Food for the needy

Food for the needy…Sacred Service?

Editor’s note: The following article was written by Brother Spike. Some small editorial adjustments were made by Brother Andrew and myself.  Spike and I have shared some discussions recently, where the topic of what Sacred Service is was brought up. It is certainly an appropriate discussion for all of us as strugglers on the Christian walk, whether we are active or inactive Witnesses or former Witnesses.  Please enjoy the following article. — JJ

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I felt moved to write something about this subject for different reasons. First of all this is an extremely important subject where Christians are concerned. Also, there seems to be conflicting ideas about what sacred service actually is. Any misinformation about sacred service or misunderstandings, could seriously affect our standing with our Creator. I feel it is important to let God’s word be the final authority as to the definition of Sacred Service. Let me explain what has prompted me to spend two weeks in meditation and study on this matter, as well as some sleepless nights.

 

As you are all well aware, Jehovah’s Witnesses place a great amount of emphasis on the preaching work, the main method being the “house-to-house” covering of territory. I respect the dedication shown, and I don’t doubt the motives of others doing this work since man cannot read hearts. In fact everyone I personally know appears to have fine motives. As you all probably know the normal “rank and file” members are mostly very sincere and humble people. So while not doubting their personal convictions and love of God and neighbor, I question the information they have been given to keep them motivated.

 

The new January 15, 2012 Study Edition of the Watchtower is a prime example, and one of the main motivating factors is writing this article. A scripture that comes mind is Job 34:3 “For the ear itself makes a test of words, just as the palate tastes when eating.” While reading an article entitled, “Making Whole-Souled Sacrifices For Jehovah”, I came across something that just did not “taste” right to my ear, as it had an off flavor that quickly ruined what could have been a refreshing spiritual meal.

 

The article is on page 21 of the Study Edition and starts off fairly well, and the first four paragraphs seem accurate. We are first reminded of how the ransom abolished the Mosaic Law (Colossians 2:13,14). Also that the law is a “tutor leading to Christ” as recorded in Galatians 3:24. The point is made that even though the Mosaic Law was abolished, Christians today are still concerned about making sacrifices, and 1 Peter 2:5 is mentioned because of the need for “spiritual sacrifices”. Romans 12:1 is cited as proof that “a dedicated Christian’s life-every aspect of it-may be appropriately considered a sacrifice”. It would have been nice for Romans 12:2 to also have been mentioned, but so far so good. Next, in paragraph 3 we are reminded that “a Christian makes sacrifices to Jehovah by offering up certain things to him or by giving up certain things for him.”

Then the off-flavor begins to be detected. The last part of paragraph 3 asks,

“On the basis of what we know about the requirements that existed for the Israelites, how can we be sure that all our sacrifices are acceptable to Jehovah?”

We are no longer under the Law, so although understanding it’s purpose and meaning are important, why use the requirements of the Law to gauge our service today? As paragraph 4 goes on to state the spirit in which we take care of housework, schoolwork, secular work, and even shopping is important because we are Christians 24 hours a day. (Colossians 3:18-24) These activities are defined in the paragraph as mundane activities. According to Webster’s Dictionary mundane means, “transitory, commonplace, worldly, etc…”, and an example of washing dishes is given. Even so, we must do these things “whole-souled as to Jehovah and not to men” as verse 23 says.

 

What is Sacred Service?Finally, paragraph 5 makes the statement:

“A Christian’s day-to-day activities are not part of his sacred service.”

So how are we to harmonize this with the previous four paragraphs? In particular, paragraph 2 of this January 15th study article states:

A dedicated Christian’s life- every aspect of it- may appropriately be considered “a sacrifice.” (Rom.12:1.)

So how then can the opening thought in paragraph 5 be true, where it flatly states that day-to-day activities are not? Is there a fundamental difference between a sacrifice and sacred service? Perhaps a technical difference between the two? Or are sacrifices an integral part of sacred service, which in my understanding is the same as worship? What does God’s word say about the matter?

 

We have already mentioned Romans 12:1, 2. These two verses on their own seem to refute the statement in paragraph 5. These read:

“Consequently I entreat YOU by the compassions of God, brothers, to present YOUR bodies a sacrifice living, holy, acceptable to God, a sacred service with YOUR power of reason.  And quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making YOUR mind over, that YOU may prove to yourselves the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1, 2,  NWT)

 

Are there others? Hebrews 13:16 states “Moreover, do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”. JJ brought an excellent article to my attention while discussing this subject, and I recommend that you read it. It is entitled “Are You a Steward of God’s Underserved Kindness?” from the January 15, 2009 Watchtower. This article shows how love and caring for one another is key to being a true Christian. Here is a partial quote:

