The house painter
You hire a painter to paint your home. Everything looked good, from far. When you saw his work closely, you found out that the painter picked the colors he wanted and not the ones you ordered. Would you hire him again? Likewise, disobeying God’s instructions can adversely affect our service to Jehovah. No matter how good we are at something, we don't want to rely on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) We want to work in harmony with Bible principles and the guidelines from the Organization.
Obeying God is not like going to a buffet where you can choose what you like and ignore what you don’t. Godly subjection is not a matter of what I personally like or don't like. Christians need to learn to obey all the good advice and wise principles set forth in the Bible in order to gain the most benefit and have God's approval.
Do you realize that in the Bible there are many instances of situations where Jehovah's people were given directions that made no sense from a human standpoint and seemed totally illogical? For instance:
All of these situations happened at Jehovah's direction but they seemed foolish and totally illogical from a human standpoint. It seemed each time as if they would be killed. In the end, it didn't matter because Jehovah of Armies was with them. We should ask ourselves: Are we willing to quickly obey and trust the channel Jehovah is using today? What seems illogical to us imperfect human may have perfect sense to God.
- Abraham sacrificing his only son Isaac.
- Noah building an ark on dry land when it had never rained.
- Moses had the Israelites march out in battle formation and then march back in the direction they left. Pharaoh thought they may have been erratic or lost, so then Moses led them to the Red Sea; from Pharaoh's point of view, they were sitting ducks - their backs were against the sea.
- Gideon's army was whittled down to 300 men. With torches and jars they went out to defeat the enemy.
- For 6 days they marched around Jericho once and on the 7th day they marched seven times and then shouted.
- Jehoshaphat, who was afraid when the Ammonites and others were coming to annihilate them, prayed and Jehovah said...put the singers, women, Children in front of the armed forces and go and meet the enemy!
Climb up the fence
Your neighbor tells you that there is a fence between you and him making it impossible for the two of you to converse. If you climb over the fence or you run over it, the neighbor will get upset. But if you say to him: 'Actually, take a second look, we are on the same side of the fence, so we can indeed have a good conversation without hindrance'. Now that will overcome the fence without running over it. The same with conversation stoppers. We want to show the householders that there is common ground, you are actually on the same side of the fence, so there is no need to stop a conversation between people that have the same interest.
‘I don't want to read your publications. They are not part of my religion’
If you read a book on Russia, does that mean you have to become Russian?
‘If my religion is not right, it’s not my fault but that of my minister’
If your lawyer does a poor job, who goes to jail?
‘All religions are the same’
It's like a forest seen from a distance. All the trees look alike until you get close and examine them.
‘Just live a good life, don't harm your neighbor, that is enough’
If you hired a painter to paint your house, and he helped the neighbor, helped an old lady across the street, did things around your house that you didn't ask to have done, but he never painted your house, would you pay him?
‘I don't have time to read the Bible nor your publications’
If you go grocery shopping on Friday, do you sit down and eat the everything in one sitting? Spread it out a little at a time through the week.
‘Everyone has his own idea about the Bible. It is impossible to know who is right’
You can use one of the following illustrations:
- If you have trouble with your car, it wobbles in the front end, you go to several mechanics, and get different stories from each one. One says it is the carburetor, one says it is the tires, another says it's the muffler. You are not the expert - so how can you know? It would not take a lot of research to get at least an idea of who is telling the truth. Similarly, it does not take a lot of research in the Bible to at least find out who is telling the truth.
- If you were learning a skill/sport/instrument, would you know who is doing it right by how they argue over the manual (or usually, many many manuals/textbooks)? or would you see who is right by how they do it? According to the Bible, true Christians are not primarily identified by their doctrine, but rather, by their actions (John 13.34,35)
‘You should be out helping the poor instead of going from door to door’
If you pass a lake and see someone drowning, would you throw him a sandwich or a lifebuoy? Save his life first and then tend to his hunger
‘It is not logical to live forever’
If a man had ten books but built a bookcase large enough to hold a thousand books, what would you think? Would you not think he planned to fill it? Our brain has the ability far in excess of what we use it for in a normal lifetime.
‘Perfection will be boring’
Look at the animal kingdom. Look at the variety among them. There will be room for contrast and similarities. There will be room for the bitter and sweet. Is there any activity that you do over and over and would never get bored with? (fishing, music, sports, eating? napping, etc...)
‘I have confidence in my religious leaders’
You may also have confidence in your bank manager, but don't you check your bank account from to time to time anyway?
Violin prodigy Joshua Bell played in a train station for 45 minutes. Lovers of classical music are happy to pay hundreds of dollars to see him play, yet that day in the train station nobody was keen enough to observe what was happening. Most walked by and didn't notice. It makes us wonder, are we observant? (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/style/wp/2014/10/14/gene-weingarten-setting-the-record-straight-on-the-joshua-bell-experiment/)
Jonathan Swift’s quote
Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old (http://www.azquotes.com)
In the Bible, Jehovah's Organization is compared to a Celestial Chariot that can make impressive moves. We need to keep pace with that Chariot. It's like following a friend that knows the route to get to a certain place. If we go too slow, we will lose track of them and stay behind; but if we go too fast, we will pass them and be ahead of them; however since we don't know the route, we will get lost. Likewise, Jehovah is driving his Chariot, he knows how to get us into the new world. We are following him. We don't want to be too slow and stay behind by not being familiar with the new light, recent theocratic terminology or having a backwards attitude with regards to the use of technology. At the same time, we shouldn't try to be ahead of the Chariot, speculating on matters of doctrine. We have to keep pace with the Chariot.
