregations that were an exception to the rule for those 50 years. I served many congregations in a few different states in the US and found that many of our sisters are indeed treated like second-class citizens. Did those sisters necessarily want to have “positions of responsibility”? No, but that is not the issue here. The issue is taking what the Bible says out of context to support a position of superiority of Men over Women. I would suggest that you re-study Paul’s words to the Congregations exegetically and… Read more »
Hi Warp Speed I have served many congregations in Australia, but I have not come across any sister who felt she was a second-class citizen or made to feel that way, maybe it’s the way you feel they are classed as a second-class citizen. You said: I would suggest that you re-study Paul’s words to the Congregations exegetically and with a view to the times and circumstances of what was happening in and around our first century brothers and sisters to get a better understanding of what Paul was really trying to get across. Help me to understand what? You… Read more »
Hi JB Sorry, but I find it strange that you have never noticed such things in all those years, still here are some examples. Sisters cannot: Hand out Clam (and previously TMS) meeting assignments, but a 12-13 year old boy who is an unbaptised publisher can. Organise working on the territory when even a teenage boy who is baptised is present, even if they have been a pioneer witness for 4 x the boy’s lifetime. Handle microphones. Even relay a verbal message from their husband to another brother about non confidential spiritual things relating to the congregation. Correct by their… Read more »
Just reiterating this point in lu 8:1-3 Why does Luke specifically mention the women who followed and served Jesus? Because in that day, Rabbis generally refused to teach women and almost always gave them an inferior place -but not Jesus. It might explain why most of if not all Jesus haters we’re men. Interesting.
Adding to the idea around the sacrifices that Paul willingly made. Philippians 3:1-11 The Org incorrectly uses this section of scripture to denigrate things like education, money, building a family and things associated with large well established families in a community, prestige and other things of a material nature as being refuse. And make it appear as if God inspired Paul to make it apparent that any one seeking these things are foolish and making poor choices reflective of a person who lacks faith and appreciation of spiritual things. The fact of the matter is that Paul simply was explaining… Read more »
regarding Our Lord saying let the dead bury the dead,
Jesus was not talking about the persons father dying that day because ceremonial death rituals were very important to Jewish family’s. Rather he no doubt was referring to the waiting on the corpse period of decomposition and the bones collected and placed in an Ossuary (bone box) then they could lay with their forefathers in the family Tomb,
There us an excellent article describing this here
Nice review. Thank you. Sounds like the organization is in “damage control” mode again. Telling us what to think of decisions we made based largely on the edicts of men.
Hello Tadua, nice review! I too will was never to enter school/ leave school/ get married/ have children and I’m now a grandmother of three. I feel the same as you. It will come, but I’ve had enough of being kept in suspense for 6 decades by men who can’t follow Christ’s instructions. At least living a simple life for so long ‘because the end is around the corner’ leaves us with a chance of being able to eke out our meagre government pension, if it’s still available when we reach that age! because we never had the chance to… Read more »
Maratha you make me laugh…… Does your husband have the last say in the house…… Yes Maratha…… No Maratha ….. Whatever you say Maratha, just to keep the peace in the house. If you were living in year 66CE and you fled to the mountains or near by villages, would you have complained why hasn’t the end come, why am I still living as a homeless person since I have a house? You remind me of Lots wife and we all know what happened to her, I suggest you have a look at the drama regarding the destruction of Jerusalem,… Read more »
Hi James I think that your comments directed to Martha are rather unfair and unnecessarily personal. The reference to the drama is also uncalled for and not relevant. Jesus gave a prophecy which could be clearly seen to be fulfilled and instructions as to what to do when those events occurred for the first century. He did not give the same clearly identifiable signs and instructions for the end of the current system of things. We have all been victims of man’s desire to guess when the time would be that Jesus clearly stated we should keep on the watch… Read more »
Hugs for you Tadua in a sisterly or motherly way since I’m an old lady now.
Hello Jamesbrown, I’m glad youre having a good laugh at my expense. Laughing is very good for the soul. I can tell you that I was rolling on the floor laughing at your comment about my husband. If you knew us, you would realise the very thought of my husband going yes Martha ( not Maratha) no Martha three bags full Martha is a hilarious and ridiculous thought. The fact is you don’t know us and you don’t know me from Adam. At least I don’t think so…. where do you live? Have you rumbled my alias??? I don’t know… Read more »
I have to say, it’s ironic that your name is James Brown.
I’ve got that song in my head now.
“It’s a man’s world…. but it would be nothing…. “ how did the rest go?
“I feel good!………….”
In all seriousness JB, since you have made a few assumptions about our Sister Martha, I think it only fair to return the favor. But I won’t because I am finally starting to really work on displaying the fruits of the spirit after being a devout JW for 40 years.
I get where you’re coming from though. We lived in a culture of superiority and judgement in the Org. Welcome to the forum and may the love of the Christ be with you…….?
I’m put in my place by you. I’m still struggling behind you in displaying the fruits of the spirit.
JB I’m sorry I didn’t even realise that you’re new to the forum. I’m often busy with family matters and don’t always keep up with who’s who here. I’m sorry for going into full defensive Martha mode. Welcome to the forum. I didn’t like what you said about me and reacted defensively, but I’m glad you’re here. The more the merrier. Iron sharpens iron.
WS, greetings to you and yours. ?
Martha and husband xx
Hi Martha and hubby,
The extended Warp family is doing well. Thanks for asking. Sounds like you guys are doing ok too. Martha, keep being the person that you are (while following Christ) and everything will be just fine.?
Mrs. Warp and myself love your comments!