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CAN WE SPOT A LOST SHEEP ?......


Queen Esther
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28 minutes ago, Anna said:

My mother in law, who is living with us, daily takes her blood pressure, glucose reading and weight and records it in a chart, so that when the doc checks on her once a month, she knows exactly where she is and can adjust any medicine acordingly. She just increased her insulin by one point and said that she wished other patients kept such a meticulous chart as it would not only make her job easier, but would ensure better care for the patient. 

 

Sure. If you think true Christianity is measured like blood pressure then I have no wish to argue with you. I believe JW's are fairly unique among Christian denominations in this regard. Perhaps Jesus' direction in Matt 6:3 doesn't actually apply to us, and perhaps also the Bible just omitted the need to measure people by "hours of work" by accident.

If you truly believe that then I don't wish to dispute with you. Some people are suggesting that it's the right way to handle things, and I'm simply pointing out the mindset and counter-productive fruits that can result by being constantly oriented in this way.

Personally I don't feel that any scriptural instruction is for no reason, but I appreciate that others rationalize differently.

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CAN  WE  SPOT  A  LOST  SHEEP ?...... When she comes on Sunday, she is usually quite late. Is she baptized or inactive is the question for debate. Few people try to know her and some wonder and stare. No one tries to dig down deep to see who's really there. In her purse is a funeral program that is ragged around the ears. It is yellow and quite wrinkled and has been soaked with many tears. She's looked at it quite often and knows the resurrection hope. But she still mourns her daughter, and

It is not rocket science of course. Unfortunately there exist some members of the congregation who are a little "different" and because of that don't get included, and sometimes get outright ignored by the majority. A brother once told me about his wife and two sons. His wife had severe depression, but despite that, would come and sit at the back of the hall. From what he said, I gathered the friends pretty much ignored her. Maybe because they just didn't know what to say to her. Maybe because s

For whatever it is worth, when I was an elder, I kept my own personal check list of all attendees. During the course of the meeting I would discreetly (I hope) look about and place a check/no check by everyone's name. It is too easy to fall through the cracks when there are many things to occupy one's attention. To the extent possible, I wished to avoid that. I stopped serving for a variety of reasons and forgot all about my lists. Two decades later, I visited my daughter's congregation and

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10 hours ago, PeterR said:

Sure. If you think true Christianity is measured like blood pressure then I have no wish to argue with you. I believe JW's are fairly unique among Christian denominations in this regard. Perhaps Jesus' direction in Matt 6:3 doesn't actually apply to us, and perhaps also the Bible just omitted the need to measure people by "hours of work" by accident.

If you truly believe that then I don't wish to dispute with you. Some people are suggesting that it's the right way to handle things, and I'm simply pointing out the mindset and counter-productive fruits that can result by being constantly oriented in this way.

Personally I don't feel that any scriptural instruction is for no reason, but I appreciate that others rationalize differently.

FWIW, I think that you made your point very well, and the fact that you got people to defend a parallel between the way we measure spiritual health with the way we measure physical health made your point even stronger. At least to those who understand that you are coming at this from the viewpoint of first-century Christians.

I heard two two Circuit Overseers (one was a "retired" CO) laughing about how the Apostle Paul would have probably thrown a fit if he saw how much emphasis was put on measuring numbers. It was their opinion that this is exactly what legalism was all about: measures vs. motivation. And it's not just Matthew 6:3, of course. It's the context of the entire "Sermon on the Mount" where it comes from.

(Matthew 6:1, 2) . . .“Take care not to practice your righteousness in front of men to be noticed by them; otherwise you will have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens. 2 So when you make gifts of mercy, do not blow a trumpet ahead of you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be glorified by men. . . .

The idea of a "pioneer" or "full-time servant" as opposed to a publisher is just another legalism based on a measure so that we are "noticed" for our gifts of mercy. So the entire context of Romans (regarding "law") and other letters of Paul are just as applicable. We are being reminded that we probably would not have the motivation to perform such works without the "notice" that these "awarded" titles provide. Yet Jehovah does not reward "service" and "works;" Jehovah rewards only pure, heart-felt motivation. Works can be void of pure motivation, but pure motivation will never be void of the kind of works that Jehovah appreciates. Jehovah rewards only the motivation based on love for Him and love for our fellow humans. He sees our works, and does not ignore them of course, but it's our work done in secret, never reported to anyone, that is evidence of proper motivation. Otherwise, it is just as likely that it is men we are trying to please, not Jehovah. 