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10 …We know that preaching the Kingdom message can save lives. At the same time, however, we also strive to imitate Paul by looking for opportunities to “impart some spiritual gift” to fellow believers…

11 Which of these two Christian activities is more important? Asking a question like that is somewhat similar to asking about a bird, Which of his two wings is more important? The answer is obvious. A bird needs to use both wings in order to fly properly. Similarly, we need to share in both aspects of our service to God in order to be complete as Christians. Thus, instead of regarding our assignments to preach the good news and to build up fellow believers as unrelated, we view them just as the apostles Peter and Paul did—as responsibilities that complement each other. In what way?
12 As evangelizers, we employ whatever teaching skills we may have in trying to touch the hearts of our fellow men with the uplifting message of God’s Kingdom. In that way, we hope to help them to become Christ’s disciples. However, we also use whatever abilities and other gifts we may have in trying to warm the hearts of our fellow believers with uplifting words and helpful deeds—expressions of God’s undeserved kindness. (Prov. 3:27; 12:25)

(Watchtower 2009 1/15 pp. 14-15 pars. 10-12)

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There are also two back to back articles on sacred service in the October 1st 1976 Watchtower and they are more balanced and accurate as well as encouraging. Here’s one excerpt:

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OUR WHOLE LIFE COURSE A“SACRED SERVICE”

“Sacred service,” then, is not something that occupies only a portion of our lives. It is not limited to just one activity or a certain number of activities but it takes in every aspect of our daily living.

(Watchtower 1976 10/1 page 598 paragraph 9)

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Also chapter 18 from “In Search of Christian Freedom”, under the subheading, “Service to God-What it Embraces” can also be recommend as it relates well to this information. Another scripture that seems to be a key to acceptable worship is James 1:27 which says:

“The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.” (James 1:27, NWT)

 

The power of this scripture is undeniable and it is this: The effort we put forth in caring for these ones, as well as keeping ourselves free of worldly contamination, can make or break our worship!

Are all these activities always of a public nature, viewed by men? Often times no human is aware of the private struggles we all put forth in resisting the “desires of the flesh” or the “spirit of the world”. This is not kept on file or something that can be measured by men as a means of judging our spirituality. Helping others in private is sometimes only known to our Heavenly Father and a few fellow humans. In fact to try to draw attention to the help we have given others would be incorrect. (Matthew 6:1-4)

It seems very obvious then, that based on James 1:27 these activities are sacred service. I am sure that many other daily activities, if done out of love for God could be considered sacred service as well. Love is an identifying mark of true Christians is it not? (John 13:34,35) Any act motivated by love for our Heavenly Father, our Mediator and Savior, Christ Jesus, and our fellow man regardless of their religion, would be an act of sacred service then would it not? Should we really have a prescribed list of what does and does not constitute sacred service, and then judge our brothers and sisters accordingly? Sadly, the Watchtower article seems to lean toward a prescribed set of works as the only acceptable forms of sacred service, these being:

 

  • Field service hours, especially “entering the ranks of pioneering”.
  • Financial contributions.
  • Kingdom Hall construction projects.
  • Attending meetings.
  • Personal study.

While I have no problem with any of these activities in themselves, is it scripturally accurate to state in print, that only these activities and not day-to-day activities done out of love for God constitute sacred service? For example, it is taught that if a JW does not have a good excuse, such as an illness, for being absent at a meeting that it is an act of infidelity against Jehovah.

At the Watchtower Study on a later Sunday, another comment was regarding sacred service. The conductor asked, “What is the difference between sacrifices and sacred service”?  No one was answering at, first, but then a brother spoke up and said, “all sacred service is a sacrifice, but not all sacrifices are sacred service”.

Now I am not sure how to class this argument; at first it seems logical, it satisfied the majority of the audience, or seemed to.

In school we did basic logic questions, for example:

All dogs have four legs and a tail, Spot has four legs and a tail, Spot is a dog.  True or False?  The answer is false. With the limited information given, Spot could be any animal with four legs and a tail.

This got me reasoning on the comment.  It seems logical until you realize that not enough information has been supplied. Isn’t the real question this:  “Are sacred service and worship synonymous? Do the scriptures show them to be equal? What does the original Greek show?”

Visiting the sickTo me that is the starting point for the discussion.  To try to equate sacrifice with sacred service confuses the issue because sacrifices are just one facet of sacred service.

 

I deeply feel that the correct understanding is that a True Christian’s entire life is a sacrifice, a part of his sacred service, and that anything we do out of pure motive for our Creator to serve him and our fellow humans is sacred service, or worship.

 

Maybe I am making an issue out of nothing, or reading into this too much? I admit it could be possible, since after becoming aware of problems within the organization one can become hyper-sensitive or overly critical.