Try to imagine that all of us are in Jehovah's Organization, sticking to it and doing what we are supposed to be doing, and giving our best to Jehovah. It's like we are all riding along on a train together into the new system. The Organization is like a train without a floor (Flintstone-train). All are moving steadily in the direction of the new system. However, we all have to keep pace with the train. Keep up with new developments. Don't stand still! Never tire out or get off the train!
Biking up the mountain
Imagine you are on a mountain that has a very steep slope. You go up riding on a bike. You are pedaling, pedaling, and as you move forward, the effort you need to put forth increases. Your strength decreases and the slope gets steeper. But you keep pedaling because you want to reach the top. If you were in that situation, would it not be tempting to turn around and just go back down, carried away by the force of gravity? Think about it: the physical exertion would be less and the wind now blowing in your favor would be refreshing to your face. Similarly, God's Organization is compared to a mountain (Isaiah 2:2-4). We all want to climb up the mountain of the house of Jehovah, but the reality is that in this world it is increasingly difficult to serve God. (2 Tim. 3:13) It's like pedaling up the slope but fighting the alluring idea of just turning around and get carried away by the force of gravity of this world. It feels like it can be refreshing to leave behind some of the struggles true Christians need to endure. Some of our brothers have been carried away by it and have strayed. They forgot that speeding down the slope of a mountain on a bike is dangerous. They forgot that once downhill, Satan is in charge, and he loves to see people speeding down with no brakes. How disastrous it can be to take that risk. What we need to climb a mountain, whether on a bike or on foot, is to be in good shape. Likewise, if a Christian gets exhausted biking on the slope of the mountain of Jehovah it might be because he's spiritually out of shape. From time to time we should ask ourselves, how is my spiritual condition, my relationship with Jehovah, my personal study? These things will give us the strength to continue going up the mountain of Jehovah.
The human body originates with one single cell that grows exponentially into many millions of specialized cells. The growth of the earthly part of Jehovah's Organization can be compared with that, especially when we look at the future prospects of universal growth in the new world. (Isa. 60:22).
Some species of birds, like the geese, fly in V formation for efficiency and survival when migrating. Flying in itself is not enough, they need to fly forming a certain shape. Certain species of Geese have even been spotted flying over Mount Everest! As Christians, we do good if we are dedicated to Jehovah, but are we flying in formation? Are we working closely with his Organization? That's necessary to survive our migration to the new world. (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-25736049; https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26802-geese-use-the-himalayas-like-a-massive-rollercoaster/)
Jehovah's Organization is likened to a mountain. When you climb a mountain you enjoy panoramic views. Similarly, when you climb Jehovah's mountain you have his elevated point of view, you can see things from his perspective. You can see different vistas, like the spiritual temple, covenants, the big picture of the preaching work. Don't keep those vistas for yourself. Share them with others. When we climb a high mountain we can see the endless horizon right before us. Likewise, when you climb the mountain of the house of Jehovah you will get a unique view only God's people have: you will be able to see eternity. As we deepen our understanding of the hope of eternal life Jehovah has given us and as we know more of about Him as a immortal person we will be able to visualize the wonderful eternal blessings in store for us.
Golden Age 1922 April 26, page 463 stated a farsighted comment: 'Some day each human individual may carry in his vest pocket his own private wireless telephone, through which he can receive reliable news from various parts of the earth and communicate at will with private individuals wherever they may be. Then, too, the necessity for the phonograph will be practically eliminated...' For 1922, that was a farsighted comment. Our Organization has never opposed to the proper use of technology, on the contrary, we have used it to advance kingdom interests.
Great Crowd and Other Sheep
All bread is food, but not all food is bread. Similarly, all those in the great crowd are other sheep, but not all other sheep are part of the great crowd. More info: Watchtower 1995 4/15, page 31
Basket of ingredients
Have you ever seen a cooking show where the chefs get a basket of ingredients and they need to make a meal out of it? It's a given that they will never give the judges the raw ingredients as a meal. They will try to make a delicious meal out of it! We can see the outline of a talk as that basket of ingredients. It’s raw and it needs to be cooked. We should never read the outline line by line adding only connecting phrases and conjunctions when delivering a talk. That will be so raw! You have to cook it, develop it, bake it, roast it —but don’t burn it!— so that your audience can enjoy a delicious spiritual meal.
JFK to Warwick
If you are in JFK airport and want to reach the Headquarters in Warwick, you have different ways you can take. You can take the short way by means of a taxi or by driving there. Conversely, you can take the long way by walking there. Surely, nobody would say: driving is too dangerous and is too expensive to take a taxi, I’ll just walk there. In reality, the benefits of using a vehicle outweigh by far any possible danger. Comparably speaking, when preparing a talk some brothers take the long way. They write down every single word they will say. Then they spend lots of time reading that manuscript until they almost memorize it. Of course, everybody has different styles. In the long term, though, it is worth to try using an outline. You may feel a little apprehension the first few times. You may feel like you are in the middle of the ocean but don’t know how to swim. But once you have moved on from that initial apprehension, you’ll be driving a Ferrari directly to Warwick. It will enhance your talks' delivery.