As I'm sure you already know, there are literally hundreds of other verses in support of this same idea.

 

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1 hour ago, PeterR said:

Sure. If you think true Christianity is measured like blood pressure then I have no wish to argue with you. I believe JW's are fairly unique among Christian denominations in this regard.

They're also fairly unique among Christian denominations about actually doing anything about the Word of God,  insomuch as it involves spreading a united message. Denominations that do not completely neglect that work fritter away most of their energies taking sides over social and national issues, and in the end convey only that 'Jesus is God.' When I see the group that has participated in the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 to even a fraction of JWs, perhaps I will bolt to them. 

'Advertising the kingdom' is the overwhelming theme today. All else is fine print, arguable this way or that, but fine print nonetheless.

 

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27 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

As I'm sure you already know, there are literally hundreds of other verses in support of this same idea.

I do. And thanks for your comments JWI. Sometimes it's easy to feel you're going nuts when you are reading clear admonitions in the Bible, and you've got so many people implying that we're just exempt from certain passages without ever explaining why.

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13 hours ago, PeterR said:

I'm simply pointing out the mindset and counter-productive fruits that can result by being constantly oriented in this way.

One thing is being constantly oriented in this way, and the other is merely using "numbers" as a guide. A good Elder is also a good Christian, and as a good Christian he will act in a Christian way, regardless of numbers.

Something tells me this discussion we’ve got going on here has much deeper significance than just having a tizzy over a few record cards and how elders respond to them. Surely we all agree that blowing ones trumpet is wrong, and condemned by Jesus on many occasions.  So really, it can’t be about that, otherwise it would be too obviously hypocritical. Numbers by themselves mean something, but not everything, and as JWI points out IF as a publisher, we are merely concerned with the hours we put in, then we are blowing our own trumpet and merely performing token service. There are some who actually are like that, but eventually this backfires. I've known a few pioneers who left the truth to lead a selfish life. Maybe they had just been concerned about numbers. But we also have to be honest and admit that usually if someone is spiritually low, then the first thing (with Jehovah's Witnesses) is that field service suffers because out of the heart's abundance the mouth speaks.

It was relatively easy for the disciples to be eager about spreading the word. They’d  witnessed Jesus’ resurrection, were filled with holy spirit and experienced divine support. Charged with immense zeal to tell everyone about Jesus, they made Christianity spread like wildfire. BUT, the situation today is entirely different. What motivation is there to do what they did? What motivation is there to make disciples of all nations? What motivation is there to preach the good news? Not much evidently since most members of Christendom’s churches either think that this work is done, or leave it to the pastor, and if they believe there is still room to save a few souls they do not go out and teach the people the truth about God and his purpose. They barely even lead a Christian life themselves.

So if reaching a certain amount of numbers, (besides the love of neighbour), is what initially motivates one to get out of bed and go out and preach, then what is wrong with that? I mean, who of us doesn't admit to occasional reluctance in going out in FS rather than shopping/ golfing/staying in bed etc. and then, and despite "wrong" motivation, being rewarded with a really good and productive call and being happy that we had made the effort, despite initial "wrong" motivation?

Therefore I cannot agree with this statement:

12 hours ago, JW Insider said:

The idea of a "pioneer" or "full-time servant" as opposed to a publisher is just another legalism based on a measure so that we are "noticed" for our gifts of mercy.

In fact, this is going the way of the sentiments of Carl Olof Jonsson, (and others) whose ideas are very similar to the rest of Christendom, and are a cop out contrary to Paul's admonition to Timothy and by extension any Christian:  "Preach the word; be at it urgently in favorable times and difficult times; reprove, reprimand, exhort, with all patience and art of teaching. For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the wholesome teaching, but according to their own desires, they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories.  You, though, keep your senses in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelizer, fully accomplish your ministry"-  2Tim.4:2-5

So it seems this conversation has developed more into an excuse to take it easy as evangelizers, rather than whether it is right to record or not to record.

By the way,  I had a study with a lady who was amazed and impressed at the fact that every JW preaches the word, and for free! It was completely foreign to her since all she knew from her Church was organizing jumble sales (rummage sales) for charity. And that was their ministry. As a side issue, she also said that she had learned more from a few months studying the Bible with JWs than she had learned in 2 years in the church (she had previously been an atheist and "converted" because of a requirement to be able to adopt a child). 