To those of you that are reading this article, and especially those of you that are actively associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider these thoughts with an open mind. Also, please read the Watchtower articles referenced if you can, as well “In Search of Christian Freedom” chapter 18, by Raymond Franz if you have it available.

Please let me know your thoughts on this topic if you can!

 

With Sincerity and Christian Love,

Brother Spike

 

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In Search of Christian Freedom page 656:

“We will find that Christianity is not presented as either a system-oriented or building-oriented way of life and worship; nor is it defined by creeds or law codes. Neither is it centered upon specific activities viewed as specially and distinctly devotional and religious and therefore as having superior merit before God over other activities not so viewed. It is a way of life that embraces all of life and all of life’s activities. In reading the words of God’s Son and the writings of his apostles we find that it is not a matter of belonging to some religious system, practicing certain religious acts at certain times and certain places, but what we are as persons in our daily life that shows whether we are his followers or not.”

 

 

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47 Comments on What is Sacred Service?

  1. I applaud your blog what a great idea!
    Ray Franz book ‘In search of Christian Freedom’ was my passport to a free mind and more rational thinking-Danny Haszard

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  2. Londo says:

    Thanks everyone! Excellent food for thought. This is truly Christianity 101, next to which deep doctrinal discussions are superfluous. I pray I can take this to heart and implement it more fully in my life.

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  3. DanielB says:

    Very good observations here jojo . It cannot surprise us much that the WTS would catagorize and limit which things are sacred service , as their attempts at human control continue . You mentioned their sacred service catagory “5) personal study” . I am encouraged and benefitted by your “personal study” on this very subject . It is always best to hold to the teachings found within God’s Word , as you have done here . I know that cultic religionists have their own ideas over what “personal study” needs to consist of in their neat and tidy packaged definition . I especially appreciated the form of worship that is acceptable to God being quoted which is found at James 1: 27 .

    Thank you jojo

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  4. use 2 b a dub says:

    Brothers,
    Well done. I also agree with DanielB that the WTS can not only define but cause the “rank and file” to believe that only the GB knows what constitutes ‘sacred service’. I use to think to myself when out in the ministry, “What if the householder asked us to do something for them as a kindness such as take them to the nearby doctor?”
    Should we respond out of human kindness and fellow felling or should we check to see if we can ‘count our time’ while helping the householder out?
    Which act would be “sacred service”? Helping someone out in a practical situation or wondering if we’d be cutting into our defined “sacred service”?
    I consider the time I spend with my grand children and before that with my own children as ‘Sacred Service”.
    your bro,
    use 2 b a dub

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  5. jojo says:

    I appreciate the comments. I believe our Heavenly Father truly appreciates the efforts that we all put forth to serve him. If our motives are pure, and we take ourselves out of the equation, and then sincerely do our best to share His teachings, we have His support and approval. I also appreciate the help and association with JJ and Andrew, and everyone here.

    There are many in my congregation that I care about, and they truly love YHWH. I hope I was fair and did not sound like I was being critical of them, or any sincere Christian. I simply felt moved to share my thoughts on the danger of not adhering to God’s word in all matters.

    Jojo

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    • JJ says:

      JoJo

      You are very fair-minded and respectful in dealing with the topic.

      That’s one of the things that I have tried very hard to do with JWStruggle- to keep it fair, and not to be judging individuals, but respecting their beliefs.

      The brothers and sisters that are still asleep inside the organization are for the most part, simply doing the best they can, going along with the structure that they believe to be the absolute truth. We can help them in a variety of ways, through kind words and actions, as well as prayer in their behalf. And sometimes one of the ways we can give that help is by leaving.

      As time passes we must decide how long we can be associated with the Witness movement, and whether we can be a Christian in association with Jehovah’s Witnesses or not. Some can; some can’t, and feel compelled to separate from association. This is not a renouncing of their love of the friends or their love for YHWH our heavenly Father and his Son Christ though!

      Either way, we try hard to keep our own spirituality up, and not neglect Bible study, prayer, and other acts of Sacred Service. It isn’t easy, but we all must bear our stauros as Jesus said.

      Thanks for the encouraging points you have shared JoJo.

      In Christ,
      JJ

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  6. DanielB says:

    It is the very Situation of religious indoctrination described that needs critical examination , as we do here , that is a noble-minded endeavor . So many teachings and policies of religions are faulty in this world . Suggestions become rules , guidelines become laws , and deviants from Yeshua become lawless in the true sense .

    “Personal” study is freedom to make it personal , and we needn’t accept the dictates of men over the information that is examined . No one should dictate what to study so that it interferes with Christian Liberty .

