[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)