 

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4 hours ago, Anna said:

As a side issue, she also said that she had learned more from a few months studying the Bible with JWs than she had learned in 2 years in the church (she had previously been an atheist and "converted" because of a requirement to be able to adopt a child). 

I once worked with an agnostic woman who knew God's name was Jehovah because she had seen 'Indiana Jones.' She knew God's original purpose was for the earth to be a paradise because she had seen 'Dogma.'

Though she had never been in a church, she knew from two movies, more about God than do 90% of churchgoers! 

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On 7/20/2017 at 9:00 PM, PeterR said:

Who obsesses more - the one who finally comprehends Jesus' words not to "let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" (Matt 6:3), or the one who chases people for their reports, tabulates them, send them off to HQ, reviews them with the body, and brings them out whenever a decision has to be made?

Oh come now. Reports sent to HQ are cumulative, not individual. There they are used to get a thumbnail on the preaching activity in that area.

'Tabulating them' is merely adding up the publisher reports by the congregation secretary so he can send the final sum to HQ - where you would have us believe, they must shake with rage because they want to know each individual's report so they can JUDGE them, but are thwarted in their sinister scheme by only having a single number.

 

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I will concede that counting time has some drawbacks. It leads to notions of being 'on duty' or 'off duty,' even though we are encouraged not to be that way. I suspect evening witnessing is eschewed by pioneers in favor of less-productive daytime witnessing largely because they can get more time with the latter. That's not the only reason, but it is probably among them.

Videos are changing the nature of reporting, as are the contact cards, which I use as a businessman uses his cards. "Everyone has a cause," I will say, "and this is mine," followed by perhaps an observation of the 900 languages and how, for that reason alone, they ought to check it out. Or something else. There is no way I am going to keep track of cards, and at the end of the month, I give a ballpark figure.

increasingly, I do something like that for hours, too. I enjoy evening witnessing. Those hours, IMO, are 'better,' though fewer. What with using cards and even the videos on devices spontaneously, how can one keep track of that time-wise? I don't attempt it. Ballpark suffices. And don't get me going on internet writing. I count none of it, until Bethel is more enthused about it. It's just a personal choice. Some probably do, though I think going online solely to witness is extremely ineffective. Ones who do it, from what I have seen, end up merely talking to each other or arguing with opposers.

Perhaps if we were going to track anything, it might be people talked to, not hours.  Or choose one or the other depending upon the nature of one's territory.  But this could also lead to manufactured situations. 

No matter. The main idea is that the preaching work ought to get done, and nobody is doing that other than Jehovah's Witnesses. Few know the Bible well enough to do it if they wanted to. I'll stick with the people spearheading this work and I'll leave it to them how or to what extent they want to keep track of it.

 

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To Anna & others who are suggesting that submitting a report of hours is at least one way to measure spiritual heath ...

Here's another method. Stop reporting hours and stop accepting titles for your works, and then see what you are motivated to do. That would arguably be a truer test of spiritual health.

I have personally seen this go both ways. I've seen people who stop reporting, and end up increasing their Christian activity, including preaching and general Christian acts of kindness. And others who stop reporting and well ... just stop.

This argument that metrics help everyone know where they are on the spiritual map is quite misguided IMO. Think about anyone you know in the congregation. Would you really know less about their spiritual condition if you didn't know how a precise number of "field service hours" they were doing?
 

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1 hour ago, PeterR said:

Stop reporting hours and stop accepting titles for your works, and then see what you are motivated to do. That would arguably be a truer test of spiritual health.

If you don't want to report hours, don't report hours. No one is saying you must. Sit there in your congregation - are you in a congregation? - as a gurgling fountain of pious love, and let godly life go on about you as usual. When it comes time for privileges like ministerial servant, elders will say: "we can't consider PeterR. He thinks he is more holy than anyone else and is too pure to follow a simple direction." But you don't 'accept titles' anyway, so it is a win-win.

2 hours ago, PeterR said:

And others who stop reporting and well ... just stop.

You would start a revolution over this? For what reason? Is it not merely to undermine the work the Governing Body takes the lead in? 

At the end of the month I report my time, because that is what I have been asked to do. And yes, some of the points you have raised do go through my  mind. It's not the points you've made that are juvenile - It is your shrill insistence upon them that is juvenile, and your impugning the motives of those who feel otherwise.

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