    It is a God-given right in our Sacred Service .

    May the Spirit of YHWH be the force actuating our mind .

    In Christ . . .

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  7. Notimportant says:

    Organized book pg 137 “physical cleanliness” — describes maintains a neat and orderly home as a witness….. And if thats the case yard work would be a sacred service.

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  8. DanielB says:

    Yes , Notimportant , in consideration that our very being belongs to our Maker , even yard work is part of serving God with our whole minds , hearts , and souls .

    When a necessary yard project needs to get done a family ought to pitch in together to get it completed if at all possible . At least , that is the way I would approach it as a husband and father . It could perhaps bring more praise to God’s name than unfruitful door-knocking .

    But then each decision on such things is an individual consideration .

    Whole-souled involves everything , “as to Yehowah” , mundane as our responsibilities may seem at times .

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  9. Disappointed says:

    Bro Jojo.. thankyou for that article and the care and attention you put into it. I must admit I too thought about the chapter bro. Ray Franz wrote in his book. It had a deep effect on me when I read it because I could see in that first WT article of ’76 what real sacred service was. It was every aspect of our life that makes us a christian, because we are putting into practice the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit. It was not limited to certain things. It was our whole life as dedicated to God and unselfish acts towards our fellowman. What good is it to go out on the FS knocking on empty doors when there are people, especially ones related to us in the faith who need help. The early christians (especially the Philippians who were renowned for it) made sure that their brothers and sisters, particularly widows, orphans and the needy were looked after. That was sacred service! You made some excellent points brother Jojo and I too know some lovely brothers and sisters amongst the JWs that put all their hearts into doing just this (one or two to the detriment of their own health)and who show hospitality such as ones like Dorcas and Lydia in the 1stC. They can truly be called christian!

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  10. Amos says:

    An excellent article brother Jojo.

    This has been one of my views also concerning our “sacred service”. Our very life course, everything that we do, each & every day, should give a resounding witness that we are really “brothers of Christ”. This of course includes what we do behind closed doors at home, just as much as in the public arena.

    Your brother in the Lord,
    Amos

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  11. Ruth says:

    Dear sister disappointed.
    I so agree with what you said as l remember so fondly of my dear sister’s inside how they looked after us single sisters so well. Of cause we did not take it for granted doing everything we could also. I tell you l miss that personal love.’ There was a real love and fondness
    among the elderly also that we had. When the w/tower erased the generation theory l remember some of them were so upset as they had been trying to keep alive thinking the end was so close. I was also so sad for there disappointment.

    Remembering brothers who had small children and had far to much on there plates to make every requirement of meeting attendance therefor neglecting there families so they could be obedient slaves to the w/tower. All in all thinking this is sacred service? Yet such a struggle for them to keep up.

    My heart pains for all the families under such a cruel system. And honestly! Thats what it is.
    One brother I knew so well was not promoted to a MS because they said he lacked Gods spirit. Why? because he simply could not do everything they asked of him.
    How dreadful it is when men start to rule everything. Having the power to take away a sound mind from the followers because of their own laws heavy rules and regulations.. I have only disgust for that organisation.

    Of cause I cry for my brothers and sisters who are trapped in their own minds. In such a heavy burden when Jesus said come to me . I will refresh your souls. ( Not to any religion.)
    Sis Patricia

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    • use 2 b a dub says:

      hi ruth,
      i well remember how all brothers were and still are encouraged to “reach out” for more congregation ‘privileges’. i bought into that thinking and i now look back and see how much i neglected my own wife, children, and parents in the name of “reaching out” for greater privileges. never having much quality time for my family was my ‘sacrifice’ and part of my ‘sacred service’ so i thought at the time.
      although my wife and children have never shown resentment toward my ‘reaching out’, i know that they feel it and it hurts me to know that i cannot go back and recapture those years when my family was younger and eager to have dad around.
      of course, i’m not the only one that made those sacrifices for the organization. i just wonder how many other brothers share my regrets?
      my heart pains for all those families that did without dad while he was busy preparing for meetings, participating in the meetings, etc., etc., and the ‘brief’ elders meetings after the meetings. when my kids were younger, we had our meeting on Thursday nights, many times we did not get home until 10:45. my bad and i know it now but at the time i thought it all part of my ‘sacred service’.
      your bro,
      use 2 b a dub

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  12. Ruth says:

    Dear 2d a dub.
    How lovely to hear from you. I feel very honoured to meet you.

    Thank goodness brother our father has not left us all with out hope.
    I don’t know if you and I are on the same page yet. But this scripture In Colossians 1:27
    takes us to a new way of thinking about our Lord and saviour regarding our relationship with him.

    Christ being a mystery amoung the gentiles. “Which is Christ in you” the hope and the glory.

    Th w/tower would go berserk if they ever heard us mention such a thing. We new Christians
    are now being lead by none other than our Lord! He is the one showing us the way now. Not religion. Not an organisation. John 14:6 makes it so clear. We truly are a scattered sheep fold to-day.

    Brother has your wife come out with you? Your family? Are you struggling out there in the alone in wilderness? Take notice Brother many of us are waiting and hoping we will all be united in the real
    way together soon we hope.
    Its been such a hard journey. And a hard lesson to learn.

    regards your sister Ruth (patricia)

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  13. Ruth says:

    Bro Jo Jo
    What a very interesting article. So true yet so sad at the same time.
    Thank goodness that we are finding so much truth. Learning as well to understand each other more and more. Being patient as each one grows to maturity in Our Lord. We now really listen when we open the holy book instead of listening to man for the answers to lives questions.

    Not saying we do not appreciate the topics our brothers are helping us with though. we certainly do.
    Sister Ruth.

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  14. IJA says:

    Wonderful article! My response to that study was exactly the same as yours. For the most part I found it a very encouraging study, but that one line about defining sacred service grated under my skin.

    Also, thank you for sharing that 2009 WT article. I remember it well. I have a husband who dearly wants to serve on the Building Group, but has been denied because of not having the national average in service time. He has also been told numerous times he would be a wonderful servant, because he is so interested and caring toward the brothers and sisters. Again, not qualifying in service time. Husband is still wants to believe the system, it is so sad to see him go through this.

    If service to our brothers and service in preaching are two wings of the same bird, then how can you justify having to “qualify” in one before serving in the other? That 2009 article was entirely accurate, but unfortunately it is only lip service. Their actions show they believe otherwise.

    Thank you for your article.

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    • JJ says:

      Sister IJA

      Welcome to JWS. It is encouraging for us to hear your perspective and about your struggles to serve our Heavenly Father.

      Since “counting time” is not a doctrine to be found in the Bible anywhere, but something imposed by creed, some have felt that they do not need to turn it in as God knows what they are doing. This is a personal, conscience-based decision, but of course some difficulties will be encountered when your field service overseer, and then eventually the elder serving as secretary try to carry out their mandate and get that time slip from you!

      Some have simply included their efforts in other avenues of sacred service, such as caring for theocratic pursuits, deep study, encouragement of fellow believers, etc., when doing their time-counting each month. If it truly is “one wing of the same bird”, and a part of our worship to Jehovah, then this could be a solution to your husband’s problem. If his conscience permits it, he could then begin to include some of these efforts into his time report, and undoubtedly his numbers will climb above the minimal number of 10 hours per month.

      As time went on, I personally realized that I was spending considerably more time in praising and worshiping God and Christ then was ever reflected on a time slip, and the record-keeping and placement counting became meaningless to me at that point.

      With you in Christ,
      JJ

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  15. greybeard says:

    Thank you JoJo for a excellent article 😉

    I have always felt turning in time was going way beyond what is written. Is placing Watchtower and Awakes important to YHWH? I surly don’t think so. At Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus expresses what he takes notice of.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Greybeard

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  16. DanielB says:

    Keeping time records is letting the right hand know what the left hand is doing , to say the least . Better to let the Son of God assess our service . Why does the Society need all that record-keeping anyway ? Hours are not a good barometer .

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  17. Jayme says:

    I really enjoyed this article brothers, thankyou!

    The quote from the 1976 watchtower seems to sum things up very well. Its a shame they have moved away from this clear scriptural understanding. A few years ago I read something about brother Ray Franz and a few others working at that time to advance a more accurate understanding of sacred service. That 76 WT is one of the products of their work. Does anyone else recall reading about that?

    From my perspective, I see our whole life as christians as sacred service. We have died to ourselves and now strive to live instead for Christ. This involves all sorts of sacrifices daily. We are now continually in the service of our King, to represent him to the world thru word and deed. Most importantly we do this thru reflecting his LOVE and MERCY in all aspects of our life. Brothers and Sisters, let your light shine, do ALL things for Gods glory! Matt. 5:16, 1 Cor 10:31

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  18. DanielB says:

    Amen dear Jayme ! Amen !

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  19. jojo says:

    Jayme,

    Here is a true, but sad story. A very good friend of mine and I were in the Ministry. I showed him those 76′ articles. This was the Saturday before the ” Whole-souled ” lesson. His comment was really telling. He said that he remembered those articles. He said that they were written after Brother Franz left because Brother Franz did not like going in service, and he was telling people that they could just mow the lawn to serve God. Those article were to clear up any misunderstanding about sacred service. Sad right? Not only did he not really know what those articles were about, he was not aware who their author was, or when they were written. Misinformation + Control of information has a powerful effect on people.

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  20. Willie says:

    “If the consecration be to the Lord, then every sacrifice of our just rights and interests on behalf of ourselves as New Creatures, on behalf of husband or children, father or mother, neighbors or friends, brethren in Christ, is counted of the Lord as so much done to him; whereas if the very same services were rendered from any other standpoint–by any one unjustified, and not consecrated to the Lord, or merely done to the individuals and not as a sacrifice unto the Lord–these things would not count to us as priests, as our sacrifices.” Z. ’03-407 (CTR)

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  21. Anonymous says:

    @ use to be a dub,………
    I just wanted to say I could relate to your comments about being “busy” in the org and not having time for much family time (summing up your thoughts),
    I raised my three young adult children very convinced of watchtower dogmatic doctrines….. I have two young boys at home now and I have come to know the ttatt, I’m raising them to love God without the kind of fear and guilt from the org and its so much more meanifull.

    Confused

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  22. FutureMan says:

    What an excellent article that you have written here.

    Yes I do agree that “sacred service” is our whole life and at times can be at a cost or sacrifice to our wants and even needs in our life.

    The “Kingdom” as I have come to understand now, represents our relationship with our Heavenly Father as human sons of his and our relationship to our fellowman here on earth as well as to our heavenly brothers (God’s angels) and other extraterrestrial races that exists throughout this particular universe of which Jesus is now the confirmed sovereign of.

    Jesus while he was here on earth showed what sacred service entailed and so his whole life was devoted to the doing of his Heavenly Father’s will, which also was his own expressed will of which he expressed by showing his love here on earth to all mankind, ultimately expressing this perfect love for all of us by dying a painful death on the torture stake.

    In doing this he was also expressing the love of his Heavenly Father for all of us here on earth as sons of God, though wayward sons.

    It is this same self sacrificing love that was expressed through God’s Son, Jesus that we all should manifest towards one another, especially to those related to us by faith in the Lord.

    It is this same love that unites us as followers of Jesus and as a brotherhood and sisterhood.

    This is the love that identifies us as Jesus true disciples.

    John 13
    34 I give a new commandment to you, that you should love one another; according as I loved you, you should also love one another.
    35 By this all shall know that you are My disciples, if you have love among one another. [LITV]

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  23. Penelope says:

    I cannot believe i just stumbled onto this site!! i have been reading my bible and praying to Jah for some answers because I am currently a very sad, confused, and disillusioned JW…it’s as if my God led me here!

    Back to the topic at hand…For years, I have had real issues with the Watchtower’s view of sacred service/sacrifices, specifically the subject of what takes priority in Jah’s eyes with regard to our service to him (I vividly remember the 1/15/09 Watchtower article that JJ referenced because I didn’t believe that it was in agreement with God’s word.)

    I think it’s already been touched on so i guess i am just reiterating but from my study of the scriptures, the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters should always come before the needs of those who are not part of our Christian family. Why, what good does it do to make one proselyte by going door to door when two are walking out the door of the Kingdom Hall for good? And yet that is exactly what’s happening and i believe many more would leave if it weren’t for the fact that they would lose their JW family members and friends if they did so.

    The importance of loving our fellow brothers and sisters is continually empasized in the scriptures but not at the kingdom hall where it takes a very back seat to the “get out in service or you die” doctrine. That’s not to say that the ministry isn’t important –it is–but not at the expense of our Christian brothers and sisters. In addition to some of the verses already cited by others, 1john chapter 4 makes this very clear: “Beloved ones, let us continue loving one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born from God and gains the knowledge of God”…”Beloved ones, if this is how God loved us, then we are under obligation to love one another”…”IF we continue loving on another, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us”…”FOR HE WHO DOES NOT LOVE HIS BROTHER, WHOM HE HAS SEEN, CANNOT BE LOVING GOD, WHOM HE HAS NOT SEEN.” This brings us to the greatest commandment which Jesus quoted (Matt.22:37): You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind. If we fail to take care of the needs of our christian family, in effect, demostrating a lack of love for them, does Jah view us as someone who loves him whole souled?

    Romans 13:10 says that love is the law’s fullfillment and the Apostle Paul stated that love is the superlative quality that all other spiritual attributes –even faith — must stem from (not the other way around!) Finally, at John 13:34, Jesus gave his followers a new commandment which would serve as the number one identifying mark of true Christians: “By this all…

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  24. Disappointed says:

    Welcome Penelope. Hope you enjoy the site and find it encouraging.

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    • Amos says:

      Welcome to the site sister Penelope.

      Your observations are quite right sister. I’d like to extend the thought from Jn.13:34b; “even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

      I believe this takes the understanding of how great our love for one another should be. If we think of, “as I have loved you,” this takes the love that we have for “one another” to a much greater level.
      Christ “loved us” enough to sacrifice His life for us, but not only us, for the whole human family since creation. Are we prepared to lay down our life for our brothers & sisters? The Lord did.

      I also believe that the “law of love,” is what the entire gospel is built on. It doesn’t matter what part of the gospel we look at, it always comes back to love, love of God first, then love of neighbor.

      Amos

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  25. v says:

    JJ.
    Could you please fix the problem foot me V keeps coming up instead of Ruth?
    Thanks so much

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  26. v says:

    Penelope
    Its so lovely to have another sister talking like you do on this site.
    Please drop by and say Hi.
    truthistimeless@gmail.com I would love to speak with you. Love to hear your story.
    Sis Ruth

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  27. Willie says:

    In addition to the comments that Amos made in welcoming Penelope, I would like to add the following quote: “Our Lord Jesus Christ is the grandest example of self-denial in the interests of others. He was rich in the possession of the spiritual nature with all its glory and honor. Yet for our sakes he became poor, taking the human nature in order that he might redeem mankind. To this end he surrendered life itself at Calvary, that through his sacrifice we might become rich–possessed of Divine favor and the riches of Divine grace in Christ–even joint-heirship with him who is now our exalted Lord at the right hand of Divine Majesty. But to attain this joint-heirship with him we must study to be like him, to have his Spirit and to share with others whatever he may give us of either temporal or spiritual favor–either to feed or to clothe others (particularly those of the household of faith) temporally or spiritually, as circumstances may dictate.” (CTR) Z. ’16-219

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  28. Freethinkerinjah says:

    Hi Ruth got your email thank you. I will have to ask my friend who iPad I borrow to help me send a email. In the meantime I am your spritiual sis and will tell you later more about story which sounds a lot in common with stories regarding being put of the congregation because of a dress code and not agreeing with teachings that are not in harmony with the bible , yet I am spiritually thriving now cause JEhovah can’t be lost. See ya soon freethinkerinjah

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  29. Rupunzelsawake says:

    So many good comments here. Re-wording of 1 Samuel 15:22, “Does Jehovah have as much delight in hours on report slips as in obeying the voice of Jehovah?” So many JWs neglect their brothers and sisters when they have been commanded to love them as Jesus loves them. I have seen many, many, shamefully neglected, and it is noticed by outsiders. How much of the time counted is spent talking about all manner of things not spriritual or upbuilding, perhaps even gossiping about how immodest sister so-and-sos shoes are!! Or sitting in a car. Will Jehovah really delight in that?

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  30. goldylocksnz says:

    For years, I have asked the same question. If we put as much time in supporting and caring in a practical way our “families” in the truth, would they suffer burnout or give up and not go to the meetings, and then be accused of…. “oh they must be falling out the truth!” Come On!!!
    Where is the large army of women to help eachother. I am so sick of “oh we are just so busy”…. WHATEVER!!!!
    Where is the love among ourselves, and our Christian spirit. Ditch the field service reports…. they are just controls over us… sales…. sales…. sales!

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    • Rupunzelsawake says:

      Hi Goldylocksnz!! Are you in NZ? I am!! (Do I know you? You sound just like someone I know!)) Yes, love is missing, also God’s spirit, in the congregations. It’s systemic. Such a misplaced “zeal” for the ministry (and for their own salvation, not anyone elses). The command we have been given is to love oneanother as Christ loves us! But that seems to go by the wayside. Do you watch wild-life programmes? A herd of antelope are “stampeding”, the weak, young, and elderly are trailing behind, where the lions are picking them off one by one. The herd moves on regardless. The ones at the front do not turn back to assist their weak. That is JWs!! (Of course that is not all of them, but just generally speaking.)

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      • Chris says:

        The thing I find (in NZ) is, despite being a nominal Christian nation, people are largely apathetic and this often translates to the congregations. So, rather than the July 15th WT being a source of concern many will just go “oh well, it must be right” and carry on.
        There are so many inter-family and employment connections that in some areas it is just a big social circle that nobody wants to upset because the implications are huge.
        What ever happened to concern for the Truth?

        For those of us who know it’s like being in the underground. You are too scared to question openly in case you are turned over to the secret police. Consequently you never get to know who else is “struggling”
        That may be an extreme analogy but it is oddly true. At least Jesus knows who we all are :)

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        • Rupunzelsawake says:

          That’s so true what you say Chris. I get the sense that even the elders I’ve spoken to are struggling. However, most it seems are just “comfortable’. As long as they attend meetings, put in a field service report, they think they are safe, but they are deluding themselves. If they were really concerned about the salvation of others besides themselves, they would be concerned with “truth”, as you say, and “getting it right”. When I was struggling in the org I absolutely did not visit sites like this,(I didn’t even know they existed), and I felt all alone. That went on for years, my health suffering as a consequence, until I burst and couldn’t keep it in any longer!!.

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          • Chris says:

            Its funny how things turn around, I remember when I started pioneering and was anxious about possibly meeting several clergyman who lived in an area, a brother said to me “don’t worry you will always know more than they do”. So our confidence was based on a perceived superior knowledge of the Scriptures, yet looking back we misapplied many of them.
            Fast forward 20 years and I had 2 separate conversations with elders about “irregularities” in certain understandings ‘we’ have. One elder shut the conversation down with “Jehovah’s organisation tacks with the wind according to the times and world conditions” and “think of your children’s future”. Another elder briefly expressed his own dismay that 1975 didn’t transpire as the WTS suggested but he said if I left “where else could I go” and “feel free to come around and talk anytime but if you try and sway me from the truth I will throw you out of my house”.
            It took a while for the penny to drop, then I realised that they live in FEAR! Fear of the organisation, fear of knowledge that contradicts what they hold to be true, fear of others and fear of the Scriptures!
            Despite all their claims the WTS does not fear God, but they want the ‘domestics’ to fear them.

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  31. Ruth says:

    Do we have 3 New Zealenders here? Glodielocks. Rupunzel and Chris.
    Ruth.

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  32. Ruth says:

    You 3 have to get on the plane and come see me in Australia.
    ruth.

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  33. goldylocksnz says:

    New Zealanders like Australians, have a she’ll be right. I was raised as a Witness, but like many young ones got baptized at 16, and went nuts at 19. Where is the freedom of speech to ask, and to question without fear of being alienated from family. Where is Jesus’s number one command to love one another, and freely forgive.
    I desperately wait for Jehovah to solve all these issues, and my faith is that I know only God is my judge and saviour. No amount of hours in field service, or being careful in what I do or say, will get me into the New System any quicker….. as it is for everyone….. so why….. why…. why…. is one rule better than another…. why is to Shephard really to judge. Again… where is the love.
    I value my freedom of speech, but because of family connections cannot speak out…. so do I really have freeness of speech. Only to my dearest husband, and my close friend and neighbour, and most importantly, Jehovah…. who sees all.

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  34. goldylocksnz says:

    Chris, It is fear like many religions that keeps JW’s on the straight on narrow. On my wedding night, and yes I was disfellowshipped, it was fear that sent my hubby to the meeting, just in case one of the elders wanted to speak to him about being reinstated. FEAR!!! (ignorance more like it) Damn I am angry at looking back. It is fear of losing your family, and always being told that you are dead in God’s eyes if you are disfellowshiped. I want nothing to do with that attitude and mentality.
    I struggle to receive gifts because I feel that I am not special, and what have I done to deserve that kindness.
    Christianity….. marrying in the Lord…… love, examples of our perfect father….. yet as an “inactive” JW…. it has been for many years now… not fear that makes me love Jehovah but implicit faith.

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    • Rupunzelsawake says:

      Hi goldylocksnz! You are special my friend! You make such good points about this supposed freeness of speech JWs are supposed to enjoy, but as you say, there is none…..and that silence is maintained by fear! They dare to call that unity!! It’s so sad.

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  35. Chris says:

    1 John 4:18
    “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love”. NIV
    “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love”. NKJV
    “A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learned to love”. CEV
    Could we have said it any better!

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  36. Ruth says:

    Chris l love what you wrote from scripture its so true. Fear destroys so much. Love is so important.
    Love will cast fear outside. Until we realise this we will just go on living in fear.

    The w/t had us in fear. they had spies. actually l remember one brother telling us all from the flatform to report to the elders anyone who spoke against anything the faithful slave had said to us throught the mags ect. Or if anyone saw something that might be sin to go again to the elders.

    When we look back it was so dreadful.
    ruth

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  37. Rupunzelsawake says:

    I love how you brought out that particular verse Chris. It has application also to those of religious systems that believe in the God-dishonering doctrine of eternal punishment. An old and dear friend of mine, from way-back, who is catholic, is daily tormented by the thought that he will go to hell. He suffers depression from that fear, and at times it is debilitating. Most I talk to have virtually emptied “hell”. They believe God is all-forgiving because they can’t bear the thought of eternal punishment. They shouldn’t have to bear it. Because it’s not true!(That does not mean though that God forgives all…but the punishment is death.)

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